Major League Baseball has made multiple changes in the past several years in an attempt to speed up the game due to concerns over the pace of play. They’ve instituted between innings clocks designed to limit breaks to a minute and a half, the no-pitch intentional walk, a 30-second limit for manager’s to decide whether or not to challenge a play and multiple other changes.
These changes seemed to make a difference when first implemented in 2015, with the average length of game dropping to 2:56 in that season. However, the average game time has continued to balloon since and it has reached an all-time high in this year’s postseason.
According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, this year’s average game for playoff games has checked in at a full 3 hours and 35 minutes entering Tuesday’s games of the championship series. Since then, the Astros and Yankees two games have been 3:37 and 3:18 for Games 4 and 5 respectively. The Dodgers and Cubs games have dragged on just as long with game times of 3:39 and 3:15 for Games 3 and 4.
Crasnick does point out that postseason games typically run longer due to several factors, commercials and bullpen changes being the main culprits, but this year has still been well above what we’re used to, with this year’s postseason length of game up 10 minutes from last season and 21 minutes from the 2015 postseason.