College Baseball is Painfully Slow

College Baseball is Painfully Slow

College Baseball is Painfully Slow

The need for reform in college baseball is evident, as lengthy games and slow play are causing a decline in fan interest.

As the college baseball season gets into full swing, I am ambivalent.

In a previous season, I intended to watch an entire college baseball game: the second game in the finals of a College World Series. The game was well played, however, with a starting time of 8 p.m. eastern, at 11:30 p.m. the game had only progressed 7½ innings.

You might think that the run total was enormous. It was 3 to 0. I finally turned on the DVR and went to bed. In the morning, I watched the rest of the game, which took another 22 minutes.

Can college baseball take a clue from major league baseball? People do not want to sit for three to four hours for a typical game.

Out with the Old

College baseball needs to dramatically change a variety of long-standing rules and traditions. Here are my suggestions:

 * No more batters walking to first after four balls or an intentional pass; they must run as if they had gotten a hit, or face a delay-of-game warning. Two delay-of-game warnings for a non-pitcher and the player should be tossed out of the game.

* No more teams strolling on and off the field before and after innings. They must run out and run back.

* In each inning, reduce pitcher warm-ups before facing batters by two pitches.

* Reduce all visits to the mound by 30 seconds, whether it's the team manager or in-fielders. Make managers or coaches walk briskly to the mound.

* Reduce relief pitcher warm-up time prior to them facing their first batter, by three pitches, unless a relief pitcher is pressed into service due to an injury to the current pitcher. Otherwise much of a reliever's warm-up occurs in the bullpen anyway.

* Allow batters to step out of the box twice, maximum, per time at bat. No more pauses between every other pitch.

* Allow the pitcher to step off the mound twice per batter, maximum. No more floating around and deciding when to throw the next pitch.

Here is an extreme change but it's needed to counter those batters who are skilled at fouling off pitch after pitch: on a batter's third foul ball, declare him out by strikeout, hence treated the same as a fouled bunt on a third strike.

The Missing Ingredient

Now, the most important element of all: in any game, typically at least 150 pitches will be thrown by each side for a total of 300. With ten seconds less per pitch on 300 pitches, that equates 3000 seconds or 50 minutes. Said another way, games can be shortened by 50 minutes when pitchers have ten fewer seconds to throw the next pitch than they currently have.

College baseball, as it presently stands, is a slow, plodding game, and is losing fans. Typical major league baseball games, 40 years ago, took 2:36. The average now hovers around 3:00 and still more time needs to be trimmed. College baseball average is close to the same, but as the NCAA finals near the average  time rise to above 3:15. Yikes!

For college baseball, no less than major surgery – a time-iridectomy – is needed.

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Jeff Davidson

Work-Life Balance Expert

Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit or call 919-932-1996 for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars.

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