How Long Do Baseball Games Last? (Data By League)
Whether you are just booking tickets for a baseball game or wanting to play it, the duration of each game is a critical factor. Baseball is probably one of the most extended games where you cannot predict the exact time. It goes by the number of innings played.
While baseball is not a complicated game, it is quite challenging and demands stamina to sustain till the end.
So, how long do baseball games last? Major league games are played for an average of 3 hours (9 innings), while minor league, college, and high school baseball versions are played for 2 hours (6 innings), 3 hours (9 innings), and 2 hours (7 innings) respectively.
When you plan to organize a baseball game, it is essential to determine the nature of the league and player background. These factors can let you choose the number of innings and then organize other amenities.
In this article, let us look at how baseball games are structured at different levels.
Major League Baseball
Major league baseball (MLB) adopts the standard format and lasts for 3 hours on average. It includes nine innings and is the longest of the bunch.
In general, an inning comprises six outs, three per team. The innings are split into two halves. Further, the home team bats in the second half following the away team. So, is it always restricted to 9 innings or 3 hours? Not really.
The longest baseball match happened in 1920 and made it to Guinness World Records. What was unique about it? It included nine innings and played for 4 hours 50 minutes between Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees.
In a major league baseball game played back in 1920, it extended to 26 innings, and the teams ended in a tie. This piece of data is sufficient to understand how major league baseball games do not necessarily have upper limits on duration. In recent times, Guy Giles from Betway mentions the usage of a timer to make a note of the time taken by hitters, between innings, and by coaches.
If you get a chance to witness a major league baseball, you can see it ending a bit faster due to new regimes and infrastructure arrangements.
Minor League Baseball
Minor league baseball games involving ages 5-11 years last for 2 hours and include six innings.
But, that’s not the case at all times. According to MLB, a minor league game played in 1916 between Winston-Salem Twins and Asheville Tourists lasted only 31 minutes. Another game played in 1910 between Mobile Sea Gulls and Atlanta Crackers lasted for 32 minutes.
While there is inadequate data on factors that influenced the duration of these games, it is sufficient to confirm that minor leagues can also fluctuate in their durations.
College baseball games last an average of 3 hours, include nine innings, and engage players from ages 18 and above. Some games include only seven innings.
Like duration, baseball games are also altered for the number of innings. For instance, the National Junior College Athletic Association plays only seven innings as an integral part of the doubleheader. However, as they progress to upper levels, the likelihood of altering the inning is lesser.
According to an article by Sportsnaut, the longest college baseball game was reported in 2009 in a game between Boston College Eagles and Texas Longhorns. The teams played 25 innings in 7 hours and 3 minutes.
When you date to 1971, a game between McNeese State 5 and UL Lafayette 6 involved 23 innings, and the duration went beyond records. When it comes to collegiate games, you cannot determine the duration as it varies based on external weather conditions, decisions of pitchers and batters, and high wind speed.
High School Baseball
High school baseballs, played by ages 15-18, last for 2-2.5 hours and include seven innings. It is also shorter than other professional events.
The level of competition commonly influences the duration of a high school baseball. Sometimes, mercy rules also demand an immediate end to the game. According to Baseball Rules Academy, it is possible to forfeit a game at its 3rd or 7th inning during times of rough weather or darkness.
But, I have a quick update to share about this type of game. Can you believe it if I say that a high school baseball game has lasted for four days? A game sans score in the semifinals extended to 50 innings. In the National High School Rubber Baseball Tournament that happened in 2014, a match between Chukyo High School and Sotoku High School went on for four successive days.
This game also broke the previous record of 25 innings in a high school baseball game.
Related: How Long Do Softball Games Last?
How Long Do Baseball Innings Last?
A baseball inning lasts for an average of nine innings, and one inning is played for 20 minutes.
As traditional baseball games usually include nine innings, the time could take 3 hours. However, there are times when an inning gets shorter or excessively longer due to changes in pitch, skill level, and pace of the pitcher.
The inning break time is another strong influencer of the game time. Nevertheless, baseball games are generally unpredictable in their durations. If you have just taken a ticket to attend a baseball game, ensure that you do not have any other plans for the day. You may return home sooner or after days.
Baseball games are undoubtedly challenging and interesting. The only downside of baseball games is that they are unpredictable. It can turn tiring to players and spectators at some point. So, how should you prepare yourself for a baseball game as a visitor? While an average game lasts for 2-3 hours, it is always a good idea to add an hour to it.
Before attending the next baseball game, find out the type of league, players involved, and weather conditions. You may arrive at a rough estimate on innings and duration. Perhaps, you may turn right too!
My Favorite Baseball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find my favorite baseball bat, baseballs, and a glove that I think will take your game to the next level!
- Bat: My favorite baseball bat is the Easton Project 3 Fuze. This bat has a composite end cap, reduced post-impact vibrations, balanced swing weight for the fastest swing speed, and a carbon core that makes this bat perform very well! As I’m not a professional baseball player, I like to use alloy bats as you can swing faster and hit further.
- Baseballs: Rawlings Competition Grade Practice Balls are my choice for something to hit. I love these balls because they fit all levels of play, so regardless of who you are playing with, you can use them. They come in a 6 or 12 balls box, and you can choose between raised or flat seams! I prefer flat seams as the balls tend to fly further!
- Glove: When it comes to the glove, my choice is the Rawlings Sandlot Glove. This glove is available for both lefties and righties. The same glove is also available for infielders, outfielders, pitchers, catchers, and 1B mitt. This glove has a nice vintage look, and it’s made from oiled leather. It has palm pads that protect your hand from impact, and it is pre-broken-in, so you are good to go as soon as you have it! A glove I’m proud to recommend.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.