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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

1952 World Series game times: three hours maximum.

I replied to a comment on one of my recent posts about limiting games to two hours:

27 outs or 60 minutes, whichever comes first.  Sunday, August 24, 2014

I've been fiddling with an idea to mandate two hour games.

Finishing in two hours is the thing, not allocating 60 minutes per team.  That was a musing to make the point.

One thing I wrote in my reply was to look at old World Series films, suggesting 1952.  I decided to check the times of those games, realizing that there were fewer pitching changes and shorter breaks between innings for TV commercials.  However, they were World Series, not merely regular season.  I noticed in a youtube.com video that both starting pitchers warmed up beside home plate on  what appears to be flat ground.  So much for the current insistence that relief pitchers must warm up on the game mound at get acclimated when they enter.  Just change on the fly, no warm ups.

This youtube link has a kinescope all of game sevenhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqZnPQnxO9U

How many batters stepped out after a pitch?  I think the Ebbets Field announcer introduced the Yankee catcher as Larry Berra.

1952 World Series (Yankees 4, Dodgers 3) game times:
1. 2:21 Dodgers 4-2; 2 pitchers
2. 2:47 Yankees 7-1; 4 pitchers
3. 2:56 Dodgers 5-3; 3 pitchers
4. 2:33 Yankees 2-0; 3 pitchers
5. 3:00 Dodgers 6-5 11 innings; 3 pitchers
6. 2:56 Yankees 3-2; 4 pitchers
7. 2:54 Yankees 4-2; 7 pitchers

Starting Lineups

Bob Kuzava 1953 Bowman baseball card
via Wikimedia Commons
In his only appearance Bob Kuzava saved game seven, the only game using more than four pitchers.  Kuzava had three saves in the regular season.  The games were longer than I expected but only one as long as three hours.

Were fewer decisions being made?

Fewer tactical moves?

Less  action?

The basic point is that games can obviously be played more quickly than they are today and probably without any loss of action or whatever amount of "thinking" that you might want to attribute to matters.

You may conclude that these times prove that I am wrong, that games cannot be played within two hours. Game seven 1952 could have been completed within two hours easily.  There was a lot of dead time even without batters stepping out.  The first three innings took only 30 minutes but then the pitchers started jerking around, especially Allie Reynolds in relief.

One reason the 1952 game seemed boring was the lack of replays.  There was nothing to fill in the dead spots.  I noticed after a strike out the catchers moved out in front of the plate and initiated throwing the ball around the infield.  If they still do that, we'd miss it anyway because we would be shown replays of pitches.  Maybe I'll do a separate post on how replays mask dead time, which is that much worse if you're actually at the game.

A high school friend of mine wrote recently that he, too, records and fast forwards through baseball games.  He claims to finish in ONE hour.  Try it yourself.  See how long it takes to get through nine innings.  More pitches are thrown now because there are more strike outs and walks, and that alone makes baseball more boring.

In any case, TWO hours for a game is plenty and is a reasonable objective.

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