NEW YORK — The average time of a nine-inning major league game has dropped for the first time since 2018, likely helped by the introduction of PitchCom’s electronic pitch-signalling device.
The average this season was 3 hours, 3 minutes and 44 seconds, the commissioner’s office said on Monday. The number fell from a record 3:10:07 last year and was the lowest since 3:00:44 in 2018.
The MLB average was 2:46 in 2005 and 2:33 in 1981.
PitchCom allows catchers to input characters into a wrist device and pitchers to hear audio plugged into their cap. It has helped reduce the number of times pitchers have stepped off the rubber to miss catchers’ hand signals.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced last month that a pitch clock would be introduced in the major leagues next season, a decision made by the sport’s 11-member competition committee over unanimous opposition from the panel’s four players.
The clock is set at 15 seconds with no runners on base and 20 seconds with runners – from the 14/19 tested at Triple-A this season and 14/18 at lower minor league levels.
The average nine-ining minor league game played this season fell to 2:38 from 3:03 in 2021.
There were 216 extra-inning games in the third season of the rule of placing a runner on second base in every extra frame, up from 233 last year and 78 in the truncated 2020 season. The longest this year was Cleveland’s 7 -6, 15-inning win over Minnesota in the second game of a September 17 doubleheader. That was one inning shy of the longest in the three seasons of the rule, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 16th-inning win in San Diego on Aug. 25, 2021.
Home teams went 113-103 in extra-inning games this year.
Video review challenges
Just over half of the 1,261 video review challenges set by teams in the major leagues were successful this season.
Major League Baseball said 633 calls disputed by clubs were rejected, accounting for 50.2%. 240 calls were confirmed and 388 admitted – where there was insufficient evidence to confirm or overturn them.
The New York Mets led the majors with a 78.9% win rate, followed by St. Louis (63.2%) and Cleveland (61.9%).
The least successful were Oakland (37.5%), the Los Angeles Angels (38.3%) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (39.5%).
In addition, there were 173 team boss reviews initiated by referees. MLB said 35 were knocked over, a 20.2% rate. Seventy-seven calls were confirmed and 40 admitted. Of the crew chief’s checks, seven were for rule checking and 14 for record keeping.
Including checks by crew chiefs, there were a total of 1,434 checks, of which 668 were overturned (46.6%), 317 were confirmed (22.1%) and 428 stood (29.8%).
The average duration of a video review was 1 minute and 31 seconds.
Utilization of MLB’s injured list was down 13% this season and time lost was down 4%.
By the end of the regular season on Wednesday, there were 854 placements on the injured list. That was down from 983 finishes in 2021, the first full season on a schedule slashed to 60 games because of the pandemic.
Days lost on the injured list totaled 41,916, up from 43,513 in 2021.
MLB.TV sets streaming record
Fans watched more than 11.5 billion minutes of gameplay on MLB.TV during the regular season, a record for the streaming package and a 9.8% increase over the previous year.
The five most-watched games on the 20-year-old streaming platform came this season, including the Red Sox-Yankees opener on April 8.
Overall, nine of the ten most-watched days and games came from this season. Last year, more than 10.5 billion minutes were watched, marking the first time MLB.TV surpassed the 10 billion minute milestone.
Major League Baseball also said in a press release that its support programs saw an 84% increase. This was also the first season that MLB had a pair of streaming network packages with a Friday night doubleheader on Apple TV+ and Sunday afternoon games on Peacock.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.