Baseball games are too long

Published 12:02 am Sunday, April 5, 2009

There is a problem that has developed in high school baseball this season, especially in MPSA District 3-AA — extremely long games.

The two area teams that play in that district —Trinity and Adams County Christian — have both made a habit of playing three-hour -plus games.

The problem, not just with those two teams but with the district as a whole, is pitching. Young, inexperienced pitching staffs tend to dominate each team, which leads to lots of walks and lots of minutes played.

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I’ve been to a game where a pitching staff has hit 10 batters. I’ve also been to a game where a pitching staff has walked 19 batters. When that happens, you’re going to be in for some long games.

The problem is compounded when you throw in the fact that the district requires each of its teams to play a doubleheader every week.

The doubleheader is played to prevent one team from running out one dominant pitcher to the mound to defeat its rival opponents. The doubleheader forces teams to go deeper into their pitching staffs, which has been a big problem.

There have been several doubleheaders this year that have lasted more than six hours total. Trinity played one against Prairie View that began at 4 p.m. and ended a few minutes after 10.

But the worst offender was ACCS. The Rebels played a doubleheader against Riverfield Friday night that began at 6 p.m. The second game didn’t finish until 11:35 p.m.

Now tell me, who wants to be out watching baseball until 11:35? Better yet, who wants to be playing baseball until 11:35?

Even a huge baseball fan like me would get tired of watching the same two teams for over six hours or until almost midnight, especially if the game includes lots of walks, wild pitches and hit batsmen, as many of them have.

I do like the way the district wants teams to go deeper into its pitching staffs when playing district games. Teams shouldn’t be able to win the district with just one dominant pitcher that pitches all the district games.

However, there has to be a better way to do it. Doubleheaders aren’t working. When teams are slugging it out so long, especially on school nights, something has to change.

Let me humbly make a suggestion. Keep the idea of not letting one pitcher toss the district games by having games on back-to-back days. Even then, some coaches will try to throw a pitcher both of those games, so add a rule that says no pitcher can pitch on back-to-back days if he throws more than a certain number of pitches.

That way, teams will still have to have more than one good pitcher to win district games but won’t be out playing baseball all night long.

I mean, baseball is great, but too much of a good thing can be quite miserable.

Jeff Edwards is the sports editor for The Democrat. He can be reached at