Friday, March 31, 2023

Faster Baseball Games Means Less Time To Drink (And Pour) Beer

graph courtesy New York Times Upshot

We all saw this coming, but now it's here: major league baseball games are a heck of a lot faster, with the pitch clock implementation of 2023. Spring training was a key indication, with games shortening by 26 minutes (from 3:03 average time to 2:35. And having attended a Dodgers Spring Training game in Camelback this year, I have to tell you, it's a different experience as a spectator and fan. Tim Kurkjian over at ESPN had warned me that his first time watching the game, he couldn't take his eyes off the field because he was afraid of missing something. And that's how it felt, watching Dustin May deliver pitches to the plate so quickly even with men on base.

Pitchers are probably going to have the biggest adjustment to this new rule, which turns baseball into more of a momentum game like volleyball or basketball--you can't get a sideout or take a timeout to stop a coming snowball from accumulating mass and speed. And along with the shorter game time, that same NYT Upshot piece also found that the average hits per hour had a sharp increase as well, now 6.1 hits per hour from 5.3 last year.

So what does this mean for fans?

Less time to drink beer. Yep, this is going to lead to some serious binge drinking at the ballpark, especially if they continue to cut off beer sales at the end of the seventh inning. The Dodgers-Diamondbacks game last night lasted only 2:35 and that's with 10 runs scored; we had two games go as short as 2:14 in duration on Opening Day 2023. Thankfully, Dodger Stadium recently implemented beer sales at one's seat. Those vendors are going to have to be as fleet footed as the batboys and ballboys will need to be under these new 2023 rules.

Does this mean that we'll have the travesty of foamy beer pours in the aisles, from flustered mobile beer vendors looking to increase their throughput time? Let's hope not (and I prefer to pour my own beer, anyway). But who speaks for the beer drinker, when everyone is just speaking for the casual baseball fan? Beer drinkers have rights, too!

I'll be at the Stadium Sunday afternoon to see this in action. Will report back.


karen said...

GREETINGS DODGER FAITHFUL!! Still not sure how I'm feeling about our team and all the rule changes.