How Long Is A Baseball Game?

Baseball has always been America’s national pastime. The game is beloved and yet to some fans simply too long. Just how long is a baseball game these days?

Well, the answer is much shorter thanks to Major League Baseball’s new 2023 rules.

New MLB Rules Shorten Length of Games

In the last ten years, the MLB has been toying with several ideas to speed up the games to keep fans engaged and filling the stadiums. After being tested in the Minor Leagues in previous seasons, the MLB instituted new rules to speed up the game. All indications early in the 2023 season indicate the game is nearly 26 minutes faster than in previous years.

The new MLB rules include:

long is a baseball game

Pitch clock

pitchers must pitch the ball within 15 seconds of receiving ith the bases empty and within 20 seconds if there is a runner on base.

Batter Ready!

Batters must be ready to bat with at least 8 seconds on the pitch clock. This eliminates the constant delay by batters who step out of the box to readjust their gloves, take practice swings, or simply to just look around.


Pitcher disengagements are limited to two per plate appearance (stepping off the rubber, pickoff attempt, or faking a pickoff attempt). 

The rules are supposed to increase the game’s broader appeal among younger audiences. 

Based on many decades worth of statistical data, a baseball game’s average length is 3 hours, spread over nine separate innings. In contrast to other popular American sports, such as basketball or football, baseball does not have a dedicated clock or set time limit. 

Baseball has never relied on a timing system synonymous with most other major modern sports. Instead, baseball is primarily structured around nine separate innings, each varying in length due to numerous unique and enthralling factors.

How Long Does A Game Of Baseball Take To Finish?

Over the years, the average length of baseball games has continuously increased. Current and reliable statistical data indicates that modern baseball games usually take over three hours to complete. 

It is well known that baseball has been America’s favored national sport for centuries. As the prevalence of the game continued to spread throughout the country, so did the average length of baseball games. 

During the early part of the 20th century, competitive national league baseball games never took more than ninety minutes to complete. Most took just over an hour to complete their nine separate innings. 

However, by the middle of the 20th century, baseball games frequently and easily lasted more than two hours. During the 1970s, when television rights became influential, the average baseball game took longer than two and a half hours to produce a conclusive result. 

In 2004, baseball games regularly lasted more than three hours, with the average duration peaking at three and a half hours in early 2016. At the same time, baseball’s traditional popularity started to wane as modern fans demanded faster-paced and more action-packed games.

Fortunately, the commissioner implemented a series of appropriate and modern laws, decreasing the average length of a baseball game to just over three hours. 

The Average Length Of An Inning

Regular baseball games usually consist of nine separate innings. While every baseball game differs in length, statistically speaking, each inning lasts twenty minutes. 

One of baseball’s distinguishing factors is its lack of any pre-determined time limit. The exciting laws mean that each baseball game must produce a decisive winner, delighting fans globally for centuries. 

Because baseball has no set time limit, the duration of the nine innings can dramatically vary. While it is accepted that modern baseball innings generally last between twenty and thirty minutes, it is not uncommon for them to take less than ten minutes or longer than forty minutes.

An inning can only be concluded when an opposing team successfully scores three clear, legal runouts. If a team cannot complete three run-outs, the batting teams’ innings can theoretically last indefinitely. 

Does Each Baseball Inning Last The Same Amount Of Time?

The objective of any professional baseball game is to outscore the opposing team throughout their permitted innings. 

Because each baseball game consists of nine innings, the game can’t end in a draw. At the end of the nine innings, the team with the most runs will be declared the winner. Due to the highly competitive nature of modern professional baseball leagues, the games are mostly decided after the ninth inning. 

However, if a team can obtain a large enough lead over their opposition, the baseball game can be concluded as early as the seventh inning. Professional baseball players agree that if their teams have a clear lead, the average duration of their innings will decrease. At the same time, if the game is highly competitive, later innings frequently take more than thirty minutes to complete. 

Why Are Some Baseball Games Longer Than Others?

Baseball’s current format is not time-based, making it unique compared to most other major sports, such as football, basketball, or hockey. 

The following factors contribute to a baseball game’s length:

  • How many disputes and game official replays occur throughout the game.
    • The game’s length will increase if teams frequently argue among themselves or the game officials. Any dispute will result in the baseball game taking longer to complete as each must be professionally resolved. 


Baseball games generally last for just over three hours, although the duration is influenced by certain factors unique to the most popular sport in America. The lack of a set time results in an entertaining spectacle for spectators, as each baseball game must produce a distinct winner. While some baseball games can finish quickly, expect to remain glued to your seat for at least three captivating hours

Matt Crouch
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