[I’m going to preface this article by saying I am fully aware of the fact I’m a classic millennial with a short attention span]
Hey guys, did you know that baseball – my favorite sport – is still happening?
I know. Football is back. College football is entering week 3, and we’re just getting over what was a disastrous opener for the Houston Texans. But come on! The Astros have 12 games left against A.L. West teams! Sure they lead the division by 13 games . . . but baseball!
And don’t forget . . . they’ll get to experience 3 more games against those young rascal White Sox. Yeah, Chicago might have the worst record in the American League, but with the roster expanded to 40, you’ll have a chance to see the next generation of White Sox baseball!
Now that I’ve gotten through the sarcasm font portion of this post, I’ve got a confession to make. One that will make the Paul Gallant haters giddy: I had NO idea that the Astros got swept (a 4 game edition) by the last place A’s until about 5:00 PM CT Monday.
In my defense, I said that anything other than a sweep OF the A’s over the weekend would be unacceptable for the ‘Stros . . . and then proceeded to completely check out on the sport.
I know that I cover sports for a living. But I’ve also got a finite amount of time on this planet before I croak. You really want me to spend half a day watching the Astros play 4 meaningless games against a bad team? Yeah, I’ll pass and read the box scores. And honestly, you should too.
Baseball actually used to be my second favorite sport. But it doesn’t feel the way it used to in the 1990s. Maybe part of that has to do with the lack of . . . needles. Or the stars – outside of maybe Bryce Harper – not being as relevant. On top of that, discussion about the game feels more scientific than fun since advanced stats became mainstream.
The biggest problem for me? The games are drawn out and slow. Don’t get me wrong, football can absolutely be that way. But baseball has ten times as many games! Ten! And through 143 Astros games this season (entering Tuesday night), each game has lasted about 3 hours, 10 minutes, and 9 seconds (yes, I did the math. It took a whilllle).
If you watched every moment of Astros baseball this year, you’d have been occupied for 453 hours and 12 minutes. That’s 18.88 days! Almost 3 weeks! Think about all the classic television shows you could have binge watched over that period of time!
For comparison sake, I added up the length of ALL the major battles in Game of Thrones:
- Battle of the Blackwater (Season 2 Episode 9) ~ 30:10
- The Battle of Castle Black (Season 4 Episode 9) ~ 24:00
- Battle at Hardhome (Season 5 Episode 8) ~ 15:00
- Battle of the Bastards (Season 6 Episode 9) ~ 20:00
- Loot Train Battle (Season 7 Episode 4) ~ 12:00
About an hour and 40 minutes. A bit over half the length of the average Astros game. You could still probably fit all the other legendary scenes from the show into that 3 hour and 10 minute window . . .
Don’t get me wrong. I realize that the Astros do play good regular season games from time to time. Here is a pie chart with the average length of the 49 games they’ve played against teams that I deem good:
- First Mariners series of the season because it’s the first series of the year
- First Rangers series because FTR
- The first 2 Angels series because they hadn’t disappointed yet
- The early August series against the Rays who were hovering around Wild Card
- And all games against the Royals, Indians, Yankees, Red Sox, D’Backs and Nationals’
I can tolerate a long game against baseball’s best. But there are far too many long meaningless games against bad teams over the course of a season. Yes, the Astros have been a victim of their own success with the start they had this year. The A.L. West being poo has also been a factor. Still, you’re telling me you wanted to watch the majority of the games the ‘Stros played against these teams?
- Second Mariners on
- First Rays series
- Second Rangers series on
- Third Angels series on
- Blue Jays
A grand total of 300 hours and 33 minutes of baseball against teams that aren’t particularly good. That is a lottt of time.
Luckily, the Astros have been so damn fun to watch this season that you should be willing to watch some of this. But 69% (nice) of games against these dumpster fires are lasting 3 hours plus! Hell, 50% of these games against bad teams are lasting longer than the 3:10 average!
I don’t care about the length of playoff baseball games. The lack of a clock adds a layer of tension to every single pitch. But we’ve got to find a way to make the marathon to the playoffs just a little bit quicker. And since this isn’t a video game with a super sim option, let’s at least discuss ways to do it.
First off, 162 games? Really? Get the f*ck out of here. At least trim that to 154 like it was back in 1962. Hell, how about 140 like in 1919? Is a regular season pitch clock of ~18 seconds really that crazy? How about ACTUALLY ENFORCING the time outs called by batters? Limiting mound visits. Hell, limiting the amount of pitching changes! Do we REALLY need all these left handed specialists that come in to face one batter in the regular season?
Bottom line? Baseball’s playoffs should be in progress right now. But there’s still 19 Astros games left – also known as 60 + hours / 2.5 days – before meaningful baseball returns. Speed the regular season up. At least for this millennial with a short attention span.
Paul Gallant hosts “Gallant at Night” – Tuesdays 9-11 PM CT, Wednesdays 8-11 CT, and Fridays 8-11 CT – on SportsRadio 610. He also hosts SportsZone Unfiltered – Fridays at 10 PM – on The Kube: Channel 57. Get in touch with Paul via email or his facebook page.