If anyone thinks the World Series went by too quickly, they’re right.
The World Series games, consisting of nine innings, had an average duration of three hours and one minute, making it the shortest since 1996, as reported by the Elias Sports Bureau. This year’s postseason introduced the pitch clock, defensive shift limits, and larger bases.
The implementation of larger bases resulted in an increase in stolen bases and seemingly contributed to higher batting averages.
“From what I’ve gathered from those who closely follow our games, the changes have made baseball more interactive, and the shot clock has been beneficial,” stated Nathaniel Lowe, the first baseman and World Series champion with the Texas team.
In the playoffs, nine-inning games averaged 3 hours and 2 minutes, a reduction from the 3 hours and 23 minutes recorded last year and 3 hours and 37 minutes in 2021, the season prior to the introduction of the PitchCom device. These averages were similar to the regular season, where games lasted an average of 2 hours and 40 minutes, the lowest since 1985.
Only one playoff game exceeded four hours, which occurred when the Rangers defeated Arizona in 11 innings during the first game of the World Series. In the 2022 postseason, six out of the 40 games lasted over 4 hours.
Remarkably, three World Series games concluded in less than three hours.
However, despite the faster pace, television viewership levels did not improve. The World Series garnered an average of 9.11 million viewers, making it the least-watched Fall Classic in television history.
During the postseason, MLB implemented a pitch clock of 15 seconds with the bases empty and 20 seconds with a runner on base. Surprisingly, there were only seven shot clock violations recorded throughout the playoffs, averaging one violation every six games, with none occurring during the World Series.
Commissioner Rob Manfred dismissed the players’ requests to extend the clock during the postseason.
“I believe we made the right decision,” warned Manfred. “The concept, primarily driven by the owners, of playing the way we did this year is of utmost importance. I’m grateful that it had no impact on the outcomes.”
The average number of runners per game increased to 8.2, compared to 7.3 last year, and the batting average during the playoffs stood at .241, a significant improvement from .211 in 2022. Stolen bases also saw an increase from 0.9 to 1.4 per game, with attempted steals rising from 1.1 to 1.6. The success rate of stolen bases rose from 77.3% to 85.1%.
Manfred clarified that there are no plans to change the rules for the 2024 season. He intends to allow at least another year before considering further innovations.
“I am satisfied with the current pace of the game,” expressed Rangers manager Bruce Bochy. “I don’t believe it’s becoming too fast.”