In game 3 of the 2018 World Series the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers played an 18 inning affair that ended when Max Muncy blasted a solo home run in the bottom of the 18th to give LA a 3-2 win over Boston.
The game time?
7 hrs 20 minutes
Now I know what you might be thinking, you can do a lot of things in that timeframe, in fact you can do this.
Let's say you had major travel problems, and didn't get on your Boston-LA flight until first pitch of Game 3.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 27, 2018
The big question right now for baseball is why are World Series ratings down, and the reason is obvious, the time of game. Committing to watching a baseball game is a serious commitment with a four hour ballgame being the norm. For the hardcore fans, that is not a problem, in-fact, the 7+ hour game 3 was one that some hardcore fans reveled in. But for the average fan, the casual fan, that is simply not something that is worth their time even with it being a World Series.
Even long-time baseball fans have to realize that shortening the time of game has to be a priority for the sport as it looks to compete in a time where the NBA is offering streaming packages for the last couple of minutes of their games. Making games shorter has had some trails in lower level ball.
For instance a pitch clock has been at all of the Minor League levels for the last couple of seasons and just this past season Minor League Baseball instituted an extra inning rule that involves putting a runner on second base to start each inning with the idea being to end the game as quickly as possible while providing some extra level of excitement. A more radical idea is changing the makeup of the game with lower innings being floated around but not gaining any real traction.
Ratings in the World Series thus far have been very underwhelming if not disappointing given the size of both the Boston and LA market paired with the history the two franchises hold.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says that he, too, is a bit frustrated/bewildered about current World Series ratings. Despite west coast/east matchup w two glamour teams, G1-2 ratings off ~10% & lowest since SF/KC in '14. "We're looking hard at it and haven't isolated a cause."
— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBG) October 26, 2018
Game 3’s ratings showed some life, but mostly what the 18 inning affair created was buzz around the sport with the major sport headline on Saturday being the fact that Major League baseball had a game that was so long that it actually turned out to be the length of two baseball games.
Game 3 of the World Series on Fox earned a 9.5 rating and 20 share nationally. Boston was the top market at 30.3/56.
— Chad Finn (@GlobeChadFinn) October 27, 2018
So what will baseball end up doing, will it change and adapt with the times, or continue to fall back in everyones mind?