How Long is a Baseball Game? (2023)

In 2022, the Major League Baseball average game time took three hours and three minutes to complete. The pace of play for baseball games has gone up over the years due to numerous factors. For instance, back in 2000, the average MLB game took 2.5 hours to complete, similar to what basketball, hockey, and soccer games take to finish today. However, in the 2023 MLB season, games are taking around 2.5 hours to complete due to the new rules. That means with the new rules in place, the average time it takes to complete and MLB game is down for the first time in years.

So, how long are baseball games taking to complete in the 2023 season? What are these new rules in 2023 that are help speeding up the pace of play? What adds to the time it takes to complete a baseball game? Why have baseball games taken longer to complete over the years? In what ways is Major League Baseball trying to speed up the pace of play? How long do Minor League Baseball games take to complete compared to the majors? How long do college and high school baseball games take to complete? What is the longest baseball game of all time?

So, how long is a baseball game at the professional level? Keep reading for the full breakdown!

*2023 MLB Game Length Update*

The 2023 MLB season began on 3-30-2023. While the season is very early, there are already headlines on games taking around 2.5 hours to complete, which is down from 3 hours in 2022. For example, the New York Yankees game vs the San Franciso Giants game took around 2.5 hours to complete. Recently, the Minnesota Twins had a game against the Miami Marlins where the game itself was under 2 hours.

The season is still very early, but the early indications is that baseball games in 2023 are going to be around the 2:30 mark on average, which is significantly down from the 3 hours in 2022.

What are the New Rules in 2023 that are Speeding up the Play of Baseball Games?

  • Pitch Clock:15 seconds if there are no runners on base. 20 seconds if there is a runner on base. Both of these metrics mean that a pitcher must begin their windup by either 15 or 20 seconds, or it will result in a ball.
  • The batter only gets 1 timeout:The batter at the plate can only request a single timeout. After that, they are unable to call timeouts during their at bat.
  • Batter Needs to Be in the Box:The batter can’t step out of the batter’s box in between pitches and walk around. If a hitter does that, the umpire will call a strike on that hitter.
  • Only 2 Throw Overs to a Base:The pitcher can throw over twice to a base during an at-bat. If they throw over a third time and don’t pick off the runner, that runner automatically moves up one base.

Also, not a rule change in 2023, but the pitcom is becoming more popular for pitchers to use in a game. The pitchcom has the pitcher select the pitch they want to throw and communicates that to the catcher. That means there are fewer instances of the catcher and pitcher needing clarification on the sign selection, which helps speed up the pace of play.

MLB Spring Training 2023 Games with New Rules

The 2023 MLB Spring Training season had the new rules in place for players, coaches, and fans to get familiar with. The new rules, like the pitch clock, already had amazing results in reducing the amount of time it takes to create outs and complete games. For example, Wandy Peralta of the New York Yankees struck out a hitter in 20 seconds, which became an MLB record. With the new rules having the hitter stay in the batter’s box, Wandy was able to work fast and record a strikeout using the new rules to his advantage.

The beauty of spring training is that everyone can become familiar with the new rules before the season begins. Check out this article from Palm Beach Post to see what players and coaches think about the new rules and how they are adjusting to them to make the games faster.

What are the Ways Baseball is Trying to Speed up the Game in 2023?

Major League Baseball experiments in the Minor Leagues to speed up the game’s action before bringing it into the big leagues. For instance, a pitch clock rule in the 2022 minor league season said a pitcher must throw the ball within 14 seconds when the bases are empty and 18 seconds when someone is on base. Over an average of 132 MiLB games, that rule change resulted in games taking two hours and 39 minutes to complete. On average, games that did not have that rule set took about two hours and 59 minutes to complete, so the evidence was there that implementing this made the game faster.

Another way to speed up the game is with the extra inning rule. In 2023, the rule states that extra-inning baseball games will automatically have a ghost runner on second base to start the inning. The idea behind this rule change is to speed up the conclusion of a game.

In 2017, MLB introduced the automatic walk signal to help speed up the game. In 2017 and beyond, baseball pitchers can signal that they want to walk a hitter intentionally. The signal to request an intentional walk saves four unnecessary pitches.

What Adds to the Time to Complete a Baseball Game?

During a regular nine-inning baseball game, a few reasons add to the game’s length to complete all 27 outs. To start, a blowout by one team has no mercy rule, meaning the game has to conclude after 27 outs occur. Since there is no clock or time limit, like in most sports, completing a game is the only way to finish.

Another factor that adds to the time to complete a game is injuries that may occur. For example, if a pitcher has an injury on the mound, another pitcher will replace them via an injury timeout. That replacement pitcher (pitching change) can have as much time as they need to get ready to pitch, which adds to the game’s length.

Finally, any mound visits, batters stepping out of the batter’s box, arguments with the umpires, rain delays, new baserunners, instant replay reviews, and foul balls all add to the game’s length to complete. Also, it is worth noting that games that go into extra innings also add to the time it takes to complete the match.

Do the MLB Playoffs Take Longer to Complete than a Regular Season Game?

While the data is a bit dated, USA Today in 2017 broke down how MLB postseason games took three hours and thirty-one minutes to complete. Since playoff games have more meaning than a regular season games, every decision that occurs means the games take longer. That means pitching changes, new baserunners, mound visits, defensive shifts, and more all added to the time it took to finish a game. Also, another reason why playoff games take longer to complete is the extended commercial breaks between innings.

Comparing the data from USA Today from Statista, playoff games took almost thirty more minutes to complete than a regular season game.

Why Have Major League Baseball Games Taken Longer to Complete Now?

According to, the average baseball game in 2022 took three hours and three minutes to complete. In 2000, the average baseball game took two and a half hours to complete, which means the game now takes 22% longer. Not only is that metric up 22%, but the pace of play hasn’t been below three hours since 2015.

One of the reasons the pace of play of baseball has increased is due to sabermetrics. Sabermetrics revolves around putting statistical analysis into every aspect of a baseball game. Today, teams of front office members help assist in game preparation, game time decisions, and more through statical confidence ratings. That means every matchup is now a formula, like where to put the defense, what pitcher should come out of the bullpen, or what pitch to throw to a hitter, adds time to the pace of play.

How Long are College Baseball Games?

Legion Report states that college baseball games take about three hours to complete.

How Long are High School Baseball Games?

Legion Report states that high school baseball games take about two hours to complete. High school baseball games only take about two hours because they only play seven innings of baseball.

What is the Longest Game Ever in Baseball?

The longest professional baseball game occurred in 1984 with the Milwaukee Brewers against the Chicago White Sox. It took eight hours and six minutes to complete the game’s conclusion. The game took twenty-five innings, which the White Sox won on a home run.

What Was the Longest-Played World Series Game in Baseball History?

The longest World Series game came in 2018 between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The baseball game took seven hours and twenty minutes and needed eighteen innings. Previously, the World Series record for completing a game was five hours and forty-one minutes against the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros in 2005.

Conclusion: How Long is a Baseball Game?

In summary, a Major League Baseball game average length in 2022 took over three hours to complete. The main culprit to the increased time to complete games is sabermetrics and matchups, but there are other reasons too. Some other reasons include arguments with umpires, foul balls, batters stepping out of the box between pitches, pitching changes, and more.

To help reduce the time it takes to complete a baseball game, Major League Baseball has been experimenting for years with ways to reduce a game’s length in the minors. One trial they ran in 2022 was with a pitch clock, drastically reducing the time it took to finish games. Due to this test’s success, MLB will have a pitch clock during the 2023 season.

Also, the length of a baseball game is at the top of the mind for MLB. Look for the future for them to implement new ideas in the minors to test ways to speed up a game’s conclusion.

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