COMMENTARY: America’s pastime needs to remain a timeless sport

Baseball is not everyone’s cup of tea.

“The only time I watch baseball is when I need help falling asleep,” said Frank Lozano, a 36-year-old Harlingen resident. “Don’t get me wrong, I like baseball and I like going to games in person sometimes. However, baseball is sort of boring because games take forever and it’s just too slow. Besides, I’m more of a football and basketball kind of guy.”

Frank is not alone when it comes to his opinion of America’s pastime. This country is crazy about sports that are fast-paced and filled with plenty of non-stop action.

Still, Major League Baseball ratings actually rose in 2016 and last’s year’s postseason was particularly intriguing thanks to the Chicago Cubs and their run toward the franchise’s fist World Series title in more than 100 years.

Regardless, MLB officials have become quite concerned about the sport’s slow pace of play. It would seem that the commissioner’s office has heard people like Frank and wants to do something about speeding up the game.

According to, the average time of a nine-inning game is around three hours. However, there are contests that go well over this timeframe such as last season’s Game 5 of the NLDS between the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers, which lasted a record four hours and 32 minutes.

To combat such lengthy affairs, MLB has tried to employ a pitch clock and is even looking to change the rules of the game so that extra-inning contests would automatically begin with a runner on second. What’s next? Put games on a clock? After two hours, whichever team leads is declared the winner. Game tied? It’s home run derby time. Ridiculous!

Change is inevitable in life, but changing the rules of baseball in a feeble attempt to shave off a few minutes of time is simply shameful.

The beauty of baseball is that it is not ruled by a time clock. Each game has it’s very own ebb and flow, and takes on its own characteristic. Some games are slow and methodical defensive contests while others are offensive affairs with plenty of fireworks. And while there are some aspects of the game that do take up time such as pitching changes and pick-off attempts, it’s all part of the game. Why mess with things?

Why is that some sports fans get upset each time a pitcher throws over to first in an attempt to keep a runner on, but don’t seem to have a problem with NFL or NBA teams taking a timeout every five seconds toward the end of a game?

“Something like that is all about strategy,” Frank said of timeouts. “Teams need this time to talk about game plans and work things out. It’s like a chess match.”

Right, Frank. Whatever. In all honestly, the final two minutes of a basketball game can last longer than an entire baseball game.

It’s unfortunate that our fast-paced, can’t-wait, I-don’t-have-time-to-spare, 21st-century lifestyle has infected such a timeless sport as baseball.

Heaven forbid if our sporting events don’t fit into a specific and orderly block of time. Apparently, watching a game in today’s world has to be planned out. People need to know exactly what time a game will wrap up so they can go on with their live-by-the-clock lives.

What’s wrong with us?

Follow Dave Favila on Twitter @dfavila