How To Make Watching Baseball a Little More Interesting

Writer Katie Kohler offers suggestions for livening up the game.

Through war, peace and economic downturns—not to mention the inception of free agency and the designated hitter—our nation has turned to the baseball diamond for entertainment. In 1920, the average length of a game was 1 hour, 47 minutes. America’s pastime eats up a lot more clock these days, with the average game’s running time at about three hours. Add another 30 minutes for postseason matchups.

In baseball, there are no touchdowns, pick sixes, slam dunks, three pointers, hat tricks, or bone crunching hits along the boards. But there are home runs or perhaps the thrill of watching a player leg out a triple (if you manage to stay awake).

Purists say baseball doesn’t need all that razzle-dazzle—that a 1-0 pitchers’ duel is pure poetry. Don’t think so? Then you don’t understand the beauty of the sport.

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For the rest of us, here are some ideas to get the modern game in gear.

1. No hokey-pokey in the batter’s box.

No stepping in and out. You’re there until it’s over. Otherwise, it’s a penalty, and the batter takes a pitch in the thigh without being awarded first base.

2. Limit pitching changes to one per inning.

After the seventh-inning stretch, multiple hurlers can make the decision to hit the hay so much easier. Best to just call in the pitching machine.

3. Cut down on mound visits.

A manager’s got spring training, 162 regular-season games and countless hours of watching tape. How much impact does a slow walk and a quick chat in the third inning really have?

4. Rain delays don’t have to be boring.

Once the tarp comes out, why not select a few lucky fans to run the bases and show off their best Slip ’N Slide moves?

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5. Rethink extra innings.

How about a homerun derby round? The top sluggers go head-to-head, and no dinger equals an out. Or, to show a little fan appreciation, toss a few (hundred) autographed balls into the crowd after the home team grounds into a double play for the last out of the 17th inning.

Katie Kohler endured many, many Phillies games at Veterans Stadium—though most of these ideas came to her more recently, during a three-hour snoozer at Citizens Bank Park. Contact her via Twitter: @kkohler1129.

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