DiPietro: Mets-Cardinals Monday a perfect primer for pace of play vs. time of game


The average time of game over the first weekend of Spring Training 2023 was two hours, 38 minutes, down 23 minutes from the 3:01 average of last spring.

It’s clear the pitch clock has a lot to do with that, and for those who are going to complain that some games will still take too long, they need only to look at Monday’s Mets-Cardinals game – which was one that, last year, might have gone four hours instead of the 2:59 it took.

Look at that again: the game went just shy of last year’s average even without needing the bottom of the ninth inning – but what that 2:59 encompassed was a 12-7 final score that included 19 runs, 25 hits, 11 walks, 18 strikeouts, three mid-inning pitching changes for the Mets, and 10 pitchers that have never appeared in an MLB game (and thus have in fact likely seen the pitch clock and knew what it means) getting some action.

Imagine that kind of game in, say, Game 2 of a Wild Card Round Series last October? A game that started at 8 p.m. local time almost certainly would’ve extended into the next morning, and even in a regular-season game, it likely would’ve had a game time that the YES Network would’ve called “unmanageable.”

The Mets’ first three games of spring took 2:33, 2:35, and 2:28, while the Yankees went 2:34, 2:16, and 3:05 (for a 9-5 game) over the weekend.

You can’t win ‘em all, but two out of seven is a lot better than seven out of seven, no?

There’s a reason why the NHL banned the neutral zone trap, the NFL runs the clock for most of the game after an out-of-bounds play, and the NBA instituted a shot clock – sometimes, to move the game forward, you have to force the action.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN

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