When the Cardinals and Red Sox met in the 1967 World Series, the average length of the seven games was 2 hours, 22 minutes.
My, how things have changed.
The Cardinals’ 5-4 victory in Game 3 lasted 3:54. Game 1 was 3:17, Game 2, 3:05.
Long games have been the norm in the postseason for several years now. The Red Sox needed nearly four hours to beat the Tigers 1-0 in Game 1 of the ALCS.
Sure, there are more commercials during the postseason, making the wait between innings longer. But it’s not just TV.
Watch a baseball clip from the 1970s or earlier and hitters generally stay in the batter’s box. Pitcher’s get the ball and toe the rubber. Today, 20- to 30-second breaks between pitches are common as hitters step out to adjust their batting gloves or pitchers stalk around.
Red Sox games tend to be slower than most because their hitters work deep into the count. MLB figures show the average Red Sox game in the regular season was 3 hours, 10 minutes, longest in baseball.
Jon Lester, Boston’s starter in Game 5, doesn’t see any reason to fuss over an extra hour.
“I don’t know what you can do to speed it up but it’s something we’ve been dealing with for a long time,” Lester said, “so I’m not too concerned about it.”
“This time of year it’s going to be two heavyweights going at it and it’s going to take some time,” Lester said.
World Series ratings up
The Cardinals’ wild 5-4 win in Game 3 of the World Series received a 7.4 rating on Fox, up 21 percent from the record low set last year for San Francisco’s 2-0 victory over Detroit.
Saturday night’s game ended on an obstruction call against Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
Nielsen Media Research said Sunday the game received a 14 share and was watched by 12.5 million viewers. Game 3 last year received a 6.1/11, matching the record low for any Series game — Philadelphia’s rain-delayed 5-4 win over Tampa Bay in the third game in 2008.
The three-game average of 8.1/14 is up 13 percent over the first three games last year.
The rating is the percentage of U.S. television households tuned to a program. The share is the percentage watching a broadcast among those homes with TVs on at the time.