(Bridgewater, N.J., May 1, 2019) – The Somerset Patriots and the newly formed High Point Rockers clocked in a nine-inning game at under two hours on Tuesday, April 30th.
Regardless of record status or not, the game, which was completed in 1 hour and 57 minutes, is a very rare feat in baseball and the direction the sport is trending towards.
“It all starts with the on-field performances by players competing at a very high level, leadership of our umpiring crew, and the implementation of the rules from our MLB partnership,” said Atlantic League President Rick White. “When all of those things come together, it not only showcases how we work as one to improve the game, but also addresses the concerns about game length over the past few years.”
In addition to more game action and player safety, a major focus of the Atlantic League’s groundbreaking partnership with Major League Baseball is pace of play and ways to shorten the length of games. Rules adopted this season include reducing the time between innings and pitching changes from 2:05 to 1:45 and eliminating mound visits during the game except for injury or pitching changes.
Of course, strong pitching also helps, as Somerset’s starter Logan Darnell allowed a run on just two hits and struck out seven batters in six innings of work.
“Any game that goes under two hours is something that a pitcher lives for,” said Darnell, who has MLB service with the Minnesota Twins in 2014. “It means you were in the zone and they were swinging and that’s all good things for either side. It’s exciting to get out early and with a W.”
The Patriots pitching staff retired 21 of the final 22 Rocker batters and faced only three over the minimum in the game.
The Atlantic League has been at the forefront of pace of play in the game of baseball for the past five seasons. The league formed a Pace of Play Committee in June of 2014 that was tasked with ways to reduce the average time and enliven the pace of baseball games in order to enhance the overall fan experience. One rule adopted before the MLB partnership included automatic intentional walks, which has since been implemented in MLB games.
The average professional game time in the 1970's was approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, whereas today more than half of all nine-inning games exceed three hours. When Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run in 1927, the box score reported game time as 1 hour and 38 minutes.
“The Atlantic League looks to continue to be an innovative leader in the future of baseball on and off the field,” White added. “The fans of our eight franchises, as well as the players and coaches, can take a lot of pride that we honor the history of our game, but are entrusted with where it will go from here. It is truly a very exciting time.”
The Somerset Patriots 2019 Season Presented by Ford is underway at TD Bank Ballpark. Stay up to date on all the team news online, on all of our social media platforms, and on our mobile app. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 900 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 40 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.