Updated July. 16, 2014 07:31
The average duration of games at the Korea professional baseball in this season, which is nearing the halfway point, amounted to 3 hours and 26 minutes as of Tuesday, the longest ever. It was 3 hours and 20 minutes last year. This trend is believed to be due to the phenomenon of strong batting and weak pitching capacities at teams resulting from the reintroduction of foreign batters. The average score per game in this season was 11.4 points. It was 9.29 points last year. The shortest duration ever of a game was 2 hours and 47 minutes (7.38 points) set in 1993.
As the Korea Baseball Organization strengthened rule on speedup to reduce the duration of a game, the "excessive extension of a game" is believed to have been checked to some extent. From this year, a team should replace a pitcher within 2 minutes and 45 seconds after the moment the umpire informs the record keeper of replacement. Also, if the pitcher only behaves as if throwing the ball to the first or third base but fails to throw, the pitcher is set to be given a balk. Lee Jin-hyeong, a director at KBO, said, Without the introduction of related rules, it would have taken more than 3 hours and 40 minutes. We judge 3 hours is the ideal duration of a game. It is often said that the duration of a game is reversely proportional with the number of audience members in attendance. Lee Tae-il, president of NC Dinosaurs, said, If players concentration on the game declines due to unnecessary gestures and acts, audience will shy away from the game. The deterioration of thrills and excitement affects ticket sales.
"Speedup" has become a buzzword not only in baseball but also in other sports. In the pro soccer, the organizers even staged a campaign dubbed 5 more minutes aimed at increasing actual playing time, while toughening rule against unnecessary wasting of play time, including fouls and intentional delays of play. No fan would welcome bed soccer, in which players intentionally lie down on the ground.
Proactive efforts are made to remove slow proceeding in the professional golf as well. The Korea Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) tour is implementing diverse measures to eradicate slow play. The organizers have divided tee-off time into morning and afternoon, and a player who slowly proceeds in play is given fines, a penalty stroke, or ban on participation in tournaments according to severity of violations. As the duration of a golf competition has declined from as many as 6 hours to around 4 hours and 30 minutes, both golfers and gallery welcome the measure.
Kim Young-ki, head of the Korea Basketball League who was inaugurated early this month, also emphasized "speedy basketball." Kim said, We have to eradicate all behaviors that hamper speed and speedy attacks, the bread and butter of basketball, from the court, in instructing his organization to improve related rules. A tennis rule provides that players should service the ball within a timeframe of 20 seconds (or 25 seconds). However, some players claim that tennis should strengthen this rule by introducing a time indicator as in basketball, saying that the rule is not properly applied, thus dampening teams capacities to play. It is widely said that we live in an era where speed is competitiveness edge. Sports arenas are no exception to this.