How Long is a Baseball Game? The Ultimate Guide

How long is a baseball game? There is a beautiful rhythm during MLB games that are unlike NFL, NBA, or NHL games. Baseball does not have a clock, unlike NFL and NBA games that last 60 minutes. So how long are Major League Baseball games in general? Here is the breakdown.

How Long is a Baseball Game
How Long is a Baseball Game

How Many Innings is a Regular Game?

The average MLB game consists of nine innings of baseball. There will be two seven-inning doubleheaders in 2021, which is considered a complete game. In addition, baseball games can go into extra innings to decide a winner, so nine innings is the average for regular season and postseason games.

There is no time limit for completing nine innings in baseball games, even though nine innings are roughly the standard for the sport. In baseball, there is no time clock, so the length of a game can vary from game to game during a given day.

How Long is a Baseball Game?

As of 6-6-2021, according to Baseball-Reference, an average baseball game lasts three hours and eight minutes. In 2001, according to Baseball-Reference, the average length of a baseball game was two hours and fifty-eight minutes. According to Baseball-Reference, the average baseball game in 1991 lasted two hours and fifty-four minutes.

As you can see above, baseball games are slowly becoming longer to complete. There are numerous reasons why the game keeps taking a while to complete. Here are some of the primary reasons. 

What Adds to the Time of Baseball Games?

Numerous factors contribute to long baseball games. Here are some of the ways that baseball games take longer to complete.

  • Games that go into extra innings require more time to be played.
  • Pitching changes that require the reliever to jog from the bullpen to the pitching mound
  • These visits slow down the action by bringing in a new pitcher or discussing strategy. The same thing happens when a catcher needs to change the signs, adding time between pitches.
  • During their at-bat, batters step out of the batter’s box to adjust their gloves
  • If any fights take place between teams, you can expect a delay in action.
  • Instant replay reviews
  • Arguing with the umpire during your plate appearance 
  • Postseason playoff games that add additional TV commercial time in between innings
  • How long does it take to complete an inning? It is possible for the home team or away team to score many runs in a single inning, which adds more time to the game.
  • Bringing in a new baserunner to replace a runner on the basepaths
  • Certain matchups (New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox or Los Angeles Dodgers vs. the San Francisco Giants) tend to be longer games since those matches are rivalry games. MLB teams playing their rivals incorporate more moves and countermoves since winning those games can help win your division.

What are the Ways Baseball is Trying to Speed up the Game?

Major League Baseball is trying to speed up the pace of games in several ways. One way to speed up the action is with a 20-second pitch clock in every ballpark. Since every ballpark has a 20-second pitch clock, it speeds up the pitch that the pitcher needs to throw.

You can speed up the game by automatically walking hitters via the intentional walk. Starting in 2017, baseball pitchers can signal that they want to step on a hitter intentionally. Intentionally walking a hitter eliminates the need to throw four pitchers, which speeds up the game. 

MLB played two seven-inning games in 2021 when a doubleheader was necessary. The seven-inning games help speed up the game and save the number of innings teams need to pitch. Reducing the number of innings and pitchers helps speed up the pace of play.

Starting in 2021, extra-inning games will automatically start with a runner on second base. This revised rule aims to speed up the game’s conclusion by giving each team a runner in scoring position. This rule may be controversial, but at least it reduces the time it takes to finish a baseball game.

What is the Longest Game Ever in Baseball?

The longest professional baseball game took place in 1984 between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago White Sox. The game took eight hours and six minutes to complete. The game lasted twenty-five innings to finish, and the White Sox won on a home run.

What is the Longest Minor League Baseball Game Ever?

The longest Minor League Baseball game belongs to the Rochester Red Wings vs. the Pawtucket Paw Sox in 1981. The match between the two teams took eight hours and twenty-five minutes to complete and was thirty-three innings. If you want to learn more about the longest game, you can visit the Paw Sox resource. 

What Was the Longest Played World Series Game?

The longest World Series game came in 2018 between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The baseball game lasted seven hours and twenty minutes and included 18 innings. Previously, the World Series record for completing a game was five hours and forty-one minutes against the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros in 2005.


How Long is a Minor League Baseball Game?

Minor league baseball, including AAA, AA, and several other professional leagues, has the same inning rules as Major League Baseball. AA and AAA leagues now have a 20-second pitch clock, which has shortened games by 12 minutes. Minor league doubleheaders are 7.0 innings long.

How Long is a Collegiate Baseball Game?

Collegiate games also last for nine innings. Under certain circumstances, one or both games of a doubleheader can be played for seven innings. The mercy rule is in effect if a team is ahead by 10 or more runs after seven innings-or five innings in a seven-inning game.

How Long is a High School Baseball Game?

High school baseball games last seven innings. In case of inclement weather, an official game can be played in four innings. Since some high school fields do not have lights, darkness can be an issue, but play can be resumed later. After four innings, if a team is ahead by 10 runs, a mercy rule kicks in.

How Long is a Youth Baseball Game?

The length of youth baseball games depends on the level of play.

Tee-Ball (ages 4-7) is played for five innings; however, the number of innings is often determined by the allotted time for the game, which varies from league to league.

Little League (ages 7-13) games have six innings.

Babe Ruth League (ages 13-18) games have seven innings


It usually takes three hours or so to complete a nine-inning game. Baseball has a rhythm of moves and counters moves since there is no clock like in NHL games. Baseball-Reference illustrates that while Major League Baseball has tried to reduce game times, it takes longer to complete games than it did twenty or thirty years ago.

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