Glove and Bat

Baseball Traditions: Odd Start Times Game Length and Opening Day Excitement

Why Do Baseball Games Have Odd Start Times? Baseball games, unlike most other sports, often have odd start times.

The first pitch is rarely at the top of the hour, and instead, games can start at unusual times, such as 7:05 or 8:37 pm. This article examines the reasons behind these odd start times, their advantages, disadvantages, and how they compare to other sports.

Pregame Festivities

One of the primary reasons for odd start times in baseball is the pregame festivities. The National Anthem, warm-up, starter lineups, and ceremonial first pitch all take time and are essential before the game starts.

Moreover, teams use this time to interact with fans, provide entertainment, and engage with the local community. Most teams want to ensure that their pregame activities and fan engagement are not rushed; hence they make slight adjustments to the start time.

The timing of these events is essential to ensure that the broadcast begins correctly, particularly for network-television-marketed games. These broadcasts can reach a vast audience and can generate millions of dollars in revenue for the teams and the league.

Broadcasting Rules

In Major league baseball, television broadcasts are tightly controlled. There is a complex web of rules related to advertising, programming schedules, and pre-game content that drives the timing of each game.

Most importantly, the start time is driven by the television network that has contracted the rights to broadcast the game. The pregame show is critical to the television network’s programming schedule and typically begins half an hour before the first pitch.

To fit this slot, the start time of a game is pushed back to an odd time, usually five minutes or ten minutes after the hour.

After-Work Crowd

Baseball games’ starting times depend on the expected attendance and the availability of leisure time for fans. Typically, games are scheduled after work hours to allow fans to attend the game and still have enough time to get home afterward.

Therefore, for some teams, playing at odd start times is believed to increase attendance by making it easier for fans to leave work, get to the stadium, and enjoy the pregame festivities before the first pitch.

External Factors

Another factor that affects the start time of baseball games is external factors such as weather, field conditions, travel considerations, and time zones. For instance, teams playing on the west coast are often scheduled to play later in the day to ensure that teams from the eastern time zone can view the game before their bedtime.

During the summer months, baseball fields require maintenance to ensure they stay in excellent condition. Teams may, therefore, schedule games at odd start times to allow the grounds crew to perform maintenance during the day and ensure the field is in perfect condition during the game.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Odd Start Times

Benefits of Odd Start Times

Odd start times of baseball games have their advantages. Allowing for pre-game entertainment helps to create a unique and memorable fan experience in the stadium.

Television networks appreciate the flexibility in start times, allowing them to build anticipation for the game, increasing viewership and revenue. In some cases, odd start times can also allow players to play in better weather conditions.

For instance, during the hot summer months, starting a game at 7 pm could mean more comfortable playing conditions than starting the game in the heat of the day.

Drawbacks of Odd Start Times

One significant drawback of odd start times is the conflict it creates for fans who work or have other obligations during the day. An 8:37 pm game start could mean that a fan would not be home until well past midnight, making it difficult for fans with early morning commitments to attend the games.

Moreover, odd start times could limit out-of-town fans’ ability to attend games. Fans traveling long distances to attend games may be unable to attend games with unusual start times, limiting fan engagement and revenue.

Odd start times could also negatively affect attendance, particularly for less popular teams. Fans may be less likely to attend games scheduled at odd times, affecting the team’s revenue and profitability.

Comparison to Other Sports

Compared to other sports, baseball’s odd start times differ significantly. In sports like soccer or basketball, the start time is usually on the hour or the half-hour.

For instance, the NBA plays all its games at either 7 pm or 7:30 pm local time, providing a consistent time for fans to plan their schedules. The NFL uses transparency to communicate start times, typically scheduling games at specific times during the day when most fans can watch.

This approach ensures that fans can plan their days accordingly. In conclusion, odd start times in baseball are driven by various factors such as pregame festivities, broadcasting rules, and external factors.

Although odd start times create unique fan experiences and generate revenue for teams and networks, they also present significant drawbacks for fans’ attendance and team revenue. Baseball, America’s national pastime, is known for its traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

From singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch to the bobblehead giveaways, baseball has a rich history, and the game’s traditions play a vital role in the sport’s appeal. This article will further examine some of baseball’s most notable traditions, game length and criticism, and the start of the MLB season.

Notable Traditions

“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is perhaps baseball’s most well-known tradition. The song is played during the seventh-inning stretch, and fans sing along to the catchy tune.

The song was first played during a game in 1934, and it has since become a staple of baseball games. Another beloved tradition in baseball is bobblehead giveaways.

Fans can receive a miniature replica of their favorite player, coach, or even announcer as a souvenir to commemorate the game. Some collectors even view these figures as a serious hobby, collecting them as memorabilia.

Curtain Calls are yet another baseball tradition. When a player makes an exceptional play or has an outstanding performance, he may receive a requited standing ovation from the fans.

The player will then tip his cap in appreciation to the fans, a gesture that is known as the curtain call. In the recent past, pre-batting stances have entered the scene as well.

Today, many players have specific batting stances, rituals, and even lucky items they use before they go up to bat. This has allowed players to build a unique identity for themselves that can be instantly recognized by fans.

April 15th is Jackie Robinson Day, a day when baseball celebrates the legacy of the Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman who broke the color barrier in 1947. On this day, all players across Major League Baseball wear No. 42 in tribute to Robinson’s lasting impact on the sport.

Another interesting tradition is the returning visiting team’s home run ball. Usually, balls that are hit out of the park are caught by fans or found on the ground.

But when visiting teams hit a home run, the ball is typically thrown back onto the field as an act of defiance by the home team’s fans.

Game Length and Criticism

Baseball games are known for their leisurely pace and time-consuming play, which can often exceed three hours. While baseball purists appreciate the sport’s slow pace and strategy, many modern viewers find it to be frustrating and boring.

In response to this criticism, the MLB has made efforts to shorten the game’s duration. One example is the intentional walk rule, where instead of throwing four pitches, the pitcher can now signal to the umpire for an intentional walk.

The MLB has also added a 20-second pitch clock during spring training games to help speed up the game’s pace. Under the new rule, pitchers must deliver a pitch within 20 seconds after the previous pitch.

Start of MLB Season

The start of the MLB season, known as Opening Day, is an essential time for baseball fans. The MLB season traditionally begins at the end of March or the beginning of April, with all 30 teams in action on the same day.

Opening Day is a highly anticipated event for fans, as they look forward to seeing their favorite team play in the first game of the season. Opening Day is also an excellent opportunity for teams to create a welcoming environment for their fans and to showcase their renewed talent.

Additionally, Opening Day is an economic boon for the cities that host Opening Day games. Fans travel to attend the game, which increases spending at local hotels, restaurants, and stores.

Moreover, Opening Day serves as an unofficial holiday for baseball lovers, and many Americans take the day off to attend or watch the games. In conclusion, baseball possesses many traditions that give the sport its charm and appeal.

From “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” to bobblehead giveaways, traditions such as these are an essential part of the baseball experience. Game length is also a significant area of discussion in recent years, with the MLB making efforts to shorten game duration.

Furthermore, the start of the MLB season, Opening Day, is a highly anticipated event for fans and an economic boon for the cities that host the games. Overall, baseball’s traditions, game length, and the start of the season make it a unique and cherished sport that continues to attract fans year after year.

In summary, baseball’s traditions, odd start times, game length, and the start of the season are significant aspects of the sport’s appeal. The game’s numerous traditions, such as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and bobblehead giveaways, add to the sport’s charm and fan experience.

Meanwhile, odd start times are driven by several factors, and while they offer advantages such as creating a unique fan experience, they can also present drawbacks such as conflicts with work schedules and lower attendance. Game length is a frequent topic of criticism, and the MLB has implemented measures to reduce game time, such as the intentional walk rule.

Finally, the start of the season, also known as Opening Day, represents a significant economic opportunity for hosting cities and is a celebrated event for fans.



What are some notable baseball traditions? Baseball has numerous traditions such as playing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch, giving away bobbleheads, and celebrating Jackie Robinson Day on April 15th.

2. Why do baseball games have odd start times?

Baseball’s odd start times are driven by various factors such as pregame festivities, broadcasting rules, external elements like weather, and travel considerations. 3.

What are some benefits of odd start times? Odd start times allow for pre-game entertainment and add to the unique fan experience, and also generate revenue for teams and television networks.

4. How long are baseball games?

Baseball games can often last more than three hours, prompting criticism from some viewers who find it slow and tedious. 5.

Are there efforts to reduce game length? The MLB has made efforts to reduce game length, implementing changes such as the intentional walk rule and adding a 20-second pitch clock.

6. When does the MLB season start?

The MLB season traditionally starts at the end of March or the beginning of April, with all 30 teams playing on the same day, known as Opening Day.

Popular Posts