6. The longest nine-inning game in franchise history
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred loves but two things in this world; not punishing blatant cheaters who destroyed the sanctity of baseball and talking about the pace of play.
Manfred loves talking about the pace of play so much that for the 2020 season, he implemented three new rules intended to speed up the game.
First came the reasonable, if not tedious, rule that a batter had to maintain one foot in the batter’s box at all times. This meant no batting glove adjustments or contemplative walks, but time would only be gained on the margins. Manfred wanted something bigger, something that would surely end the game that we love faster.
In came the three batter minimum. A pitching change could only be made if the previous pitcher had faced at least three batters, or had concluded an inning. Still, the commissioner craved more time.
Purists and modern fans don’t agree on much, but the ghost runner at second base to start extra innings had the entire baseball world up in arms. With the implementation of this rule, Manfred was certain that he had solved the pace of play woes that he perceives are plaguing the game of baseball.
Then a funny thing happened. Games got longer. This season, MLB averaged the longest nine inning game in baseball history, at 3 hours and 8 minutes.
This average was jacked up by the Blue Jays’ marathon regulation affair with the Boston Red Sox in early September. It took the two AL East foes four hours and 23 minutes to get through nine innings of baseball, with the sides combining for 18 runs, 25 hits and 13 pitchers used.
After jumping out in front 3-0 in the bottom of the first, Boston looked poised to steal a win from the surging Jays. But, as has been the story for the Red Sox this season, their pitching couldn’t close the door. The Blue Jays had amassed 10 runs by the sixth, and held off a furious Boston comeback to win the longest regulation game in franchise history, 10-8.