Mystery of the Missing 42 Minutes in Baseball

Watching Rangers baseball on tv.  Guess it’s also Yankees baseball, but not from our perspective down here in Texas.  Just Rangers baseball, and the Rangers have made Rangers history… finally.  They’re in the playoffs, and here we are in game 4 of a series with the Yankees.  It’s been a long time since I watched much baseball.  It’s nerve-wracking, like any sport can be when you want your team to win.

I have a couple of observations about baseball in general.  First of all, it is one long-ass game, and second, much spitting is involved.  Spitting must be required, or at least recommended, or in the alternative, gum chewing.  Woe be to the poor guy who can’t summon up so much saliva, or who doesn’t like chewing tobacco and/or has TMJ and can’t chew gum.  It’s obvious that some of these guys are chewing tobacco, such a lovely hue to their spittle.  I don’t notice near as much spitting or chewing in other sports.  Does it somehow make them better ball players, because dang me, these guys are really good.  Or, is it just a habit,  a nervous thing, chew or spit, chew or spit, because they have nothing much else to do?

Seriously, the other day I heard about a study of pro baseball games.  The study supposedly proved that there is an average of only 14 minutes of live action in a pro baseball game, and for the record, apparently that is 3 more minutes of live action than in an average pro football game.  So, for all of you out there who think football is so much more exciting and has more action than baseball, think again.  Three minutes less, my friends.

Let’s see what makes up the rest of those 3-plus hours (using my own methods of scientific time measurement)…

  • Spitting or gum-chewing, there has to be at least 14 minutes of spitting or chewing gum/occasional bubble-blowing (Edit – Actually there is much more spitting and gum chewing, there is at least 180 minutes of spitting and gum chewing, but only 14 minutes televised specifically for our viewing pleasure)
  • Scratching and/or repositioning the twins, good for at least 10 minutes
  • Waiting for the pitcher to psyche himself up to pitch, this takes half an hour at least
  • Standing around sizing up the opponents, good for another half an hour
  • Breaks between innings, maybe 40 minutes

14 minutes of action, plus 14 minutes of spitting, 10 minutes of scratching, 30 minutes of psyching, 30 minutes of sizing up, and 40 minutes of breaks between innings adds up to 138 minutes, still 42 minutes shy of the 180-plus minutes in an average game.

I don’t know WHAT they do for the remaining 42 minutes, but by the way, Rangers are ahead 7-3 in the 8th inning.  It’s not over yet, though.  Yankees just loaded the bases.  Come on, Rangers!

…and don’t bother telling me if I got my math wrong.