Throughout the course of history, we homo sapiens have witnessed and recorded intense rivalries, starting with Cain vs. Abel. As we have progressed through the centuries, we’ve seen the intense and fatal feuds between the Athenians and the Spartans, the Romans and the Persians, the British and the French. But none of those multi-generational conflicts can top the Red Sox vs. the Yankees.
With teams gearing up for pre-season camp this week for 2020, we face the prospect of the Boston and New York nines squaring off just 10 times during the “regular” season. Will that be enough hyped and breathless encounters between the darlings of the networks and the rabid fans in and around area codes 617 and 212?
That’s not nearly enough time for all the epic Sunday night encounters at Fenway or the Big Stadium in the Bronx that last so long that there’s a chance that when little Jimmy gets tucked into bed in the third inning, he still has a fair shot at catching the end of the game when he wakes up the next morning.
For the good of America, I have a solution to meet this crying national need for Bosox-Bronx baseball in the Year of COVID-19. Like all well-founded policies in the public interest, my solution is based on science.
First, the data.
Using records on BaseballReference.com, I sampled Red Sox-Yankees games during the regular season over a span of 50 years: 1969, 1994 and 2019.
In 1969, the Sox and Yanks faced each other 19 times, and the average length of those games was 2 hours, 24 minutes, 36 seconds.
Twenty-five years later in 1994, the teams faced each other 10 times, and the average game lasted 3 hours, 7 minutes and 54 seconds.
Last year, the teams played one another 19 times with the average game running 3 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds.
As with all of Major League Baseball, the time it takes to play a game has been steadily rising. In this one-off (one hopes!) season coming up, MLB is instituting measures to cut down the game time. But does America want that for Red Sox-Yankees games?
If anything, the games should be longer, continuing the trend the stats I pulled show.
But let’s be dispassionate, setting aside any biases (conscious or unconscious) we may have about these two great franchises that are far more important than those of any other team for which you may root. We shall assume that the this year’s changes to relief pitching procedures may counteract whatever natural progression in game length there would have been if 2020 were a typical 162-game season. Here is my solution:
The Red Sox and Yankees shall play games at a pace of play over 10 regular season games in 2020 that take the same amount of time they played over 19 games in 2019.
Let’s do the math. We must solve an equation to ensure that the total time of games in 2020 equals the total time of games in 2019.
That equation is in two parts:
TOTAL TIME 2019 IN SECONDS DIVIDED BY NUMBER OF 2020 GAMES: 3,861/10 = A
AVERAGE MINUTES DIVIDED BY 60 TO DERIVE 2020 TOTAL TIMES DESIRED: A/60 = B
|Year||Games||Total Time (minutes)||Average (minutes)||Average (hours)|
|2019||19||3,861||203.2||3 hrs, 23 mins, 12 secs|
|2020||10||3,861||386.1||6 hrs, 26 mins, 6 secs|
The Red Sox and Yankees need to stretch their 10 games in 2020’s regular season to an average of 6 hours, 26 minutes and 6 seconds to equate with the 2019 season.
Q.E.D., and you’re welcome.
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