MLB games are shorter on average in 2015

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2015 Baseball HoF Ballot
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MLB games are shorter on average in 2015

Pedro Martinez
Years on ballot: 1

This 26 June 1998 file photo shows Boston Red Sox ace pitcher Pedro Martinez winding up for a pitch during a game against the Florida Marlins in Miami, FL. The 28-year-old Dominican right-hander won the 1999 American League Cy Young Award 16 November 1999 to become the third pitcher in Major League history to win a Cy Young in both American and National Leagues. Martinez, who had won the prestigious award in 1997 with the Montreal Expos, led the American League this year in wins(23-4), ERA(2.07) and strikeouts (311). (Photo credit AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Craig Biggio
Years on ballot: 3

Houston Astros infielder Craig Biggio attempts to tag out a stealing San Diego Padre during the Astros versus Padres game at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California.(Photo: STEPHEN DUNN/ALLSPORT)

John Smoltz
Years on ballot: 1

John Smoltz #29 of the Atlanta Braves delivers a pitch against the New York Mets on September 6, 2006 at Shea Stadium in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Randy Johnson
Years on ballot: 1

Randy Johnson of the Houston Astros throws a pitch in the first inning 29 September against the San Diego Padres in game one of the Division Series at the Houston Astro Dome in Houston, TX. The Padres won the game 2-1. (Photo credit JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)

Rich Aurilia
Years on ballot: 1

Rich Aurilia #35 of the San Francisco Giants in action during the major league baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on June 11, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 2-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jeff Bagwell
Years on ballot: 5

First baseman Jeff Bagwell of the Houston Astros leads off third base during the Astros 9-7 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. (Photo Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport via Getty)

Barry Bonds
Years on ballot: 3

Barry Bonds #25 of the San Francisco Giants strikes out to end the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park on September 29, 2006 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Aaron Boone
Years on ballot: 1

Aaron Boone of the Cincinnati Reds during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Cinergy Field on April 3, 2000 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)

Tony Clark
Years on ballot: 1

Tony Clark #17 of the Detroit Tigers looks on during a game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. The Tigers defeated the Yankees 3-1. (Photo Credit: Al Bello /Allsport via Getty)

Roger Clemens
Years on ballot: 3

Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees pitches against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on April 10, 1999 in the Bronx borough of Manhattan, New York. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)

Jermaine Dye
Years on ballot: 1

Chicago White Sox Jermaine Dye throws his bat as he strikes out with two on in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Friday, August 22, 2008 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by John Smierciak/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

Darin Erstad
Years on ballot: 1

Infielder Darin Erstad #27 of the Anaheim Angels in action during an interleague game against the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. The Angels won the game, 11-3. (Photo: Todd Warshaw via Getty)

Cliff Floyd
Years on ballot: 1

Cliff Floyd of the Florida Marlins bats against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on May 1, 1997 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Marlins 3-2. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)

Nomar Garciaparra
Years on ballot: 1

Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra #5 of the Boston Red Sox throws the ball during Game five of the 2003 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on October 14, 2003 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 4-2. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Brian Giles
Years on ballot: 1

Brian Giles #24 of the San Diego Padres warms up on deck during the major league baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on May 26, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tom Gordon
Years on ballot: 1

Tom Gordon #36 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch during a game against the Oakland Athletics in April of 1992 at Royals Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Earl Richardson/Getty Images)

Eddie Guardado
Years on ballot: 1

Eddie Guardado #18 of the Minnesota Twins consults with teammate Tom Prince during the game against the Texas Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington , Texas . The Twins beat the Rangers 6 -3. (Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez /ALLSPORT via Getty)

Jeff Kent
Years on ballot: 2

Second baseman Jeff Kent #21 of the San Francisco Giants dives as he throws the ball during game three of the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco, California on October 5, 2002. The Braves defeated the Giants 10-2, taking a 2-1 lead in the five-game series. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn /Getty Images)

Edgar Martinez
Years on ballot: 6

Edgar Martinez #11 of the Seattle Mariners doubles home the game winning runs in Game five of the 1995 American League Divisional Series against the New York Yankees at the Kingdome on October 8, 1995 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners defeated the Yankees 6-5 in 11 innings to win the series three games to two. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Don Mattingly
Years on ballot: 15

Don Mattingly #23 of the New York Yankees gets a hit during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on September 4, 1995 in the Bronx, New York. The Yankees won 13-3. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Fred McGriff
Years on ballot: 6

Fred McGriff of the Atlanta Braves fields during a 19977 season game at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. Fred McGriiff played for the Atlanta Braves from 1993-1997. (Photo by John Reid III/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Mark McGwire
Years on ballot: 9

Infielder Mark McGwire #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals in action during a game against the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Astros 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn /Allsport

Mike Mussina
Years on ballot: 2

New York Yankees' Mike Mussina is on the mound in game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mussina turned in his best performance as a Yank, allowing six hits and one run and striking out 12 batters as the Yanks took a 2-1 win. (Photo by Keith Torrie/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Troy Percival
Years on ballot: 1

Troy Percival #40 of the Anaheim Angels winds up to pitch the ball during the game against the Oakland Athletics at the Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, California. The A's defeated the Angels 6-2. (Photo Credit: Jed Jacobsohn /Allsport via Getty)

Mike Piazza
Years on ballot: 3

Mike Piazza #31 of the New York Mets drops his face mask as he catches the ball during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. The Braves defeated the Mets 4-3. (Photo: Ezra Shaw via Getty Images)

Tim Raines
Years on ballot: 8

Tim Raines #30 of the Montreal Expos batting against the New York Mets in September 1989 at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

Curt Schilling
Years on ballot: 3

Pitcher Curt Schilling #38 of the Boston Red Sox gives a teammate a five during the game against the New York Yankees on April 17, 2004 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-2. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Jason Schmidt
Years on ballot: 1

Jason Schmidt #29 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on April 28, 2006 in San Francisco, California. The Giants defeated the Diamondbacks 10-2. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Gary Sheffield
Years on ballot: 1

Gary Sheffield #11 of the New York Yankees catches a ball hit by Eric Hinske #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning September 22, 2004 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Lee Smith
Years on ballot: 13

Lee Smith #46 of the Chicago Cubs pitching during Game 2 of the 1984 National League Championship Series against the San Diego Padres on October 3, 1984 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

Sammy Sosa
Years on ballot: 3

Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs bats against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field on August 26, 1999 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)

Alan Trammell
Years on ballot: 14

Shortstop Alan Trammell of the Detroit Tigers sets to make a throw to first base during a Major League baseball game circa 1985 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan. Trammell played for the Tigers from 1977-96. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Larry Walker
Years on ballot: 5

Larry Walker #33 of the Montreal Expos catches a fly ball during a circa 1990s game. Walker played for the Expos from 1989-94. (Photo by Andy Hayt/Getty Images)

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As most fans know the average length of a Major League Baseball game is right around three hours. Three hours are generally blocked off for television and radio coverage. When you go to attend a game fans generally expect it to be three hours plus the time to get into and out of the stadium.

In 2014 the average game time was 3:02. This year, so far, that average has come down very noticeably. Currently, the average length of games has been 2:53. That is nearly nine minutes less time on average per game.

In the month of May this average is even lower, clocking in at an average game time of 2:52. If May's average were to persist and the season-long average length of game finished at 2:52, it would mark the single largest decrease in average game between two seasons since 1963 when the average shrunk by nine minutes.

So what exactly has Major League Baseball done to cut down on the length of games that's different this year from the 2014 season?

MLB introduced three pace-of-game rules which have had the biggest effect. The first of these rules requires that the batter must keep one foot in the batter's box between pitches. There are obviously exceptions to this, you'll see a batter leave the batter's box to move around if they foul a ball into their body or other similar exceptions. Barring those though, the batter is no longer allowed to repeatedly step out of the box to practice their swing or blow bubbles.

This rule has helped to bring down the average length of time between pitches by almost one second. With one second less per pitch in game that will generally feature 250-300 pitches, that means that roughly four to five minutes are saved per game just on time between pitches.

One of the new rules allows managers to challenge calls from inside the dugout, saving the time it takes to head out onto the field to challenge. The other is a rule that requires the game to be resumed promptly at the end of the half inning. In the case of most games this means there is a two minute and twenty-five second timer from the end of the half-inning to the start of the next which pitchers are strongly encouraged to be ready to throw the first pitch of the half-inning.

While these pace-of-game rules were met with some speculation and resistance, especially in the case of the foot in the batter's box rule, they have helped to cut down on average game time by nine minutes this year. With 162 games in the season averaging nine minutes fewer that means we stand to save 24 hours and 18 minutes of time this year, and that's just during the regular season.

Think of it like a baseball leap year.

H/T Deadspin

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