Innings played affect the length of the baseball games. This is why the MLB extra innings rule exists and determines how many extra inning in MLB are played. The baseball length of game may vary depending on occurrences during play. We will dive deeper into the topic below!
What is an Inning in Baseball?
A game is made up of two teams, each with nine innings in which each team attempts to score runs. During an inning, one player from the batting team will be sent to bat, and is referred to as an ‘at bat‘. The pitching team will have nine players out fielding, to try and stop the batter from scoring.
The inning isn’t over until three batters are ‘out’, and if the score is tied at the end of nine innings, the game continues into extra innings until one team is ahead.
How Long is a Baseball Inning?
The duration depends on the number of at-bats, pitching changes, and the pace of the pitcher. An inning lasts for a total of six outs, equating to three per team. In theory, an inning could last indefinitely if the fielding team doesn’t record three outs.
The innings are split into two halves, with the away team batting during the top half of the inning, and the bottom half being batted by the home team. During an MLB game, if the score remains tied at the end of nine innings, the game continues and further innings are played until one team has acquired more runs than the other.
So how long does a baseball game last overall? Generally, the baseball length of the game will last around three hours, but this can depend on the number of innings, as well as other factors that may interfere with the game.
A baseball game lasts around three hours on average and contains nine innings. There is no time limit on an inning, and some don’t make it to the 9th inning.
Different Types of Inning in Baseball
Baseball inning consist of five different types:
Top of the Inning
The top of the inning is played by the away team and isn’t over until three batters have been outed.
Middle of the Inning
The middle of the inning is used as a transition period between the top and bottom inning. During this time, players can change their gear and get ready for the swap over. This period usually lasts between two-three minutes.
Bottom of the Inning
Now that both teams are ready, the home team will take their turn at batting, whilst the away team field and try to stop them from scoring any runs during the inning.
The 9th inning is the end of the game, in most situations. There are circumstances where the 9th inning isn’t completed before three outs take place. According to the 9th inning baseball rules, if the home team is in the lead at the top of the 9th inning, or if the away team is in the lead at the bottom of the 9th inning, the game is over and play will stop.
By the 9th inning, if the results are tied, extra innings will be used to allow each team to continue batting until there is a winner.
Video Explanation on Innings:
How Many Outs are There in An Inning?
A full inning will consist of six ‘outs’, three from each team, and there are many ways for a player to be caught out.
Different Types of Outs
A batter is out if the pitcher can throw three strikes, also known as being ‘struck out’. The pitcher aims for the ‘strike zone’ when they throw the ball. The strike zone is over the ‘home plate’, below the midpoint of the batter’s waist and shoulders, and above their knees. If the batter swings at a pitch but misses, this is also considered a strike.
A batter is ‘flied out’ when they hit the ball and, without the ball bouncing, a fielder catches it to stop the batter from achieving reaching a base.
A runner is forced out when the fielding side touches him with the ball whilst he isn’t standing on a base. This can also happen without touching the runner if the fielder touches the base while the runner is moving.
A batter must try to put the ball into play by hitting it in front of first or third base, known as inside the foul lines, and must run to first base without being tagged out. If the player is not at the base then he gets tagged out if anyone from the defensive team touches him, with the ball in hand.
Video Explanation on Outs:
The runner is Out of the Baseline
The Official Baseball Rules state that if a runner runs more than three feet away from his base (to avoid being tagged) then the runner is declared ‘out of the baseline’. The exception is if the runner is trying to avoid interference with a fielder who is fielding a batted ball.
Interference is when a runner or batter tried to change the course of a play. This rule is extremely extensive as it includes the following:
Steve Bartman Incident (Infamous Fan Interference):
Understanding the different rules surrounding baseball innings helps when trying to understand why some games may last longer than others. The innings in a baseball game can each last different lengths of time, depending on how long it takes to achieve three outs and not every game ends in the 9th inning.
How Many Innings are in Major League Baseball?
Generally, how many innings are in a baseball game depends on if extra innings are needed to determine a winner, however, the standard amount in MLB is nine innings. MLB extra innings rules state that innings must continue until a team has won.
How Does a Baseball Game End?
(a) The game ends when the visiting team completes its half of the ninth inning if the home team is ahead.
(b) The game ends when the ninth inning is completed if the visiting team is ahead.
(c) If the home team scores the winning run in its half of the ninth inning (or its half of an extra inning after a tie), the game ends immediately when the winning run is scored.
So when does a baseball game end? There is no definite time however the average time is around 3 hours.
How Many Innings Were in the Longest Game of Baseball?
The longest baseball game ever in MLB history consisted of 26 innings. In 1920, the Brooklyn Dodgers played against the Boston Red Sox, and the game ended at 1-1, although current rules state that no game can end in a tie.
Can Baseball Games End in the 7th Inning?
The innings in a game can end on 7th inning – it is up to the head umpire to determine if and when to stop the game. Some may be stopped temporarily for weather conditions, and sometimes extenuating circumstances may affect the game and it will be declared a ‘called game’, which means it will be stopped for the day.
How Long is a Baseball Game?
The longest MLB game recorded was 3 hours, 5 minutes, and 35 seconds. This game topped the previous record of the longest world series game by 24 seconds. In general, three hours is the average for a game.