Friday night in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, it became apparent pretty early that Yasiel Puig was going to be the story, at least among the cognoscenti. I learned that on Twitter.
Saturday night in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, it became apparent pretty early that ... well, you can figure it out. These all popped in the very first inning ...
According to the analytics department here at MLB .com (@Lundy330), Clay Buchholz took 38 seconds in between those last 2 pitches.— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) October 20, 2013
That was the longest baseball game I've ever watched and now it's time for the bottom of the first okay whatever.— Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) October 20, 2013
That was a scoreless half-inning with one baserunner and 22 pitches, and it took 16 minutes, 42 seconds. Big, big problem for casual viewers— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 20, 2013
That's just a tiny (but representative!) sampling!
Let's first acknowledge that, yes, Buchholz was ridiculously slow with a runner aboard. Next, let's allow for the distinct possibility that Major League Baseball doesn't give a tinker's damn about casual viewers. For the simple reason that there aren't enough casual viewers to give a tinker's damn about.
There are two sorts of people watching a League Championship Series game: fans of the Tigers or Red Sox, and diehard baseball fans. And this is why baseball doesn't really care much about four-hour games and 38 seconds between pitches. Tigers fans and Red Sox fans aren't turning the game off, and I'll bet you're not turning it off, either. Which accounts for 95 percent of the people watching.
Granted, there are always some casual viewers, and baseball should try to turn them into diehard fans. But it's never going to be a priority, because the numbers are small, the rewards temporally distant.