Unlike other sports, baseball isn’t measured through an exact time duration – but through the numner of innings.
To be exact, in a proffesional baseball game, there will be 9 innings. Of course, this number can be reduced or prolonged depending on the game’s circumstances.
So, how long is an inning in baseball?
There is no official time limit on when an inning lasts, but on average, each inning in baseball can last up to 20-30 minutes. This takes into consideration all kinds of delays in a game.
How Long Does an Inning Last?
As an overview, there are 9 innings in baseball, and in each half of an inning, both teams take turns in fielding and making runs. There can only be three outs made per half of the inning before the opposite team takes their time at bat.
A match consisting of 9 innings takes more or less 3 hours to complete. Depending on the game’s situation, the duration can be shorter or longer.
The average length of an inning falls within 20 minutes to 30 minutes at most, all things considered. There’s no fixed time for an inning, as each game’s conditions vary.
Difference of Inning Duration Between Different Leagues and Level of Play
1. Major League Baseball
The average game duration in the MLB is 3 hours, with each inning lasting up to 16-18 minutes. However, there has been a recent presence of a pitch clock that prevents the game from prolonging and reaching the 3-hour mark.
Since the implementation of the pitch clock, there has been a reduction in game duration with new rules coming in. The game duration went from 3 hours in 2022 to 2 hours in 2023.
2. Minor League Baseball
Typically, the total duration of Minor League Baseball games, especially in the Triple-A and Double-A leagues, is similar to that in the MLB. They last for 2 hours to a maximum of 3 hours.
Roughly, the duration per inning also lasts up to 20 minutes.
3. College Baseball
College baseball follows the same standard number of innings as the MLB, which is 9 innings. How many minutes does an inning in college baseball last?
Each inning in college baseball lasts for 20 minutes, with the overall game played for less than 3 hours.
4. High School Baseball
The duration of baseball games at the high school level is significantly shorter than at the college and professional levels. In high school, there are only a total of seven innings.
Further, the overall duration of the game is 2 hours, with each inning lasting 20 minutes.
5. Youth Baseball
This level of baseball has the shortest duration out of all the leagues mentioned previously. This only lasts for six innings, designed not to strain the energy of the youth playing the sport.
With shortened innings, a youth baseball game lasts for only 2 hours with more or less than 20 minutes per inning.
Factors Influencing Inning Duration
Fans can bet on their teams to win a baseball game. However, what they can’t do is guess the exact time of how long an inning can go.
In this part, we’ll tell you how exciting plays, changes in pitching strategies, and timeouts & other delays in a match can all affect an inning’s duration.
- Exciting plays
Two of the most exciting plays to happen in baseball are home runs and stealing bases. These events can be a real nail-biter to the fans and players alike, however, these could cause a significant drag to a baseball inning’s time while players try to figure out the plays that unfold.
- Changes in pitching strategies and performance
Ddifferent types of pitching are occasionally tried by coaches at different points of the game.
While this tactic is a huge game-changer, it could also add significant minutes to the inning duration since it will take time for the relief pitchers to establish their rhythm.
For an example, if there is no hit, half an inning can last 3 – 5 minutes only. However, when pitcher does not play well, resulting in many walks, then half an inning might last 20 – 30 minutes.
- Timeouts and other delays
Ttimeouts are non-negotiable in baseball but inarguably, they could be dragging to an inning’s duration. If you add weather and technical delays to the mix, it’ll surely be a long game. Although these are interruptions to a match, they are crucial in maintaining its integrity.
The Longest and Shortest Innings in Baseball History
- Shortest innings
The shortest inning duration in all MLB history happened on September 28, 1919, when the New York Giants took down the Phillies within 51 minutes, that’s only over 5 minutes each inning.
This record was more of an agreement between the two teams rather than being a fairly unpredictable match. The Giants and Phillies agreed to end the game early so they could wrap up the season and break the record for the shortest innings in the MLB.
- Longest innings
The longest inning was 68 minutes, which is the 5th inning of the game between Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers in 2004.
On the other hand, the longest game had to be played for over 8 hours and six minutes, lasting from May 8 1984, until the next day. This record was achieved by the Chicago White Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers upon playing 25 innings in a duel against each other — the longest half-inning in MLB History also happened in this match.
Further, the longest number of innings in the MLB happened in 1920 in a match between the Braves and the Robins. The game lasted for almost 4 hours and was played for 26 innings.
More than baseball being an untimed sport, it’s also unpredictable how long each match will last. All thanks to the players and coaches for making sure each game stays exciting by formulating gameplays that are moments to see for the fans.
If you’re still confused about how long is an inning in baseball, it takes 20-30 minutes for each inning, but it can always go shorter and longer than that.
Indeed, this sport is full of surprises – and that’s the beauty of it. Thank you for reading!
A powerful swing and the ball is flying across the field, just one hit, and we might never forget the thrill it brings. I do not know about you, but I never do. Every baseball game is the chance to compete with others and cooperate with your teammate. It is among my biggest passions.