Why Do Baseball Games Start at Odd Times? Here’s Reason

A. Coatess

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A. Coatess



Sean Hunter

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why do baseball games start at odd times

Baseball is also known for its pre-game routines. When it comes to baseball, it doesn’t always start at the same time every game. New baseball fans always wonder why there are a lot of festivities before the first pitch.

To answer your query, “why do baseball games start at odd times,” the most common reasons are pre-game rituals, broadcasting rules, after-work crowds, and other external factors. In this article, we’ll be going in-depth about the different reasons.

The Tradition of Baseball Start Times

Baseball is known to start at weird times for decades, and this tradition stems from the sport’s history. Listed below are some of the reasons why baseball games start weirdly.

1. Pregame Festivities


The most common reason why baseball game start times are not on the hour is because of pregame festivities. Before the game starts, the National Anthem is to be sung, the teams’ roster is announced, and the ceremonial first pitch is.

The National Anthem is always observed before the game commences. It’s derived from the tradition during the Second World War to honor those serving in the military. As time passed, it became a vital part of the event.

After the National Anthem, the players warm up to lessen the risk of injuries. Following this is the announcement of starter lineups. Spectators would like to know who will play in the game and who to root for.

And finally, the ceremonial first pitch. It is a longstanding tradition in baseball where a special guest throws the first pitch of the game to a member of the home team before the start of a match. The special guest is someone famous or influential.

2. Television Broadcasts


Baseball games starting at odd times can be attributed to television broadcasts as well. These broadcasts are a major source of revenue for the sport, and broadcasting companies pay substantial amounts of money for the rights to air games.

For example, a game may start at 03 instead of the usual 7:05 pm to allow for a longer pregame show or to fit better into the network’s programming schedule.

3. After-Work Crowd


The start time of first pitch is influenced by the after-work crowd, consisting of fans who attend games after work. Teams and stadiums aim to attract the most fans possible, and starting games late can be beneficial for both parties.

Baseball enthusiasts who want to watch the games are the ones who benefit the most from those extra 5-10 minutes of pregame activities. They need that extra time to transition from work to leisure. After all, they need to find their seats and buy some consumables.

4. Weather and field conditions


Several external factors can influence the MLB start times. Weather and field conditions are some of the significant factors, with games often delayed or postponed for the safety of players and fans.

For instance, a baseball game during heavy rain can be dangerous to the players and fans. Heavy rains can cause limited visibility, slippery fields, and tricky baseball. These hazards can cause serious injuries to all the people in the stadium.

5. Travel considerations for teams


Another external factor is the travel consideration for teams. Transportation concerns may also influence game start times, with teams requesting earlier or later starts to accommodate long travel distances or time zone changes.

The Role of Time Zones in Baseball Scheduling

Time zones play a vital part in scheduling baseball games, especially for teams in different regions of the country.

For instance, if a team from the East Coast is competing against a team from the West Coast, there is a three-hour time difference between the two areas.

This implies that a game that starts at 7:03 P.M. on the East Coast would begin at 4:03 P.M. on the West Coast, which could make it difficult for West Coast fans to attend or watch the game on TV.

To account for the impact of time zone differences, baseball schedules are created to minimize travel and maximize the opportunity for fans in various regions to watch games.

Pros and Cons of Starting at Odd Times


Commencing baseball games at unusual times has both advantages and disadvantages.

  • One of the benefits of odd start times is that they can increase viewership by attracting individuals who are unable to watch games during typical hours.
  • Also, starting games earlier can provide better weather conditions and create unique fan experiences.

However, there are also some cons to starting baseball games at odd times.

  • Fans may not be able to attend games during unconventional hours due to work or other commitments, which could lead to lower attendance and revenue for teams.
  • Starting games at odd times may pose challenges for people who come from far places, who may need to adjust their schedules to watch the game since television contracts direct what time the game starts.

Ways to Baseball Stacks Up to Other Sports

The start times of baseball games are often compared to other popular sports like the NFL and NBA. While NFL games also start on the hour, the NBA has later start times but does not list the tip-off time as the “first pitch” time like in baseball.

The reason for this is that NBA regional broadcasters have a set time for two media breaks before tip-off, allowing them to have commercials before the game. Baseball is lauded for its transparency by providing the exact time of the first pitch to its audience.

Ultimately, while other sports may have varying start times and different strategies for commercial breaks, baseball’s commitment to transparency gives fans a clear expectation of when the game will begin.

Baseball Traditions You Need to Know


In addition to the aforementioned customs, some other traditions in baseball are worth knowing:

  • Singing of ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ during the 7th-inning stretch
  • Acquiring bobbleheads
  • Appreciation of a great play, also known as Curtain Calls
  • Distinct pre-batting stances
  • The Observance of Jackie Robinson Day
  • The practice of returning a visiting team’s home run ball to the field.

These are only a handful of the numerous remarkable traditions that contribute to making baseball an exceptional sport.



Why do some baseball games start earlier than others?

The starting time of a baseball game varies from team to team, with some starting at 7:20 P.M. while others at 08:03 P.M. Clubs, television broadcasters, and promoters can decide when a game will commence.

Some reasons for delaying the game are the preparation of equipment and traffic. Traffic can cause less audience thus, less revenue.

How long does a baseball game usually last?

Major league baseball games typically last 3 hours. Because of this, many baseball fans criticize how long the game lasts. To address this issue, MLB executives have implemented different ways to shorten the length of games.

When does the MLB start?

The MLB season usually starts towards the end of March or the beginning of April, although the specific date changes every year. This year 2023, the MLB’s opening started on Thursday, March 30th.


Now that you know the answer to your question, “why do baseball games start at odd times,” you have learned the reason why these festivities occur and are now aware of the traditions most people don’t know.

Commencing baseball games at unconventional hours has become an essential component of the sport’s charisma and magnetism, increasing its attraction and placing a feeling of eagerness among spectators.

Although a few may perceive the timing as confusing or inconvenient, it has transformed into a cherished aspect of the overall baseball encounter.

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