Unlike most other sports where the game is measured by time, baseball does not run by any measurable time. Instead, baseball is a popular sport that includes innings. The played innings can impact the length of the game.
That is why there is an existence of the MLB extra innings. The length of the baseball game can vary depending on the events that occur during the match. So, how many innings are there in a baseball game, and how long is a baseball game played? In this article, we are going to unravel all these questions along with related details. So, let’s dive deeper into the innings of baseball without any delay.
What Are The Innings In The Baseball Game?
To play most of the games, there is a need for two teams. In baseball games, there are also two teams, each having nine innings. Each team of the game attempts their best to score runs.
During the baseball inning, a batting team player will be chosen to bat, who will be called an “at-bat.” On the other hand, the pitching team will be out on the ground with their nine players for fielding. The pitching team aims to make an effort to stop the batsman from scoring.
The inning will continue as long as all the three batsmen do not get “out.” However, if there is a tie on the scoreboard at the end of all nine innings, the baseball game will resume into extra innings until a team surpasses the other one.
How Long Can A Baseball Inning Be?
The duration of an innings in the baseball game relies on the number of at-bats, changes in pitching, along with the speed of the pitcher. An inning will perhaps last for six outs when associated with three from each team. Hypothetically, an inning will continue indefinitely only if the fielding team fails to register three outs.
The innings is divided into two halves. In the top half of the innings, the away team gets the chance to bat, and the home team bats during the bottom half. During the end of nine innings of an MLB game, if the score of the two teams remains tied, the game continues with extra innings until one team attains more score than the other one.
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How Long Can A Baseball Game Overall Continue?
Usually, the length of the baseball game lasts nearly three hours. However, it can vary depending upon the number of innings played. Apart from that, there are some other factors too that can interfere with the baseball game.
In short, a baseball game consists of nine innings that can last for three hours on average. There is no fixed time limit on the innings. Besides, some don’t even make it to the last ninth inning.
How Do the Innings Work?
Innings are split into two halves, referred to as half innings. The first half of the inning is called “the top of the inning,” while the second half is called “the bottom of the inning.” In each half of the innings, a team gets to be “at-bat” while the other team is out fielding.
After an inning is over, both the team switch their roles on the ground. The fielding team gets to bat and vice versa. Moreover, a team can make scores only when they are batting and not during fielding. Half of the innings end as soon as the fielding team records all three outs.
One thing is to note that every baseball team has one home team and one away team unless they play on neutral ground. In that situation, both the teams will be considered away teams, and the home team will get designation by mutual agreement. The rule of the baseball game is to give the away team the first chance to bat while the home team does the fielding.
Various Types of Baseball Innings
The innings in a baseball game contains five different types.
Top of the Inning
The first part of an inning is known as the top of the inning or simply the top half. The away team plays the top of the inning while the home team is out fielding. When the fielding team outs the three batters, the top of the inning gets over.
Middle of the Inning
The middle of the inning works as a transition period between the top of the inning and the bottom of the inning. During this inning, players make a change in their gear, such as gloves and hats, and prepare to swap over to the field.
Mainly the catchers go through a tough time if left stranded on the base. This is because they have to be fast in getting back to the dugout and wear protective gear. Anyway, the middle of the inning lasts for two to three minutes.
Bottom of the Inning
After the middle of the inning that gives time to both the teams to get ready, the home team takes the batting position. This is the second part of the inning, called the bottom of the inning or just the bottom half. In the bottom half, the away team fields and attempts to stop the home team from scoring runs.
When the three batters are made out, the bottom-half gets over. Hitting at the bottom half of every inning proves advantageous for the home team. The home team gets the final opportunity to score runs before the end of the game.
Mostly, the 9th inning is the last or final inning of the baseball game. There occur some situations where the bottom half of the 9th inning isn’t played before all the three outs take place.
According to the rules of the 9th inning in baseball, the game will be over:
- if the home team takes the lead at the end of the top of the 9th inning
- if the away team takes the lead at the bottom half of the 9th inning after recording three outs
At the end of the 9th inning, if the scoreboard shows a tie, both teams will get to play extra innings until there is a sole winner. In baseball, both teams are allowed to be at-bat during their respective half-innings to score runs.
How Many Outs Are Possible In Each Inning?
A full inning consists of six outs, dividing three from each team. There are different types of “out,” including a strikeout, flyout, force out, and tagged out.
Interference occurs if a batter or a runner tries to alter the course of the game. This rule is quite broad and includes:
- Verbal interference
- Offensive interference
- Catcher’s interference
- Umpire’s interference
- Spectator interference
Baseball is a game of nine innings that gets split into two halves. Understanding the rules of baseball innings can help to know why some of the games last longer than the other games.
The length of the baseball innings can be different. It depends on the time taken to make three outs. Plus, not every game gets over in their 9th inning. Some games can be over in either the top-half or bottom-half of the 9th inning. In case of a tie, the teams play extra innings to decide the winner.
James Anderson loves sports and writes about them. He is a sports ethicist who has studied ethical issues in sport for over 20 years. James is also an avid runner, cyclist, and skier.
Words from the Author:
‘’I have been writing about sports for over 20 years, and I am a sports ethicist by trade. My work has always focused on the ethical dimensions of sport, and I have studied it in depth both academically and practically. In addition to being an avid runner, cyclist, and skier myself, I love all types of athletics from baseball to gymnastics.’’