BY Yoon Chul
The average playing time of baseball games here have been reduced in the wake of new rules.
About a quarter of this season's games have been played so far, and the average duration of a game is three hours and four minutes, 14 minutes shorter than last season, the Korea Baseball Organization said Monday. Before this year, an average playing time in the Korean league was longer than those of Japan and the United States, which are tallied at two hours and 52 minutes and three hours and 13 minutes, respectively.
Starting this season, the KBO adopted the ``12-second rule,'' which requires a pitch to be thrown within 12 seconds when there is no runner on base. Violation of the regulation leads to an additional ball to the batter's count.
So far this season, a total of 28 warnings have been issued to pitchers but no actual violations have taken place. No cases have been reported for intentional delays with runners on base either.
In addition, the KBO also widened the strike zone and cut down on the time spent maintaining the field within a game.
Eliminating this time is also proving to be effective for faster game times. From this season the field maintenance will take place after the second, fifth and seventh innings, with the previous long break after the fifth inning abolished.
The widen strike zone also help make games go quicker, according to the KBO, as the extended zone makes hitters be more aggressive at bat.
Among the league teams, the Samsung Lions and Lotte Giants finish their matches in the shortest time with an average of two hours and 58 minutes and two hours and 59 minutes respectively, while the LG Twins and the Doosan Bears take the longest time to complete their games, in three hours and nine minutes.
Overall playing time, however, is expected to take a little bit longer as the season proceeds and the competition intensifies, the KBO predicted.