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How Long Are Washington Nationals Games?

How Long Are Washington Nationals Games?

How Long Are Washington Nationals Games?

Baseball may be thought of as one of the more complicated sports in America. However, the rules of the sport are generally quite simple and straightforward. Nonetheless, baseball, unlike other popular sports such as basketball, soccer, hockey, and football, has no set time limit.

This means that, theoretically, a baseball game could last as little as half an hour to as long as eight hours. However, generally, most baseball games start and end within a similar amount of time.

But if you are wondering just how long a Washington Nationals game is, then you’ve come to the right spot. Below, we will take a look at how long a Washington Nationals game is and what you can expect when you go to a Nationals game at Nationals Park.

Attending a Washington Nationals game? Find out what to wear to Nationals Park!

How Long Are Washington Nationals Games?

Things to do Around Nationals Park

Let’s be honest, Nationals Park, alongside the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, D.C, has a plethora of options and things to do both before and after a Washington Nationals game. 

And whether you’re getting to Nationals Park by foot, taxi, or the subway, you’ll have plenty of options for food, drink, and entertainment.

  • The Bullpen – a mere few steps away from Nationals Park, The Bullpen is the original home base for Nationals fans. With prime real estate, The Bullpen is one of the most sought-after attractions for thousands of fans before, during, and after a game. Stop in for live music, food trucks, and cold drinks with free admission and celebrate with other Nationals fans, win-or-lose.
  • Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History – if you’re going to be in the Washington D.C. area, a stop to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is a must. Located on the National Mall, it has free admission and is open 364 days a year. With over 7.1 million visitors, it is the eleventh most visited museum in the world and has a collection of over 145 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, and human remains and cultural artifacts.
  • Library of Congress – sticking with the D.C. theme, visiting the Library of Congress is another must-do. A research library that serves as the official library of the United States Congress and the de facto national library of the United States, the Library of Congress is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States and is one of the largest libraries in the world.
  • The Salt Line – The Salt Line is one of our favorite restaurants in D.C. and a must-stop every time we’re in the area. With a riverside patio, you’ll be able to indulge in New England favorites and Chesapeake dishes at this nautical seafood house.

How Many Innings Are in a Baseball Game?

Unlike basketball, football, soccer, or hockey, which are governed by individual time limits by quarter, half, or periods, baseball is divided into innings. And, in order for an inning to be completed, there must be six total outs with each team being afforded three outs before the end of an inning half.

The completion of an inning is determined when six total outs have been completed against both teams combined.

However, there are a few different ways a team can accrue an out against the opposing team.

  • A batter strikes out, wherein they attempt to hit the ball but are unable to, in three separate chances
  • The batter flies out, wherein they strike the ball but it is caught before landing on the field
  • The batter is tagged out, wherein they are touched by an opponent who has the ball in hand and while they are not safely standing on a base

In terms of innings played, it is dependent on the level of play and individual league to determine the total number of innings. However, below’s table, speaks to the general number of innings you can expect per baseball game.

League LevelNumber of InningsAverage Time
MLB93 hours
Minor League93 hours
College Baseball Games9 or 73 hours
High School Baseball Games72 hours
Youth Baseball Games5 or 61-1.5 hours

Why do Baseball Games Take So Long?

While there is no official time limit in a baseball or MLB game, the MLB has steps in recent years to shorten the overall length of their games. In addition, the MLB has instituted rules to quicken the pace of the game, including MLB Rule 8.04, which states:

When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call ‘Ball.’ The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball. The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.”

However, many umpires do not enforce this rule and allow pitchers to take as much time as they need between pitches.

Below, we’ve listed a few additional reasons why MLB games take so long.

  • Time between pitches – perhaps the greatest reason why MLB games take so long is that pitchers take, on average, 40-seconds between pitches. And with 146 pitches thrown per game, these seconds can add up quickly
  • Errors in baseball – when an error occurs, that is when a fielder misplays the ball, it adds more time to the one play and delays the completion of the game.
  • Umpire reviews – similarly, the MLB utilizes instant replay reviews to allow for league officials to review certain types of plays in order to determine the accuracy of the initial call of the umpires on the field. These reviews take several minutes and take away from the time spent on the game.
  • Pitcher warmups – in addition, when taking their position at the beginning of an inning or when relieving another pitcher, pitchers are permitted to throw as many warmup pitches as they want within the countdown parameters set forth by Major League Baseball.
  • Commercials – similarly, the MLB and its network broadcasters have begun to implement more commercial breaks between innings. These commercial breaks add several minutes to the game between innings and lengthen the overall time that a game is played.

How Long Are Nationals Games?

While baseball technically has no time limit, each team tends to play at their own pace and style. And for the Washington Nationals, the average game length ranges from 2.5 hours to over 4 hours. However, looking at the average, most Nationals games take just over 3-hours to complete.

In referencing the above mentioned average game length for the Washington Nationals, and utilizing data for the 2021 MLB season, we can see that the average length of a Nationals game was 3-hours 13-minutes and 0-seconds.