Baseball Games ‘Feel’ Faster with Limited Visits to the Mound (2 to1), But Length of Game, Drugs, Declining Interest, Big Market Advantage Are Still Problems for Baseball

South Orange, NJ, May 1, 2018 — By a 2-1 margin, and In the first measurement of “speed-up” rule changes initiated this year by Major League Baseball, 46% of Americans believe that these changes, especially limiting visits to the mound, will make the game feel like it’s going faster. Only 24% said it would not feel faster, (31% had no opinion).

The Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted last week after three weeks of this season had concluded, presented a positive endorsement for MLB of its changes.

The Poll was conducted by landline and cell phone at 736 adults across the country, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.

The poll showed 53% saying games took too long, with 40% disagreeing. When the same question was asked by the Seton Hall Sports Poll in 2011, only 44% said the games took too long, with 51% disagreeing.

“The balance has shifted,” noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by the Stillman School of Business and its Sharkey Institute. “More fans now believe the games are too long, but MLB should be pleased to see that about half the people at least ‘feel’ they are faster paced.”

The “feel” of the games having a faster pace was important to officials at MLB during the winter, when the changes were approved.

By 3 to 1, a rule that was implemented only on the minor league level was soundly booed by respondents. The minors are experimenting with allowing a runner to be stationed at second base to start an extra inning, but only 20% said they favored that at the Major League level, and 60% disdained it.

Baseball still has at least a perception problem when it comes to performance enhancing drugs, with 39% saying they believe the problem still exists, with 31% disagreeing.

Asked if big market clubs have an advantage in acquiring the best free agent players, 80% said yes, compared to 84% when the poll asked the same question seven years ago.

The poll asked whether there are not enough African-American players in the Major Leagues, a question that was also asked in 2011. Attitudes have shifted over seven years:

There are not enough African-American Players in the Major Leagues

Agree Disagree No Opinion
2018 32 39 29
2011 18 62 14

Among white respondents this year, 27% felt there were not enough; while 43% disagreed. Among African-American respondents, 61% agreed while only 19% disagreed.

By a 4-1 Margin, Ages 18-29 Say They Are Less Interested in Baseball

Asked whether they were more interested, less interested, or “about the same” regarding interest in baseball, by a 4-1 margin, those ages 18-29 said they were less interested in the game. 23% of that age group said they were less interested, and only 5% said they were more interested.

As an aggregate, 13% of total respondents said they were more interested, 21% said less and 60% said their interest was about the same as in the past. Broken down by gender, 15% of women said they were more interested, and 15% said less. But 11% of men were more interested vs. 27% less interested.

In 2011, the aggregate poll found 17% more interested, 18% less interested, 58% about the same.

More interested, less interested or interest in baseball about the same:


More interested           Less Interested        About the Same

2018                            13                                21                                60

2011                            17                                18                                58


“The numbers are not shifting in a positive way for baseball,” said Gentile.

The Official Seton Hall Sports Poll podcast discussing this topic with Seth Everett and Rick Gentile can be found at


One of the country’s leading Catholic universities, Seton Hall University has been a catalyst for leadership — developing students in mind, heart and spirit — since 1856. Home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offering more than 90 academic programs, Seton Hall’s academic excellence has been singled out for distinction by The Princeton Review, U.S.News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Seton Hall, which embraces students of all religions, prepares its graduates to be exemplary servant leaders and global citizens. Its attractive main campus is located in suburban South Orange, New Jersey, and is only 14 miles by train, bus or car from New York City, offering a wealth of employment, internship, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The university’s nationally recognized School of Law is prominently located in downtown Newark.

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About the poll:

This poll was conducted by telephone April 23-25 among 736 adults in the United States. The Seton Hall Sports Poll is conducted by the Sharkey Institute, with cell phone interviewing provided by Braun Research.

Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard landline and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Seton Hall Sports Poll has been conducted regularly since 2006.

Media: Media: Marty Appel,;
Michael Ricciardelli, Associate Director of Media Relations, Seton Hall, 908-447-3034

The results:


With regard to your interest in baseball, are you more interested, less interested or is your interest in baseball about the same as in the past?

More interested       13

Less interested       21

About the same       60

Don’t know       2

  1. I’m going to make some statements about baseball. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the statement: The games take too long.

Agree       53

Disagree       40

Don’t know/No opinion       8


  1. Big market teams have a better chance of acquiring the best free agents than smaller market teams

Agree       80

Disagree       7

Don’t know/No opinion       13

  1. There are not enough African American players

Agree                   32 (w-27%, A-A 61%)

Disagree       39 (w-43%, A-A 19%)

Don’t know/No opinion       29 (w-30%, A-A 21%)


  1. Too many players use performance enhancing drugs

Agree       39

Disagree       31

Don’t know/No opinion       30

6. Do you think changes to the rules of baseball this year — particularly limits on visits to the pitcher’s mound — will make the game feel like it’s going faster?

Yes       46

No       24

Don’t know/No opinion       31


  1. The minor leagues are experimenting with starting each extra inning with a runner on second base. Would you like to see this rule implemented in the major leagues?

Yes       20

No       60

Don’t know/No opinion       20

8. More home runs were hit in the major leagues last year than ever before. If home run numbers significantly declined would your interest in baseball increase, decrease or remain the same?

Increase       4

Decrease       12

Remain the same       76

Don’t know/No opinion       8


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