Yahoo's Jeff Passan wrote an excellent story on how Mark Buehrle continues to successfully go against the grain of baseball, and in it one quote stuck out:
"You see guys get in the batter's box," Buehrle says. "They listen to their song for 20 minutes. They don't swing the bat and they have to step out and tighten their batting gloves and do their stuff. I don't like sitting on the bench for a four-hour game when I'm not pitching, I'll tell you that much. When you're sitting there in between your start, looking at the scoreboard, looking at the clock, saying, 'Holy [expletive], this is ridiculous.' I know how fans feel."
Buehrle's former team is contributing to the slower-paced and longer nature of games, too.
Jim Margalus of South Side Sox looked at the numbers, and through April White Sox games average the third-longest in the majors. There's a handy graph in the article that shows how long White Sox games have averaged since 1947, and it's probably not a coincidence that the White Sox didn't average over three hours per game from 2001-2011 -- when Buehrle headlined the team's starting rotation.
This year's been a perfect storm for longer games, though. Not only are White Sox pitchers averaging more walks than any team in baseball (4.50/9 IP), but many of their hitters are consistently putting together good, drawn-out at-bats.
Three regulars (Adam Dunn, Marcus Semien and Adam Eaton) are averaging more than four pitches per at-bat, which ranks them among the top 40 in baseball in that category. The Sox are in the middle of the pack in baseball with an 8.2 percent walk rate, though are third with a .764 team OPS. Free swingers Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo lead baseball in batting average, while Jose Abreu's racked up 19 extra-base hits -- so while their at-bats may be short, they're getting on base and doing an awful lot of damage.
This isn't to say the White Sox are playing boring baseball, though. After all, their game a week ago lasted four hours and four minutes...and ended on Abreu's walk-off grand slam.