The Seton Hall Sports Poll has found that current fans of baseball find the length of games more troubling than steroid issues.
The poll was conducted among 904 respondents October 28-30 with the World Series in progress, based on random phone calls to landlines and cellphones across the United States. (It has a 3.3% margin of error; 4.5% for current and lapsed fans, and 6.8% for only current fans).
31% of baseball fans said they were less interested in the sport because of the increase in the time it takes to play the game, while 25% said they were less interested because of the steroid scandals in baseball.
Among those who said they currently follow baseball, 26% said the increase in length of games had made them less interested in the sport, while only 15% said they were less interested because of baseball’s steroid scandals.
"Even in a year with big name steroid suspensions and the return of the unwelcome story to headlines, fans are more troubled by long games," noted Rick Gentile, director of the poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute.
With increased video replay coming next year to help decide close calls, 68% of all respondents feel that will further slow down the game - although the same number - 68% - agree with the implementation of the plan.
"This could turn out to be an issue of perception," said Gentile. "The use of replays will counterbalance the sometimes long arguments between managers and umpires that should now be eliminated."
On the question of length of games, the poll asked what respondents felt the main reason for the slowness was. "Too many television commercials" easily led the responses with 43%, - more than all other game related responses combined. 10% blamed batters, 10% blamed pitchers and 6% cited too many pitching changes.
By a margin of 60%- 33%, all respondents felt there should be one DH rule in the World Series, and by a margin of 34% -14%, respondents said that the two leagues employing different rules during the regular season was bad (vs. good) for baseball.
66% of respondents thought players who have been linked to performance enhancing drugs should not be allowed to be members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, with only 22% saying they should.
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