How Long Does a Cubs Game Last? (Answered In Detail)

For outsiders, baseball games sometimes seem to drag on forever.

However, for true enthusiasts, that’s exactly the beauty of the game.

The baseball format provides plenty of room for the subtle mind-games between rivaling managers and allows for the gradual buildup of tension which is one of the main draws of the sport.

Still, the varying length of a game can bring some practical issues.

In most cases, you have to organize your whole daily routine around the game, especially if you plan to attend it in person.

No one knows this better than the Cubs fans, as getting to Wrigley Field can take half of your day even before the game itself starts.

So, having at least some idea of the length of the game is important.

Below, I’ll look into how long the does a Cubs game last and what may prolong or reduce overall game time.

How Long Does a Cubs Game Last?

With no clock in baseball, it’s practically impossible to answer this question precisely. Cubs games, just like any other pro ballgames, last for 9 innings.

However, unlike periods in some other sports, innings don’t have a fixed time limit. Plus, if the score is tied after the ninth, teams play extra innings until the winner is decided.

This means that in theory, a game can last forever.

Of course, that’s not the case in reality, although there are examples of games lasting more than 20 innings.

While it’s difficult to determine the exact length of an MLB game, most of them do last for a similar amount of time, a bit over three hours.

You can get some idea about how much time you’ll need to set aside for a Cubs game by looking into their average game time which for the 2021 season was 3 hours and 16 minutes.

Factors That Can Determine Game Time

The Cubs celebrate after winning the 2016 World Series..
The Cubs celebrate after winning the 2016 World Series. by Arturo Pardavila III (CC BY 2.0)

The pace of play is one of the most common subjects of debate in baseball circles.

The league, as well as many experts, executives, and some fans, want the game to be played at a much faster pace.

However, there are plenty of small actions and minor delays that occur during the game, and all of them add to its overall length.

While fans generally don’t mind long games when there’s more or less constant action, various pointless delays can easily become quite annoying.

Below are some of the factors that have a significant influence on the length of a pro ballgame.

Pitchers and Pitching Changes

The pitcher, more than any other players on the field, have a say in how long the game will last. Their style is often the main factor deciding the pace of play at a certain game.

Some of them prefer to fire up quick pitches to the batters while others are more comfortable taking time between each pitch and slowly working the opposing hitters.

In addition, the time between pitches typically increases near the end of close games.

Pitching changes also play a role here. An MLB team commonly does between 3 and 5 pitching changes per game.

Each of those changes stops the action and adds to game time.

Usually, the manager will go to the mound and wait for the umpire to head out, and only then will the relief pitch slowly head from the bullpen to take the position at the mound.

Batter’s Calling a Time Out

Batters can also slow down the pace of play, usually by calling for time which they can do at any point before the pitch.

Plus, similar to pitchers, they can also use more time between the pitches getting ready for the next throw.

Some batters and pitchers with especially long routines between the pitches have earned themselves the nickname “the human rain delay.”


Another factor that can prolong a baseball game is the weather.

The rain delays are the best example of this. While they don’t count towards the official game time, rain delays can significantly influence the overall length of the game or even extend it to the next day.

The direction and speed of the wind can also speed up or slow down the game.

Depending on which way and how strong the wind blows, the game may feature more or less base hits and home runs.

Even though they certainly add to the excitement, with each player getting on the base, the inning will take a bit more time to finish.

What is the Longest Game in Cubs History?

As Cubs is one of the oldest franchises in the MLB, their fans have seen their share of extremely long games.

The longest one took place at the Wrigley Field on July 30, 2014, as the Cubs beat the Rockies 4-3.

The total game time clocked at 6 hours and 27 minutes, making it the longest game in Cubs history.

The two teams battled each other for 16 innings from 7:07 p.m. Tuesday, until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The Cubs game with the most innings, and the second-longest by time, took place on August 18, 1982.

The Cubs and the Dodgers played for 21 innings before the Dodgers earned a 2-1 victory.

The total game time of 6 hours and 10 minutes spanned over two days after the play was suspended due to darkness at the end of the 17th inning on the first day.


For true baseball enthusiasts who savor every moment of a ballgame, the length of a game isn’t much of an issue.

However, with our modern tempo of living, setting aside three hours to watch baseball almost every day can be too much of an ask.

This can be a particular problem with games played in stadiums in crowded urban areas, such as Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Getting there and going back home after the game usually means that your whole day is occupied by baseball.

While die-hard fans certainly won’t complain, it’s still a problem for many.

Especially for those who like to get to the stadium earlier and watch batting practice and enjoy other pre-game activities.

To deal with this issue, the league is constantly trying to find ways to speed up the pace of play, but with very little success so far.

Paul Hall
Paul Hall

Hello, I’m Paul, a 45 year old passionate baseball fan and the owner of this website. I hope my article could help to answer your questions.

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