Your opinion on 5:10 PM start times for baseball

Almost every home Saturday Arizona Diamondbacks game this year starts at 5:10 PM Arizona time. I’m trying to figure out why they picked such a strange start time. The ballpark has a retractable roof, so weather isn’t the reason. There’s always another game on Sunday, so the opposing team isn’t hopping a cross country flight right after the game. Even with a start time a couple hours earlier than the normal 7:00 PM start time for a night game, I still think clubs will rest some players on the Sunday day game after the night game.

Does it increase concession sales? I guess this start time might as the game will take place over dinner time.

Does it benefit some of the bars in the area? I guess it would as the game is over, but there’s still time to stop off for a cold one after the game. Many people use the light rail to get to the ballpark and the light rail is jammed right after the game.

I guess it makes it easier for really young children to attend the game as the game is likely over before they’re really tired.

For me, it isn’t a huge deal. I live fairly close to the light rail, so I can walk there in decent weather. I’d prefer to get there around 3:30 or so, visit one of the bars in the area and then hit the game. That leaves the early part of Saturday afternoon for errands or hiking.

If the Diamondbacks were likely to have a lot of nationally televised games I’d say it’s to have the game start at 3:10 PM Eastern.

Edit: Wait, I got that totally backwards. 7:10 PM Eastern.

This. There’s a push among some baseball pundits to get teams to start games earlier so kids can actually watch the whole game.

It’s great to see the Diamondbacks actually do it.

If they were going to be televised nationally, they’d start earlier. Fox has the national Saturday afternoon contract. So, for Fox to get a 1pm Eastern start, the game would have to start at 10 AM Arizona time.

No worry about that though. The only acceptable Fox teams are the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Phillies, Mets, and perhaps the Cardinals.

So the east coast Sunday newspapers can get the game results in the Sunday edition?

No kidding, though that’s not exactly a new phenomenon. When I was a kid in the late 70s, it seemed like the NBC “Baseball Game of the Week” was Red Sox / Yankees about every other week. As a midwesterner who hates the Yankees, and doesn’t care much for the Red Sox, either, it gets tiresome, quickly.

Actually, I thought of another reason. Starting Saturday night games that early allows time for a post game concert I don’t see any listed on the promo calendar yet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be added later.

I don’t have an explanation, but I wish more teams would do this. I’m a Yankee fan and spent a few years living in San Diego. I loved getting home at 4ish cracking open a beer and turning on the game. It was the perfect way to unwind and lasted just long enough to not interfere with anything I had planned for the night.

Most likely it is for kids. There are a lot of people who are not happy the World Series is pretty much all night games now since it limits the kids who can watch it.


I think I will email the team tomorrow and ask them if there is an official reason. I did think of one more. The Suns arena is right next to the baseball stadium, so perhaps the D-backs and the city were trying to spread out the traffic on Saturday nights. The Suns will be in the NBA playoffs and have the potential to go fairly far. I’m not sure how many concerts or other events the arena holds after basketball is over, but I’m sure there are quite a few.

Here on the West Coast (and in Seattle Mariner territory, no less), it’s Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels (aka the West Coast Yankees).


5:10 gives the networks 10 minutes of commercials and lead-in after the 5:00 programming switchover.

ETA: Sorry, I guess I read the question wrong - you’re asking why 5:00 instead of the more traditional 7:00. In that case, I guess the mgt. wants to draw more families to the ballpark on Saturday.

Last season, Chicago White Sox games started at 7:11, as part of a sponsorship deal with 7-Eleven. Looks like the sponsorship ended, as their start time has gone back to 7:10 this year.

If you start the game at 5:00, people will tend to eat dinner at the park. If the game starts at 7:00, people will eat elsewhere prior to the game. Just a thought.

(Although what kind of un-American sob goes to a baseball game and does not have a hot dog and peanuts.)

I would guess the goal is to make it more family friendly first and foremost, however one other potential reason is for commuting. I’m not sure what Phoenix is like on Saturdays but a 5:10 start probably gets the traffic moving prior to any weekend rush hours and an earlier finish would mean that people could use any mass transit options that might cease operations early on weekends.

TV would prefer the Red Sox and Yankees play all 162 games vs. each other.

For some times and some locations, the sun could be blinding. It would be low and make it hard to see pitches or fly balls.

The Giants play their Saturday night games at 6, which I actually like a lot. Having that 9-10 hour after the game makes it a lot easier to go out and do something after the game.

I do find the 5pm start pretty interesting. How many people can actually make a 5:10 start after work? I could probably make it, but only because I’m off at 4:30 (earlier than most), and my work has a shuttle from my office door to transit. Without that shuttle, there’d be no way I could make it. 6pm seems like a much better option during the week (aside from Dodger Stadium, because who shows up to a Dodger game on time?).

Also, it’s good that ESPN is showing Tim Lincecum’s start but kind of annoying that all us San Franciscans will be at work when the game starts.