Tune in at any given point in a baseball game, and there is a very good chance you are going to see people standing around doing nothing. That's because an average three-hour baseball game contains roughly 18 minutes of actual action, at least according to an unscientific Wall Street Journal stopwatch experiment. The Journal watched three games with a stopwatch in hand, clocking in everything that could remotely be considered action—including every pitch and even things like fake pickoff throws and home run trots.
What's happening for the other 90% of the game? Well nearly half of the time (1:14:49 on average) is down-time between pitches, with another 33:39 ticking by between batters and 42:41 elapsing between innings. But hey, baseball is still beating out football; in 2010, the Journal clocked an average of 11 minutes of action per NFL game. And some people enjoy the slow pace; the New York Times today has a feature on those few, dedicated fans who still score games the old fashioned way.