ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays manager Joe Maddon doesn't mind all the long games his team has been playing.
It was Saturday afternoon, the day after a 1-0 game that was scoreless until Cole Figueroa's pinch-hit, walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning -- but still lasted almost 3 1/2 hours.
"I didn't know it was three hours -- I swear to God, I didn't even know that," Maddon said. "And I know that time of the game has become a huge issue right now. And as a kid, listening to a game or watching a game or attending a game, I wished it was three hours every time, 3 1/2 hours -- so I'm the wrong guy to talk to about length of the game."
Tampa Bay's average time for a nine-inning game this season has been three hours, 18 minutes, which is the longest average time in the Major Leagues. The average time for a nine-inning Major League game is three hours, two minutes.
"There's so much emphasis being placed on it, but I'm telling you, as an aficionado, the longer the game was, extra innings, I was all for it," Maddon said.
"If you were able to watch games back in the day on [the] MLB package, on an iPad, or whatever, oh my God -- I would've never went to sleep. It's like, honestly, I don't know what the big fuss is about, watching the game."
He also said he thinks the fan reaction to the long game times has been overplayed or partially manufactured.
"I don't know that the fans are really as annoyed as everybody thinks they are," Maddon said. "I think they're being taught to be annoyed by length of the game. I mean, there's always this ability to insinuate and then all of a sudden, people believe certain things. For me, i have no problem with the length of the game -- none."
Five of the Rays' 49 games have gone at least four hours, 19 have lasted at least 3 1/2 hours and 37 have taken at least three hours.
For Maddon, though, that just means he gets to spend more time at the ballpark, and that everybody has more time to appreciate the beauty of the game.
"It's the silence between the notes that creates the music, man," Maddon said, wagging his finger emphatically. "It's the silence between the notes that creates the music."
"So if you don't like music," he joked, "maybe that's your problem."
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.