Thursday, April 8, 2010

Good Ol' Cowboy Joe West

I went to my first baseball game of the year last Saturday. Granted it was only an exhibition between the Phils and Pirates, but pitches were thrown and uniforms got dirty, so it counts for something. As they are wont to do in exhibitions, both managers emptied out their benches and bullpens. The game never really got into a flow and it lasted a solid three hours. Coming off college basketball season and being spoiled by the beauty of a two hour game, I was worn out by the ninth inning. I'm out of baseball watching shape and I admit that three hours of exhibition was pushing my attention span.

I don't know how Yankees and Red Sox fans do it. Their first three games, respectively, lasted 3:46, 3:48, and 3:21. And finally, FINALLY, someone in a position of power has called them on it. Joe West, crew chief for that series, exhorted both teams to pick up the pace. Not holding back, he said, "It's pathetic and embarrassing" and called the pace of their games "a disgrace to baseball." Bravo, Joe, bravo. It's a shame that West will likely be fined and perhaps even suspended by Major League Baseball for his comments, because he hit the nail right on the head. Think about it for a second - a baseball game lasting longer than four hours. That's twice the length of a college basketball or soccer game. An above average runner can run a marathon in that time. Or you could watch 1/6th of a season of 24, enough for Jack Bauer to kill at least 5 terrorists and one government agent to be compromised.

I'll spare you my commentary on the designated hitter. As a National League fan, you can safely assume I disagree with George Steinbrenner. The DH is naturally going to lengthen AL games a little bit. There's no need for Jorge Posade to make EIGHT trips to the mound in an inning as he did in the World Series. You're a major league catcher. They're called signs. Use them. Jonathan Papelbon, who is one of baseball's most frequent time violators was quoted as saying a Yankees - Red Sox game is like a movie you never want to see end. You know what Jonathan? I do want to see it end. No one wants to be stuck in the same seat for four hours. In fact, I get to see the same movie seventeen more times over the course of the regular season, and most likely, another five or six during the playoffs.

Four hours is simply too long for a baseball game. With all of our blogs and ESPN round the clock coverage we forget that baseball, more than any other sport, is a game for kids. Writers make this argument every fall, and it applies here too. How are little kids supposed to get into baseball when games start at 8 and end at midnight? Just play ball guys.

An Apology on Behalf of the City of Philadelphia

TQ gave the fans of Philadelphia a yellow card in the post below, and quite frankly, it's deserved. There's a line between being ultra supportive of your team and being a detriment to others enjoyment of the game. On behalf of the city of Philadelphia and the true fans (I swear, we do exist), I apologize for the boorish behavior of our fan-base. There is nothing I want less than to be lumped in with pink hatted Red Sox fans.

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