Home > Uncategorized > A Baseball Game Too Long? Such A Thing Doesn’t Exist

A Baseball Game Too Long? Such A Thing Doesn’t Exist

As soon as I heard that there was a controversy swirling around MLB umpire Joe West, I’m sure my initial reaction was shared by most across the U.S.

Here we go again … another ferocious Tiger Woods-like sex scandal in professional sports.

Alas, there were no porn stars confessing their affairs with “Cowboy Joe. (Is a ‘Ride ’em, cowboy’ joke too obvious here?) Instead, the controversy came from a statement that the 34-year veteran of the blue made Thursday, in which he called the pace of play between the Yankees and Red Sox “embarrassing” and “a disgrace to baseball.”

West went on to say, “They’re the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace. They’re two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest?”


Both teams apologize for any inconvenience they have caused Mr. West. Oh, that’s right — they don’t.

It’s pretty alarming when a crew chief umpire, who stood directly behind home plate for Sunday’s nearly four-hour meeting with the Yanks and Sawx, is complaining about the length of games. You have to wonder if such a “slow” contest causes West to lose his focus. And hey, if he wants to speed the game up, he has the power to do so. As the home plate umpire, widen the blurry edges of that strike zone!

Call those strikes before pitches even reach the plate!

Begin maxing out your ability to make grossly incorrect calls!

But ultimately, a slow baseball game is an oxymoron. I, thanks to much influence from my father, have long said that three hours is the benchmark of a good baseball game. You know you got top value after attending a three-hour game. Three hours worth of baseball simply means action is taking place often — lots of hits, baserunners, deep counts, etc. People who carelessly say that baseball is boring and slow don’t understand that every pitch holds a purpose and the possibilities after that pitch are literally endless. Intrigue and drama are set up every time that lonely fellow on the 10.5-inch bump kicks and fires.

Forget the fact that an average NFL game is longer than an average MLB game and provides a very small dose actual action.

West also shouldn’t single out these two rivals. The Yankees and Red Sox do play extremely long games, but if baseball’s goal is knock the average time of its game below that magical three-hour mark, I wish it the best of luck in such an impossible task. No matter the teams, epics happen all over the league every night. Just off the top of my head, I can tell you that the 10-inning game between the Dodgers and Pirates on Wednesday lasted exactly four hours. Thursday’s nine innings between the Orioles and Rays went 3:22. Both games weren’t shootouts. The Pirates recorded a 4-3 walk-off victory. The Orioles held on to win, 5-4. They weren’t too long or too slow or too boring. They were just baseball games.

If people want to keep whining that 3+ hours is too much life to spend watching a  baseball game, I’m not going to stop them. But the lack of a clock is one of the reasons why baseball is so unique. I hope the hollers from idiots in high standing such as West don’t change that. The Yankees and the Red Sox will continue playing some four-hour games. What’s wrong with that? I thought everyone loves a value. At that pace, what’s so wrong with two baseball games for the price of one?

And remember how Ernie Banks famously said, “Let’s play two”? Joe West probably wants cut off his tongue.

  1. April 9, 2010 at 7:20 am

    I am probably more annoyed, because West sort of implies that because the Yankees and Red Sox are good, that they should be able to speed up the game.

    But the Yankees and Red Sox are good in no small part to playing the way they do. They work counts and draw walks and get on base and knock the shit out of the ball. They make multiple substitutions at the end of the game to work matchups.

    These “slow” games are why they are good.

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