This being a blog about the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, you’d think that we’d have written about the games the Yankees played at Fenway a few days ago. But sitting through a four-hour game three weeknights in a row just took its toll on us. Forget about trying to write a blog entry. How about just trying to make it through the afternoon without needing a nap?!
Why? Why is a Yankees/Red Sox game so gosh darn long? It’s a number of factors that all fall into place like a perfect storm. One, a nationally televised game (and most of this rivalry’s games are) is allotted more time for commercials between innings. Secondly, both teams have great hitters in their lineup. And great hitters take a lot of pitches and foul off even more. And this means that the pitcher throws more pitches, more full counts. (CC Sabathia threw over 120 pitches in six innings!) Thirdly, the pitchers are trying to control the game (and gain an advantage over the great hitters) by going about their business at their own pace. Which leads to factor four: the hitters call time out to break up the pitchers rhythm. The batter steps out of the box, adjusts his batting gloves, spits on his hands, checks his Twitter feed, calls home, ………………zzzzzzzzzzz………..huh? sorry fell asleep for a second…….and digs back into the box. And then the pitcher starts all over again. It is a vicious cycle.
For a fan of either team, it is a four-hour long hate-inducing marathon. Now, I don’t like Red Sox starter Josh Beckett to begin with, but when he’s taking over 30 seconds to send the ball sixty feet to the plate, I start to hate every little HD detail of his facial hair. The time it takes a pitcher to throw one pitch just stretches out the tension and makes it all the more anxiety-producing. So fans of both teams are spending four hours in a state of agita. And if a game starts at 7 PM, it’s not finishing till after 11 PM. And you can’t go right to sleep. If your team wins, you are jazzed up with adrenalin coming out of your ears; sleep does not come easy. If your team loses, you’re so angry at the result that you fight off sleep thinking about how the game could have gone differently.
Even the players find it painful. Mark Teixera of the Yankees said, “It’s brutal. I can’t stand playing a nine-inning game in four hours. It’s not baseball. I don’t even know how to describe it. If I was a fan, why would I want to come watch people sitting around and talking back and forth, going to the mound, 2-0 sliders in the dirt? Four-hour games can’t be fun for a fan.”
Solutions? Well, there is one option that is actually in the official baseball rulebook. Added in 2007, this rule states: Time between pitches: The allotment for delivering the ball with no one on base has been reduced, from 20 seconds to 12. The price for each violation is a ball. How about that?!?!? The umpires can actually force a pitcher to speed up the game. And the umpire can actually deny a batter’s request for a time-out. Why do I get the feeling, though, that the day an umpire enforces this rule is the day that the Beatles get back together?
Oh, well, in any event, my prediction from last post about the Yankees storming back was correct. We took 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox and have done a number on Toronto. Hello, first place!
It gets late early out there.