Friday, May 23, 2008

MLB's New Edicts For Speedier Play Just Plain Silly

Major League Baseball wants Jim Leyland to jog to the mound. They want hitters not to leave the batter's box. They want pitches thrown in a timely fashion. All of this, and more, in order to perhaps shave a few minutes of game time off the clock.

Hogwash. And Leyland agrees.

"Baseball is like a movie," he told reporters yesterday about the new mandates, which go into effect today as a means to speed up game play. "If it's good, people stay. If it's bad, people leave."

Well said.

Nothing in my first paragraph is made up. Part of the new world order is indeed that managers are asked to jog to the mound instead of walk. The other stuff is true, too.

Would it be crass to mention that part of the reason why games are so long is because of the amount of time between half innings, which has steadily risen due to increased TV ad time?

I agree with Leyland. While I think games are definitely longer than they used to be, I don't know of any tangible evidence that this in any way affects attendance or TV ratings.

"When the Tigers win, people stay. When we're losing, some leave," Leyland opined, extending his comments. Then, some wry humor.

"I smoke three packs (of cigarettes) a day. And they want me to jog to the mound?"

Look, some pitchers work fast (Justin Verlander). Some work slow (Kenny Rogers). Some hitters stay in the box (Curtis Granderson). Some step out a lot (Carlos Guillen). Some pitchers throw to first base a lot. Some don't. And so on. It's all part of baseball, which was never a cookie-cutter sport to begin with, when it comes to its players. And what's the difference if a game takes 2 hours, 45 minutes, or 2 hours, 36 minutes? I mean, really.

It's silly, to steal another of Leyland's words as he talked about the new edicts. Just like the fashion police and their insistence that managers wear official jerseys instead of the pullover warmups. Silly.

Funny how quickly they'll move on stuff like that, but not so much on little things like the use of steroids in their game.

Actually, it's not so funny after all.


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