Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here We Go Again

I'd like to leave this issue alone, but I just can't help myself. Here is Tom Verducci on pace (not time) of game issues:

Baseball is moving in the wrong direction. It was a faster game when people had fewer entertainment options and longer attention spans. But now as the world is speeding up, baseball is slowing down for no reason at all. The three and a half hour game isn't a bad thing for baseball; it's the slow-moving three and a half hour game that is the audience-killer. And if things continue to play out at the current rate, and a generation of young hitters crib from such a style, games will continue to have more and more dead time added.

Is this the reason Baseball opted to have the Yankees and Sox be the sole game on opening day? It's not as though the length of Yankees-Sox is anything new. Did MLB forget? Or is it a fact that even casual fans would rather watch a long Yankees-Sox game than a faster game between any other two teams (even if one of them is the Yanks or Sox?). Nobody cares if Nick Swisher steps out of the box between pitches (an example of the "nothingness" that is slowing down the game cited in the column/interview with Bud Selig). I have never ever heard anyone watching a ballgame suddenly yell, "Stop adjusting your gloves and taking practice swings! I have a plane to catch!"

I don't care if games in the olden days were shorter. They were shorter because the 7-9 hitters were automatic outs (there's a reason closers pitched multiple innings back then). AL line-ups in particular are not built that way, especially if we're talking Yanks or Sox.

At this point, this issue is quickly becoming old men yelling at kids to cut their hair. It's pathetic and embarrassing.


Rich Mahogany said...

Verducci's column is absurdly overlong. We can get the point in one sentence: batters should take less time between pitches because casual fans will get bored. No need to write a book about the evils of slow-paced games.

If Verducci is so concerned about FOX's ratings, maybe he should encourage FOX to hire better broadcasters than Buck and McCarver, who are infinitely more boring than Nick Johnson's between-pitches ritual.

There is even a completely superfluous Kierkegaard reference in this article. Now that's unnecessary and embarrassing.

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

The Kierkegaard reference may have been the best part, as I can only assume that is what players discuss amongst themselves.

I guess one issue is this: I realize it's a business, but baseball is hardly suffering (it's as popular as ever). In that case, do we want the hypothetical "casual fan" to dictate how the game should be played? Is that really a recipe for success?

Fernando Alejandro said...

I have a feeling that this recent discourse isn't going to end well for baseball.

Rich Mahogany said...

Maybe the Yankees should try to be more like the Astros, who swing at everything, have struck out 50 times already, walked only 6 times, and are on pace for one of the worst offensive seasons ever. I'm sure Astros games are nice and fast - ratings must be off the charts!

lady gaganonymous said...

The Astros are an embarrassingly bad baseball team. From the comments of that article: Pujols has driven in more runs than that team has scored!!! Also, holy crap, I didn't realize the Angels were that impatient. What happened to good fundamental Angel baseball!

Rich Mahogany said...

Good fundamental Angels baseball died in the comedy of errors that was their 2009 playoffs.

Aside from their nice citrus-themed stadium, Astros fans have nothing to be happy about right now.

Jon Roberts said...

I think this is all about the networks and ad sales. The pace of the Yankees/Sox games only adds tension to the games making them more intense and fun to watch. If it's your team you don't care how long the game is. If it isn't your team you don't care how long the game is.

It's just gamesmanship and it's part of the game. Speeding it up will benefit the pictchers I think, which means less offense, which means fewer casual fans.

Anonymous said...

Are the soxs and the yankees having problems filling up their ballparks?.... I don't think so.