Ump rips Yanks & Sox for slow pace • 04.08.10
The pace of play in Yankees-Red Sox games is, to put it nicely, typically slow. Three-plus hour games are the norm in the rivalry and most games are usually closer to four. Everyone knows it and, most of the time, everyone jokes about it – over the past three days, I heard quips or comments on the pace of play from players, coaches, fans, broadcasters and writers. Scan through Twitter and you’ll see plenty of examples.
Umpire Joe West, who is one of MLB’s crew chiefs, apparently doesn’t think there’s anything funny about it at all. West ripped the Yankees and Red Sox in a story in the Bergen Record today, calling it “embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball.” He also called the Yanks and Sox, “pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play.”
The first two games of this series took 3 hours, 46 minutes and 3 hours, 48 minutes, respectively, and West made his comments before last night’s game, which was actually something of an anomaly: The teams only needed 3 hours, 21 minutes to play 10 innings. Not surprisingly, the Yankees and Red Sox hold the record for longest nine-inning game ever, having taken 4 hours, 45 minutes to play back on Aug. 18, 2006.
(That game was actually part of a doubleheader, which was also the longest timed doubleheader in MLB history, with both games taking a combined 8 hours, 40 minutes. I vaguely remember my legs going numb somewhere in the middle.)
My initial reaction to West’s comments is that this is a reasonable message delivered incredibly poorly. Do the Yankees and Red Sox have players that take a lot of pitches and foul off a lot of pitches and otherwise make the game go longer through the natural course of play? Absolutely. That’s just the way it goes. But there are also plenty of guys on both teams who aren’t exactly efficient when it comes to getting in the box or taking the rubber, and that all adds up, too. If baseball wants to get serious about pace of play and start enforcing some legitimate rules on what guys can and can’t do, I’m all for it.
Unfortunately, that message gets lost when you have an umpire using words like “disgrace” and “pathetic” about the teams he’s supposed to be officiating. West has been around a long time, but that doesn’t mean he can (or should) use inflammatory language like that; for lack of a better reason, name-calling is never nice. Even more, it doesn’t exactly help the notion if impartiality.
Joe Girardi was asked yesterday if he felt MLB had stressed pace of play this year, and he shrugged. “That issue is made every spring training … so it’s not anything new. Are they trying to enforce it a little more? Right now it appears [they are]. The jury will be out on that at the end of the year.”
Some nightly potpourri • 03.09.10
A few things I noticed while surfing around the inter-webs:
• Major League Baseball is responding to the rash of bad calls made by umpires last postseason by firing umpire … supervisors. No, not umpires. Umpire supervisors. Interesting.
It was funny earlier today when the announcement about the umpires in the Yanks-Pirates game was made. Apparently Marty Foster – you might remember him – was supposed to be on the game but was a late scratch due to illness. “Yeah,” one writer quipped, “the Yankees put poison in his food.”
• I mentioned earlier that the football bowl game at Yankee Stadium will be called the “Pinstripe Bowl,” and also voiced my support for changing it to the “Big Apple Bowl” (or even the “Gotham Bowl,” which is what it used to be half a century ago). Anyway, at the news conference Hal Steinbrenner reiterated that doesn’t believe in contract extensions. “People just have to understand that everybody does business in a different way and I just don’t believe in contract extensions,” Steinbrenner told reporters in the Bronx. “And that’s throughout the organization, no matter who it is. And hopefully nobody takes that personally because it’s just business.”
Although he’s refused to negotiate, Hal did say that he’s reached out to Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera to let them know that he hopes they’ll stay in the organization.
• Bad news for the Twins (and many people who participate in keeper fantasy leagues): Joe Nathan could be done for the year and the Twins don’t have a whole lot of internal options. Jon Rauch? Ugh. Could this be the year the Royals rise in the Central? Probably not. But it sure does make life a little easier for Johnny Damon and the Tigers.