Major League Baseball made one recommendation without waiting. It’s directly calling the Yankees, the Dodgers and Boston slow pokes, and telling them to speed up.
The Yankees (3:08), Red Sox (3:04) and Dodgers (3:02) played the longest nine-inning games last year, STATS LLC said; the MLB average was 2 hours, 52 minutes. Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon(notes) was fined $5,000 for slow play and the champion Yanks drew the eye–and ire–of baseball for holding incessant mound meetings in the postseason.
“We have hitters that see a lot of pitches. The Red Sox have hitters that see a lot of pitches. We haven’t played the Dodgers so I don’t really know. But that’s going to be a part of it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
“We do whatever we can. We tell the players what to do, but if you’re going to score runs and see lots of pitches and there’s pitching changes, the game’s going to be longer. But we’re doing everything we can to adhere to the rules,” he said.
There aren’t any threats about what will happen if they don’t comply. Will the prompts help? “We told those three the same thing last year,” MLB vice president of on-field operations Bob Watson said.
So that’s what the committee Bud Selig convened came up with in the way of recommendations? To bark at the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers for playing too slowly?
I’m not saying the typical Yankees game isn’t long. I’m not even saying some of the games aren’t like watching paint dry. But we’re talking about a team that takes a lot of pitches and, in certain instances, makes a lot of pitching changes. It’s called playing smart. And longer games mean more baseball for fans to watch and enjoy, not to mention more time for vendors to sell beer and hot dogs. So what’s the problem? What difference does it make how long the games last? One of the beautiful aspects of the sport is that there’s no time clock. If we, the fans, aren’t complaining…and if the players themselves don’t mind sticking around the ballpark… why should the MLB owners care? Why?