So the problem with baseball is “slow mannerisms?”

The answer is yes, according to this article about ways that Bud Selig and his committee are hoping to pick up the pace of the game. Apparently, no one minds that some clubs like the Yankees take a lot of pitches or even that nationally televised games have a ton of commercials. What Selig and his group are looking at are the stalling mannerisms of the players. You know, like Jeter and how he sticks out his right wrist to call time?
Honestly. I’d miss it if he were suddenly forced to stop doing it – and not just because he’s a Yankee. I love the players’ mannerisms. No, not the excessive stepping out of the box to adjust batting gloves, blow a bubble or spit.
MLB can set limits on how many times a hitter steps out and how long he stays out. But what about pitchers? I say let them continue to have their funky deliveries.
But by all means restrict those with tendencies to walk around the mound or massage the ball to death or dig themselves a really big hole.
I guess what I mean is that I understand the desire to speed up the game, and I share it to some extent. What I’d hate to see happen is to take away the individuality of the guys who play the game, their quirkiness. Can you even think what the sport would be like if we didn’t have the pleasure of watching batting stances like these? (I know, I know. A lot of these guys aren’t on the Phillies anymore, but hey – we’re starting a series against them Tuesday night! This blog is providing a stealth scouting report!)


  1. Jane Heller

    I resist the idea of clocks, A.J., but I guess that’s what’s coming. It worries me though, because the home plate umpire has enough to do and I doubt it would be put on the scoreboard.

  2. bostonredsoxgirl46

    I think that the league could put limits on how many time a catcher visits the mound, how many times you can do certain things, but certainly not limiting individuality! I love the way Timothy Lincecum digs a hole right before a game, and of course I have to mention Nomar’s ritual before every pitch!

  3. Jane Heller

    Ah, Nomar, Elizabeth. He was the king of stepping out of the box. I guess there could be limits on catcher visits to the mound, the way there already are for pitching coaches/managers. What I hope won’t happen is confusion, which would only create more delays. Whenever new rules are instituted, there’s always a period of adjustment where everybody stands around going, “What do we do?”

  4. zkonedog

    Once again, MLB (and Buddy-Boy Selig) ignore the real “problem” and focus on an innane course of action that will shave seconds off games, not any substantial time. The way I see it, the games will never be as short as they once were due to all the pitching changes, primarily. In today’s game of specialization, pitching changes (after about the fifth inning) happen in rapid-fire succession, often in the middle of innings. Every time this happens, the game is expanded by roughly five minutes or so, I would say. After enough potential pitching changes, that adds up to a lot of time (much more than eliminating anything Jeter does before a pitch). Of course, the funny thing is that nothing can be done about this…it’s just part of the game now. Perhaps Selig should embrace the leisurely pace of our National Pastime (within reason, of course) and not try to pander to a football-crazed audience.


    I’ve heard of this shaving time thing too, and my only argument is, they’re not robots. The batter has to feel comfortable too. If Jeter wants to stick his hand out so he can dig in, like he has I think for most of his 2700+ hits, I’m all for it. One thing I noticed Cano started doing was, if he had a bad swing, he’ll now walk around the catcher and umpire, kind of Bernie-esque. The 2nd game of the Yankees Astros series was 2 hours and 19 minutes. The shortest of the year. The third was an hour and a half longer. It wasn’t because Swisher looks to the sky before a pitch, to remember his father, but because the Astros gave up ten walks. What are the Yankees supposed to do, not play like they should? Whenever people talk about making the game faster or more exciting, I just think of Futurama and that episode with Blernsball. It’s hilarious, but not too far off. Though I could go without seeing Ortiz fake spit into his batting gloves and rub them together every time. For some reason that drives me crazy 😛


    What about extra innings? Are they going to have a home run derby to determine the winner after nine innings?

    This is such crap. And I agree, the pitching changes and the commercials are what cause the long games. But frankly, I love baseball – the longer the game, the better. And all those fans at the park should be happy to get more for their money.

    Had to think baseball in the middle of a World Cup game. There was a Japanese player named Daisuke Matsui.

    Wonderful article about Cano’s fielding (and hitting) in the NY Times. Hey, remember when people said he couldn’t hit with RISP and was a bad fielder? There’s also a chart listing all the second baseman Jeter has been paired with.


  7. leafiz

    I think the length of the game now is perfect! Is it just me?
    When I started watching baseball it was MUCH longer.. and I thought the length of that game was fine too!

    Why would a baseball commissioner want to speed up the game? Shouldn’t he be the biggest fan?
    When I go to the ballpark, I’m always hoping for extra innings!


  8. Jane Heller

    Zkonedog, I couldn’t agree more. While it’s true that some batters and pitchers take extra time, it’s the pitching changes that account for most of the delays and how can you regulate that? Why would you want to? The sport is such that relievers are a part of the game now. “Leisurely” is the word and that’s fine with me.

    Yeah, seindsfeld, Cano does walk around when he’s batting sometimes. And Swisher points to the sky to honor his grandmother, btw. But your point about all the walks is so true. What are the hitters supposed to do? Swing at bad pitches to make the game faster?

    I was wondering about extra innings too, Melissa. Like if the White Sox-Cubs game the other night had remained a scoreless tie past the 9th (and with 2 no-hitters on top of it), so what? It would have been exciting no matter how long it lasted. That’s what we love about the game: no time clock. Do some games drag on and feel more boring than others? Of course. But so what? It’s a long season and every game can’t feel like the 7th game of the World Series. Saw the article on Cano. Loved Bowa but glad we have Mick Kelleher on board now.

    Beats me, Courtney. I’m not sure who, exactly, is complaining about the length of games. Is it the networks who broadcast them, because they cut into other programming when they run long? Maybe. I can’t imagine fans would mind getting more for their money.

    I saw that Sandoval was mentioned in the article, Jeff, and I since I’ve never seen him I’m curious now – especially if it’s a line dance ritual we’re talking about! Cool.


    Timing is everything, Miz Jane…n’est-ce pas??
    ‘Tis one reason why we luv beisbol so much, and not, say, futbol, with its endless 45-minute halves that are always more (but they won’t tell you how much — how dumb), NO breaks, and that lovely sound of the…vuvuzela? You can have it…
    One thing I remember about the Orioles’ Glory Daze was that all the announcers glowed over how selective they were in seeing & taking pitches…even the Hoseheads of ’04-vintage got kudos for that…so I DON’T wanna hear about our boyz…
    Every-1 has quirks…part of the charm…LOVE your batting stance video…planned to have the Office Phils Phan review it b4 posting, but he’s out to lunch (hope his team will be tonight)! Remember player/mgr Mike Hargrove, The Human Rain Delay? Our game will forever have its place in the pantheon of American sport for the same reason that soccer will not…because it has BREAKS…and you can SELL things to the masses (other than vuvuzelas…btw, wasn’t he a pitcher for the Dodgers?)…


    I have no problem with the pace of the game when at a game. What I have issue the long commercial breaks, especially on nationally televised games and postseason games.

    The game itself is just fine.

    Leave it alone. Just shorten the commercial break between the incoherent rants of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

    Jay (@UC_SID)

  11. Jane Heller

    Mike Hargrove was called “the human rain delay,” Dave? Or did you make that up? It’s hilarious either way. Not being a fan of football, I’m not qualified to compare the two sports and their respective paces. I just know I like baseball the way it is!

    I agree on the nationally televised games, Jay. They’re bloated not because of the baseball but because of all the products that have to be sold, not to mention the network’s new shows they need to promote. Endless….


    Jane, much as I’d like to take credit for “Human Rain Delay,” it’s not original…maybe one of your Cleveland bloggers can confirm this…but he was a classic. Hopefully, some Batting Stance Guy will be able to recreate the ENTIRE Hargrove Ritual someday…if so, you GOTTA post it!!!
    And my apologies for confusing football with “futbol,” aka the way foreigners say & spell soccer. The vuvuzela (which must have REALLY thrown you) is the name of that goofy horn that the crazy South Africans blow endlessly throughout every World Cup game…makes you insane…

  13. raysrenegade

    I think it is kind of a farce that they want a game that can go on forever (according to the rules) to fit into a nice 2 hour 45 minute box for perfect packaging for the Television Networks.
    Sure there are some hitters, and even pitcher (that means you Papelbon) who extend, readjust, re-rub and also use this to their advantage in any ways possible. Just look at a recent Rays game where Carlos Pena was playing the “wait-it-out” game with Toronto closer Kevin Gregg. Pena wanted time out with a 3-2 count, and even took his back hand off the bat, but Home Plate Umpire Angel(He-Devil) Hernandez did not blink and Gregg put a perfect ball down the middle for strike three.
    There are rules for pitcher’s in place that have consequences listed in both English and Spanish in every MLB dugout with time limits between pitches when on the rubber, but the Umpires hold the key to the batter’s time-outs and that might increase two-fold soon.
    I do not have a solid answer, but then again…baseball is suppose to be a game with no time limits….Ironic huh?

    Rays Renegade

  14. peggy3

    Melissa said …” But frankly, I love baseball – the longer the game, the better. And all those fans at the park should be happy to get more for their money”

    I couldn’t agree with you more Melissa …I love being at the ballpark and could care less how long the game takes ..the only thing I care about is that the Yankees win .. :o). If I’m watching at home …who cares how long the game goes as long as I have some eats and a comfy chair.

    My daughter had an exciting day today. She went to the Meet & Greet at the Stadium with Alex and Robbie. She was the 2nd person to talk to Robbie …had her picture taken with him & he signed her WS Championship hat. She moved on to Alex ..he signed the back of her #13 Jersey (which she was wearing) and her WS hat. She tried to get a picture with him but she said he was surrounded by photographers and was lucky just to get one of him. She’s hoping that her pic might show up on the internet somewhere because they were shooting pictures of him signing her shirt. If anyone sees a pic of him signing a female’s jersey please let me know. She was on Cloud 9 because she loves Alex & DJ with Robbie coming in a close 2nd. I’m going to watch the game at her place tonight and will get to see her new prized possessions. The only thing is she will now need a new #13 Jersey since she won’t be wearing the signed one anymore. She has 5 jerseys so I think she can make do for now.

    Here’s to the Yankees giving both the Phillies and Halladay a beat down (ok ..I’ll take a one run win …just get a win).

    Everyone enjoy the game !!!!

    Go Yankees 2010 !!!

  15. thomasox

    Sister Jane!
    I know you have missed me. Jeter called me to tell me I ought to reach out to you. Hey so where is the love? It only happens when we play each other or what? That’s what you were thinking, but I love contradicting expectations. I have missed you, it’s true. Jeter doesn’t lie. Oh, he didn’t relay that back to you? Anyway, I raise my glass again to the woman who is the straw that stirs the drink in this blogland. Great discussion!! Let’s tell Selig his wife says he is taking too long in the bedroom and end it. The game is the game is the game.

  16. Jane Heller

    Paul, I don’t mind that Selig is trying to find ways to improve the game, but shaving a few minutes off here and there by regulating the players’ “mannerisms” seems….wrong.

    The thing about pitchers and hitters, Renegade, and how one takes too much time so the other steps out of the box – those are the cat and mouse elements I love about the game. I’d hate to see them regulated or limited.

    I always heard it was his grandmother, seindsfeld. I think she was a very important part of his life.

    Soooo excited about your daughter being there today, Peggy. When I read that Robbie and A-Rod were doing the meet and greet, I was like WHY CAN’T I GO???? If you have pics from her that you think we should see, please send!

    Hey, Brother Thomas. Don’t take my neglect personally. LOL. I’ve been a busy girl. Thanks for comparing me to Reggie. LOL again. And I agree: the game is the game is the game. Well put.

  17. angelsgirl012

    well i’m sorry people with short attention spans baseball has always been slow. (Don’t we have other things to deal with………..)
    That is what makes it different from any other sport. I mean you have the time to see if your team can come back from behind even when you are down 6-0 in the second (*hint hint Angels right now!!) You can’t really make it more like football or basketball just by speeding up the time. I do understand where they are coming from but baseball is tough to deal with. There’s a lot of tradition and history and it has stood its ground for a very long time.

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