NOT A FANS’ GAME ANYMORE
We have discussed the possibility of replay in baseball before in this space. The common argument against it is that the games are already long enough and this would only make them longer. How about this idea to shorten games? Limit the number of visits to the mound a player can make. In the seventies, Billy Martin made so many visits to the mound as a manager that baseball enacted its’ current rule of removing a pitcher after a second trip in an inning. That has worked and has served in the best interest of the game and the fans. I’m sitting here and watching Jorge Posada and Jose Molina make six or seven trips in a single INNING! It is sickening to watch. If these guys haven’t been able to get on the same page yet, 9 months after Spring Training started, when will they? I realize that strategy needs to be discussed. I understand that sometimes the pitcher needs a breather. It takes away from the enjoyment of the game. I love baseball. I think it is a beautiful game and for the most part, things should stay as they are. This is a major exception. The visits to the mound are incessant. It often reminds me of the famous scene in the movie “Bull Durham.” The pitching coach, Larry Hockett, played by Robert Wuhl comes out to the mound to see what is taking so long as the players converse. In the end they decide that candlesticks might make a nice wedding gift for Millie. It illustrates what might go on in a conversation. It isn’t always baseball. The effort to get a hitter out of his groove, to keep it in the pitchers’ hand is always a possibility. The thing is, I don’t want to hear Bud Selig or anyone else tell us that this is the fans’ game. That is a crock! If this were for the fans, we wouldn’t be playing into November. I really don’t care about the players. They are extremely well compensated. They can flit in and out of the nice warm clubhouse between innings. Coffee and snacks are readily available. It is the fans who suffer. They pay inordinate prices to freeze and get soaked (by the rain AND concession costs) and then must endure the endless trips to the mound. Do something about it. The games in this particular World Series are taking about 3 and a half hours to complete. The average working stiff, let alone any kid who wants to root for his or her favorite team is out of luck. School and work tend to get in the way for responsible people. There may be an entire generation of children that have never seen a World Series game in its’ entirety. That doesn’t bode well for the future of baseball. As a kid, I watched in awe as men Like Brooks Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Bob Gibson weaved their magic. It is what helped foster my love of the game. Let’s make things right. Start earlier, get done in October and for the love of all that’s holy, stay behind the plate and let’s roll. I’m not going to be surprised if in the ninth inning in game six, Jorge Posada sends Mariano Rivera a text message. Don’t laugh. It can’t be that far off.