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The ticking clock

Perhaps some day this week, either Sheinin or I will be able to write a story about a game that actually makes it into the newspaper.

Here's Dave's story about Game 2 of the ALCS, which took 5 hours, 14 minutes. Yet here is an image of the front of the Post sports section from Sunday (the $.150 edition). No ALCS. Didn't end in time. Sheinin wrote only for that crazy World Wide Web, then probably had about 45 minutes to sleep before catching a flight to Cleveland. This story about Livan Hernandez had to stay on the front of the section.

Eleven innings that takes 5:14 comes out to an average of 28-1/2 minutes per inning. A half an hour per inning, basically.

Game 2 of the NLCS was also 11 innings. It took a breezy 4:26 -- or just over 24 minutes per inning.

By baseball's rules, there is supposed to be only 20 seconds between pitches. That rule is being violated, and it's hurting the game, no doubt. These games provide too many opportunities for people to change the channel. Get the ball, step back on the rubber, and make a pitch. I implore you.

Does all this affect you're enjoyment of the playoffs?

Later: Lineups and news from Coors Field. It's raining here in Denver right now, and it's going to be cool/cold tonight. Might be a rain delay -- before a 4-hour game, no doubt.

By Barry Svrluga  |  October 14, 2007; 2:01 PM ET
 
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Comments

Oh yes, the slowness affects my enjoyment of today's games. I don't have the historical documentation, but I recall an Astros-Braves series (probably mid-1990s?) in which each of the three games (the Braves unfortunately swept my then-favorite-team) was completed in well under two and half hours. Those were wonderful games, even with the Astros losing. Good pitching, good defense, and timely hitting -- what National League baseball is (was?) supposed to feature. And I can certainly remember reading lots of Astros box scores in the 1970s and 1980s reporting that the games took 2:05, 2:08, and sometimes even 1:58. While I know that quick, well-played, 2-0 or 3-1 games make the networks unhappy (not enough time for expensive commercials), those are the kinds of games that make a baseball fan smile.

Posted by: Bratislava, Slovakia | October 14, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I do wish that the rule was enforced more often. I recall hearing of a situation this year where the home plate ump did use a stopwatch and indicate to the pitcher when he needed to speed things up. Can't remember whether it was a Nats game or whether one of the umps who spoke at a SABR program that I attended recounted the incident.

How about the batters who make a habit of asking for time and stepping out?

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekk!

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 14, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, last night's game was ridiculous. I watched the first few innings, drove downtown for dinner (but not before a good while looking for parking), had a meal at a sit-down restaurant, drove home, watched a few more innings, and STILL missed the last two innings of the game (way too tired after the aforementioned night on the town in Philly to stay up past 1am for two teams I don't really care about).

Posted by: JennX | October 14, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Not only is it affecting my enjoyment of the games, but I suspect that the ridiculous lag time between pitches is affecting the pitchers themselves.

Yes, the pitchers are lollygagging in some cases. But I agree with natsfan1a, this business of stepping out after every pitch is aggravating and is costing the game fans. And it has to be adding, be it ever so incrementally, to pitchers' arm stress. That would be bad for the game if fan interest never diminished a whit.

I think it was Larry Vanover who, at least once this season, refused to allow the "automatic" call of time, and called a strike on a batter who reflexively stepped out of the box. That's an example (even if an incorrectly cited one) worthy of emulation.

Posted by: Hendo | October 14, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Its ridiculous. I fell asleep on my couch trying to watch last night's AL Playoff game. The incredibly long commercial breaks stink too.

The writer Stephen King nailed Fox for its delay tactics during a game 1 interview. He had a book with him and said he could read a couple pages during the inning breaks. And what with Fox doing the games he could read even more.

Posted by: Sec 515 | October 14, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

The faster the game goes, the less I have to listen to Tim McCarver.

Posted by: dave | October 15, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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