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And Another Thing


Mark Teixeira for President

God love Mark Teixeira, even if he does play for the Yankees.

After his club and the Red Sox played yet another of their brain-cell killing marathons the other day -- this one, if memory serves, clocked in at well over four hours for nine innings -- Teixeira admitted that even for the players these novel-length Mini-Series In A Drum were, well, numbing.

Here's what he told the New York Times: "It's brutal. I can't stand playing a nine-inning game in four hours. It's not baseball. I don't even know how to describe it. If I was a fan, why would I want to come watch people sitting around and talking back and forth, going to the mound, 2-0 sliders in the dirt? Four-hour games can't be fun for a fan, either."

Amen, amen, ayyyyyyyy-men.

Look, here's the deal: The Yankees and Red Sox have played only one game this season that ran less than three hours. And it largely wasn't because of TV commercial breaks. It was because the games themselves crawl: needless stalling by pitchers, needless bailing out of the box to adjust wristbands and various other wardrobe items by batters, needless mound consultations. Needless screwing around, period.

(Tangent Sighted Here: What do the pitchers and catchers talk about out there, anyway? The revolution in Libya? Get on with it, for pity's sake).

The on-field officials could alleviate some of this by enforcing the 12-second rule between pitches, but for some reason they seem incapable of doing so. They need to get capable, and baseball needs to implement other measures, as well. Conduct more than one mound confab per inning without a pitching change being involved, the batter takes his base. Bail out of the box more than twice in an at-bat to tug at your jock, yer out. And so on.

The game can be a beautiful thing when it's played properly, which is to say at least semi-briskly. It's fascinating to pick up a book about baseball in the early part of the 20th century, and read what a relatively fast-paced game it was; games that ran much more than two hours were the exception, not the rule. And three-hour games were as rare as blizzards in Miami.

So, good for you, Mark Teixeira. It's comforting to know that, in a world largely gone mad, the still, small voice of common sense isn't dead quite yet.

Ben Smith's blog.