Saturday, February 21, 2015
Some Baseball Thoughts...and One Football Thought
Spring Training camps have opened across Florida and Arizona this past week, so how about a couple of baseball thoughts and a cold and very snowy Pittsburgh morning?
Major League Baseball is very much in the news today because of procedures that will be implemented this season aimed at increasing the pace of play, which will eliminate some dead time in the course of a game, and, perhaps, shorten the average length of time it takes to play a major league game these days. Personally, I am all for these changes, but, predictably, people who just want to take shots at whomever a sport's commissioner happens to be at any given time, and so-called Baseball Purists, are outraged.
"Baseball is the only game without a time clock. You just can't DO this.", seems to be a common response.
First of all, no one is suggesting this:
Baseball is still a nine inning game. A team will still have to record 27 outs to win a ballgame. No one is proposing four fifteen minute quarters or three thirty minute periods for baseball. Strictly enforcing the time between innings, requiring that a pitch be delivered in a certain amount of time, and, most importantly, not allowing the batter to step out of the box after every pitch to readjust their batting gloves and protective cups, and eliminating the slow stroll by a manager while his bench coach decides if a replay challenge should be requested....these measures ARE NOT PUTTING A TIME CLOCK IN BASEBALL.
Will these measure reduce a 3 hour and twenty minute game to 2 hours and forty minutes? Not likely, but even a three hour plus game will not SEEM that long, if there is not so much interminable dead time in game.
In an move that is also no doubt related to the length of time it takes to play a ball game, the Cleveland Indians have announced that their home night games (not sure if it is all night games or just the Monday through Thursday games) this season will start at 6:10 PM, instead of 7:05. In a town where the ball park is located in the downtown business district, this will be an interesting experiment.
Recalling the days when I was working, I can say for sure that I would have stayed in town after the work day ended at 5:00 and walked across the Clemente Bridge for a 6:00 game a lot more times than I ever left work, drove back home, changed clothes, and drove back into town for a ball game.
Plus, these games will end, give or take, sometime between 9:00 and 9:30, which is a big difference than between 10:00 and 10:30 to someone whose alarm will be going off at 5:30 the next morning.
I am guessing that a lot of teams, including the Pirates, will be paying attention to this experiment in Cleveland throughput this season.
And now to football....
Speaking of Cleveland, is there a more dysfunctional franchise in all of professional sports than the Cleveland Browns?
Just this week, GM Larry Farmer, when he was not fessing up to illegally texting his coaching staff during games, announced that the Browns will strongly consider drafting a quarterback early, if not in the first round, of the upcoming draft. The is coming on the heels of the fiasco that was the Johnny Manziel experiment this past season, and on the heels of the news that QB Brian Hoyer, who has had a winning record as the Browns' QB, by the way, will not be re-signed by the team. ( It should be noted that in the sixteen seasons since the Browns rejoined the NFL, they have started twenty-two [22!] different guys at QB.)
All of this is overseen by owner Jimmy Haslim, who was, briefly, a minority owner of the Steelers. Neutral observers always will tell you that the Steelers are one of the NFL's model franchises in the operation of their team. Either Haslim never hung around the office to see how things were done, or he wasn't paying attention when he was there, during his time with the Steelers. He appears to be cut from the Dan Snyder Cloth, just another rich guy with a shiny toy who gets to hang out with real football players.
Too bad for the loyal fans in Cleveland.