Sunday, October 24, 2010

Baseball, and its length.

One of my favorite books is Nick Hornby's "Fever Pitch." By the time that Jimmy Fallon (whose middle name might as well be the same as Bucky Dent's, in my opinion) bastardized it on film, I had read it twice. Mike Lupica made me think of Fever Pitch this morning, and I resent him for it. On September 13, 1980 Arsenal played Stoke City in what is today the English Premier League (was it Division One then? It doesn't matter). Stoke City's manager, following the game, angry at the press' reponse to his team and their tactics famously said, "If you want entertainment, go and watch clowns."

This morning, on the Sports Reporters - one of the most asinine television programs ever to air after 4:00am - Mike Lupica said Baseball needs to speed up baseball games, because one inning in the ALCS lasted as long as an NBA quarter.

Perhaps Lupica should remember that baseball games are not played for his enjoyment. Baseball games aren't played for the fans' enjoyment, at all. They're played for one team to win and move on to the playoffs, where they go through three rounds of playoffs, in an attempt to win a World Series. If we want entertainment, we can go and watch clowns.

Teams would play every game if fans weren't even in attendance (see: Marlins, Florida). And maybe because the media dissects every playoff game to the point where there is nothing but a carcass left on the tray, it's the media (and yes, bloggers - though nobody is under any illusion that the presence of blogs affects the game in any way, shape, or form) who has contributed to the length of the games.

There are 25 professional baseball players in each clubhouse doing whatever they can to get a win, go to the playoffs, win a World Series, get their stats, etc., and if that takes as long as a quarter of an NBA game because Tommy Hunter needs an extra minute or two before he faces Robinson Cano, then so be it.

Baseball doesn't need to quicken its pace. We need to realize that, for once, we - as fans - are not the point.