Veteran umpire Joe West attacked the Yankees and Red Sox for not cooperating with Commissioner Bud Selig’s edict that games are to be played faster now. Those who watched (or listened to) the great Yankees-Red Sox series at Fenway Park should have noticed that Angel Hernandez and Joe West did not grant time out to batters who stepped out of the batter’s box.
Here are Joe West’s powerful words:
“They’re the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace. They’re two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest? It’s pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play. The commissioner of baseball says he wants the pace picked up. We try. And it still almost went four hours. All of baseball looks to these two clubs to pick up the pace. Angel did everything he could. The players aren’t working with us. This is embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball.”
Okay, my opinion on that: it’s not right for an umpire to describe those teams like that, since most fans enjoyed that series, and no real fans were complaining. Bud Selig and ESPN were complaining because all they care about is advertising dollars and mainstream audiences.
I believe Mr. West is in his right to ENFORCE THE RULE BOOK. So if he wants the players to listen, he needs to continue to not grant any time outs (which forces the batters in the box), force the pitcher to throw the ball within 10 seconds (by calling “Ball One”), and break up pitcher/catcher conferences. Let’s see if the umpires can do that all season (I doubt it).
By the way, after the umpires prevented Jorge Posada from speaking to David Robertson on the mound to stall and get the bullpen ready, Robertson threw to first base for a pickoff throw (he can do that an unlimited number of times), so players can find ways around rules.
Anyway, what REALLY makes the game slow down is when both managers start mixed and matching bullpen guys in the later innings. Tony LaRussa invented that with the Oakland A’s and guys just copy that. So we’ll have Dave Robertson walk a guy, out comes Joe Girardi, in comes Damaso Marte, COMMERCIAL, wild pitch, out comes Joe Girardi, COMMERCIAL, in comes Joba Chamberlain, etc.
Anyway, let me be clear: West has some valid points, but he has the power to enforce it and get the players in the batter’s box. The right thing for him to do was to sit down with both managers before the series and before Game 2 to make it clear. West sounding off to the MEDIA and saying the Red Sox and Yankees are making MLB disgraced is a SHAM! Lastly, there are other ways the game can go faster, but what difference does it make it a game is 2 hours 50 minutes or 3 hours 5 minutes?
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