Derek Jeter got some words from home plate umpire Angel Hernandez last night for calling time out while at the plate. It appeared that Hernandez was pushing to keep things moving in the 2nd chapter in what are always long and painful marathons between the Red Sox and the Yankees.
Haven't really been able to find much written about gametimes as of late, but it should be no secret to anyone that MLB games are longer than they used to be. And Sox/Yankee contests are even longer than that. This Pittsburgh Post-Gazette piece from 2004 states that the average game in '04 was around 2 hours and 45 minutes. The best part? Games around the turn of the 20th century took 90 minutes. The Sox Yankees games this week so far? Three hours and 46 minutes and 3 hours and 48 minutes respectively. For someone whose alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. every day, I probably won't be able to see a baseball game in its entirety till the return of Buck and McCarver on Fox Saturday (ugh).
Opening Day (night) gets a pass. It's a night for bravado, bringing out tiny children to squeak the 'Miracle' speech, having Pedro Martinez miander in from the outfield to toss the first pitch and wheeling out the corpse of 'Neil Diamond' to do 'Sweet Caroline' live. Three hours and 46 minutes is reasonable. But 3 hours and 48 minutes for just another regular season game? Holy moley.
Does Jeter really need to take a timeout every time he's up? Does David Ortiz (who has been nailed for this infraction as well) really need to pound his hands together and spit before every at bat? Does A-Rod really need to blow bubbles with his gum and squint at the pitcher for five minutes? No. This goes for pitchers as well. Jonathan Papelbon has been scolded in the past for his staring dramatics (which honestly looks more like Ace Ventura than anything intimidating) and taking too long between pitches. Yeah boys, we realize it's a show. It was funny and probably sort of cool the first time, but now, it just keeps me from going to bed.
Time outs are occasionally necessary, so let the boys have a couple per game. Two feels reasonable. If a pitcher is taking too much time between throws warn him. Then come up with some sort of balk-like punishment if he does it again. It'll get the point across and maybe bring the ridiculous lengths of some of these games back to around the three hour mark. Because if we keep going at this rate, in another 10 years these 7:10 starts will be ending around midnight. And crankiness is abundant when people don't get enough sleep.