It has been over a week, but the dust has not settled concerning the controversial remarks uttered by veteran MLB umpire, Joe West. West released a statement during the Yankees/Red Sox series saying that,
"They're [Yankees and Red Sox] two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest? It's pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play."
I had a good amount of respect for West up until when he made this statement. We all know the stats by now, but its worth mentioning again. The average duration for a Major League stands at a few minutes under 3 hours, about 2:55. A clash between these two teams has gone as long as 3:49 and never under 3:00 flat. Typically, when planning to view a Yankees/Red Sox game, plan on it lasting 4 hours.
Now I can understand the point to be made concerning pace, but the pace is a result composed of the batter, catcher, and pitcher, not one lone party.
What I dont understand is why they are so set on changing a game that has lasted over 100 years?! Why is baseball fine the way it is now? Because there is no clock. If you want to know why the two best clubs take the longest it is BECAUSE THEY ARE THE BEST CLUBS!!!! I know the analogy is a stretch, but do you rush a surgeon? If everyone is going to complain about how much baseball players are paid, then let them earn it. Furthermore, are you telling me that fans who pay good money for their tickets should get less baseball? They are paying for a game that is determined by outs, not minutes. This is a quote from mlb.com and you can follow the link to verify,
"At the Major League level, salaries range from approximately $84,000 to $300,000 per year." http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/umpires/feature.jsp?feature=qa4. You can find the quote at the bottom of the page...understandably MLB tries to hide that fact at the bottom.
And they complain the player compensation is not justified...Drop the time limit topic across the board. Don't complain about how long Yanks/Sox games take, don't whisper about realignment of the divisions or League jumping. The game has survived this way for over 100 years. I'm not trying to preach tradition as justification, I am saying this great game should not fall to "change for the sake of change" as other sports do by introducing new rules every season.
It makes sense that games between or involving these two teams should last longer and if they last longer, the pace will be different from games involving other teams. There is just as much chance of the pace being faster than there is of being slower. The Season Opener on April 4th saw both teams trading leads almost inning by inning. Apparently this pace is still to slow for West. Or is it the time he is concerned about in this game. Either way, the game in question saw multiple lead changes, fast pace, and still lasted almost 4 hours.
The only way to guarantee a faster pace or shorter games is to introduce a clock, which the game of baseball SHOULD NEVER HAVE! You can introduce bigger strike zones, or allot balls and strikes as punishments, but you cannot prevent the hitter from fouling off 7 or 8 pitches resulting in a 5 minute+ at-bat.
Also, it is "pathetic and embarrassing" that Joe West can say such a thing in the manner that he did and not get reprimanded. If a player made a similar personally insulting comment to the League or the officials, they would be fined and suspended, as should Joe West.
I am a die-hard Yankees fan, born in New York and I have been viewing countless discussion boards and forum posts regarding this subject, and if Yankees fans and Red Sox fans share the same perspective, you know this story, this topic, is ridiculous.