On Monday morning, in the bottom of the 10th inning the New York Yankees lost the rubber game 3-2 to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
This game went four and a half hours, which is not surprising considering the match-up but tonight’s game was painfully long and no fault of the Yankees.
Even if the Yankees had won, there is no excuse for Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett to take almost a minute and sometimes more between pitches.
ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" Bobby Valentine pointed out this fact to anyone who was still awake watching the broadcast.
The Official Rules on MLB.com state the following on this issue:
When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call a ball. The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.
The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.
This is a crucial component because the umpire did not apply it, nor did he warn Beckett or Red Sox Manager Terry Francona to speed up the game.
My complaint has nothing to do with the fact the Yankees lost, because the Red Sox beat them in the end. The problem is the ending happened way too late and that is why the rule was implemented.
Look any diehard baseball fan appreciates how the Red Sox and Yankees grind it out when they play each other, but usually the delays are mutually both teams’ faults.
Tonight, Beckett was so sluggish it was excruciating to watch and according to MLB officials it was unfair too.
On a personal note, I finally got my mother to watch a game on my never-ending quest to convert her dislike for baseball. Thanks to Beckett any progress made over the last decade got squashed as she was bored and in the second inning and was asking, “How many innings left?”
Otherwise, the Yankee players can spend all-day Monday stewing about why they couldn't hold off the Red Sox, again.
In one sense it sure does keep a team humble and that is putting it politely.
The fact that the Yankees can beat any team in baseball except Boston is just plain unacceptable.
The bottom line for the Yankees is they better figure out the problem before they head back to Fenway on August 30th, as nothing upsets New York fans more than losing to Boston.
Essentially….this game was too long to lose.