Day: November 20, 2017

Doodling, dawdling starters and nervous managers inflate game times

Greg Maddux used just 76 pitches and two hours, eight minutes of game time to beat the Cubs 4-1 in 1997.

Greg Maddux used just 76 pitches and two hours, eight minutes of game time to beat the Cubs 4-1 in 1997.

It’s the starting pitcher, stupid.

All the in- and off-season hang-wringing about three-hour-plus game times that drive away Millennials and bore tons of TV viewers is misplaced. Solutions like limiting the number of manager’s and catcher’s visits, and even pitch clocks, don’t get to the heart of the problem.

Unfortunately, baseball would have to revert to its 20th century style to drive the game times back toward the two-hour, 40 minute mark or even less.

Starting pitchers working quickly and efficiently for seven or eight innings. And why not all nine? One or at the very most two relief pitchers, preferably starting the inning fresh instead of the usual stall-ball of a mid-inning change.

Which will be the manager who will revert to the good ol’ days rather than panic at the first baserunner in the fifth inning, or believe every arm in the bullpen is there to be used at any time, and we don’t care if we run out of pitchers in extra innings?

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