Umpire may have made the right call

Posted April 13, 2010, at 12:39 a.m.

As the baseball season enters its second week, a few thoughts/requests for the baseball gods.

Umpire Joe West’s comments regarding the lengthy games played between the Red Sox and Yankees deserves thought.

He thinks it is embarrassing for games to take four hours or more, with long count after long count and delay after delay on the mound and in the box.

The Yankees and Red Sox have responded with other ideas, but the whole matter raises an interesting discussion.

The players obviously play to win and if taking a ton of pitches and working the counts deep accomplishes that, so be it.

On the other hand, baseball is supposed to be about entertainment. Do these long games detract from that goal?

There are many fans, no matter how loyal to the teams, who never see the end of games because they have to work the next day and can’t stay up that late.

There is no way baseball is going to attract a younger audience that has grown up on fast- moving video games creating attention spans of zero.

They are not enamored with ballgames that drag on and on into the night as the pitcher and catcher play catch.

Is West right that the players need to move the games along and not treat every pitch as life or death?

Toronto manager Cito Gaston wants his players to go up hacking. That doesn’t mean wild swings, but it does mean move the bat off your shoulder and try to get a hit before the count is 3-2.

Another matter concerns the lovefests beyond second base that have become part of the pregame ritual around MLB.

When the players take their final jogs, one team runs from the first base side and the other from third. They inevitably end up behind second base, hugging, high-fiving and socializing as if it were a family reunion.

There is still a no-fraternization rule on the books in MLB.

When the players are dressed and on the field, they are not supposed to socialize with opposing players, not matter how many beers they had with them the night before.

We all know the game today is a business that pits the owners against the players more than team against team, but for the love of competition, at least act a little like you might care about beating the other guy.

Sportsmanship is fine, but let it come in the way the game is played, not from the “give the guy a hug” routine.

These submissions are earnestly presented to the baseball gods for consideration before the four-hour game becomes the norm (not including hug time at second).

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