Umpire Joe West speeding things up.Baseball fans want the game sped up. Owners may publicly proclaim that they do as well, but must secretly love 3+hour games that allow fans at the ballpark more time to shop for t-shirts, scarf sausages and guzzle beers. Cue Ted DiBiase: "Money, Money, Money."
Commissioner Bud Selig has repeatedly mentioned that speeding up the game was one of his priorities. Still, it was surprising to read, as originally reported by NorthJersey.com (bro) and the New York Post, Umpire Joe West publicly call out the Yankees and Red Sox for their pace of play that makes time seem to pass through porridge.
"I understand it's strategy," West said. "I understand they're trying to set up the count and take so many pitches...They're the two clubs that don't try to pick up the pace."
"It's pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play."
In one embarrassing sequence from Tuesday night, Home Plate Ump Angel Hernandez denied Derek Jeter's request for time. Jeter stepped out of the box anyway.
There's no need to be stepping out of the box to take a few practice hacks after every pitch, this aint the World Series, it's the regular season. It's not like basketball players get to step off the free-throw line to practice their stroke in-between free throws. NLF kickers don't get to take a couple of practice run-ups to the holder on the field. Soccer players don't get a couple of phantom kicks at goal before a penalty shot.
Here's a simple proposal that would provide a bright-line rule and speed the game up without making a fundamental change to the game: Allow the batter exactly one time-out per at-bat and allow the pitcher exactly one chance to step off during an at-bat. That's it, otherwise stay in the box and stay on the rubber and play ball. There's no need to be stepping out of the box to take a few practice hacks after every pitch, this aint the World Series, it's the regular season.