April 9, 2010

Joe West Calls Lengthy Red Sox-Yankees Games "A Disgrace To Baseball"

Jeff Roberts, Record:
Umpire Joe West blasted the Yankees and Red Sox just before Wednesday's game, accusing the two clubs of being "pathetic and embarrassing" in dragging the pace of games and refusing to work with umpires. ...

"They're the two clubs that don't try to pick up the pace," said West, chief of the umpiring crew that worked the three-game series in Boston. He was the home plate umpire Sunday. "They're two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest?

"It's pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play. ... The commissioner of baseball says he wants the pace picked up."
West also said that umpires are evaluated on how quickly the games move. So that's it. It's been obvious that the accuracy of their calls has no effect on their job security.

The Globe's Peter Abraham (who is doing fantastic work at the Extra Bases blog) writes that it's "somewhat ironic that Joe West would be calling anybody out for being embarrassing. But that's another story."

I don't have anything noteworthy to say about this except there have been complaints about the excessive lengths of baseball games for at least 100 years. And somehow the game has survived.

Plus if the umpires called pitches according to the actual strike zone that is in the fucking rule book they supposedly have to follow, games would be at least 30-45 minutes faster. Calling nothing above the belt a strike is like calling a runner safe at first when the throw beats him by five feet. Or ruling a base hit if the outfielder makes a snow-cone catch.

The SoSH discussion includes strike zone plots for each home plate umpire. That is the disgrace.

13 comments:

L-girl said...

I find it maddening when official times of games from 20, 30, 50 years ago are compared to today. Subtract the time of friggin commercials and see what you get!

The single biggest factor of lengthening game times is advertising. And we know they'll never reduce that that!

Section 36 said...

I had to laugh out loud when I say Joe West making that comment. Wasn't he behind the plate for the longest of the three games? If he had called a strike now and then, maybe the game would have moved along.

I will say that they Yankees do seem to enjoy stall tactics. They're notorious for visits to the mound, or throws to first, just to give a reliever time to warm.

I'm with L-girl too. They should record "running time" for games. Without commercial breaks, and God Bless America...I bet the games themselves aren't taking all that long.

nick said...

I'm thinking MLB needs to really push a serious amphetamine regiment on the players union. Get those guys so buzzed they won't stand still for a moment. Batters will swing at anything. Baserunners will get tired of standing there and just start off for the next base. Fielders, well, they'll get a jump on the ball.

redsock said...

Dumbo makes a ton of trips to the mound, but so did Varitek.

Maybe West has a point -- now that these Sox/Yanks games go on so long, no one goes to see them and ESPN doesn't care about showing them.

There are rules that would speed up games. However, the umpires, including "Yankee Joe" West, have refused to enforce them.

redsock said...

Also nice to know that apparently the only criteria MLB uses to evaluate umpires is "time of game".

I would love, in the next BOS/NY game West is part of, if the players on both sides took shitloads of time, made dozens of mound visits, called time periodically to run in and "fix" their glove, etc.

L-girl said...

Also nice to know that apparently the only criteria MLB uses to evaluate umpires is "time of game".

Does anyone actually say it's the only criteria? Or that it's one of the criteria?

s1c said...

As for the other story - Joe West released a country Album - talk about embarrassing!!! They played part of it on WEEI today, I almost puked.

Call the damn strike zone the way it is supposed to be called and watch players start hacking away.

redsock said...

Does anyone actually say it's the only criteria? Or that it's one of the criteria?

"West said special emphasis has not been placed on speeding up games this season. But umpires are evaluated on how quickly the games move, he said."

Not likely the sole criteria. But it shouldn't even be on the list.

FenFan said...

...if the umpires called pitches according to the actual strike zone that is in the fucking rule book they supposedly have to follow, games would be at least 30-45 minutes faster...

Made a similar point elsewhere. It's maddening watching all these pitches at the knee or just above the letters called as balls. It doesn't help, either, when you have guys like C.B. Buckner calling an inconsistent strike zone. Force the batters to take the lumber off their shoulders.

Of course, as it has already been pointed out, the commercial breaks make it even longer. Case in point: the minor league hockey games I attend usually last about a half-hour less than an NHL game. Wonder why? Maybe because they take only one extended break per period?

9casey said...

Everyone is quick to blame the batters, that they step out to much and adjust everything.

In my opion the pitchers always control the flow of the game, guys like Mark Buerhle and Roy Halladay rarely ever go over 3 hours.

Guys like Beckett and Dice-K take longer.

redsock said...

And then on NESN you've got the Amica Zone that's complete bullshit because it depicts the zone from under the hitter's belt to the top of his knees. Thus, it makes the umpire look reasonable even as he enforces (at most) half of the rule book zone.

redsock said...

casey: like i said, there are rules on the books right now. remember* they made a huge deal about pitchers delivering the ball within 12 seconds. then we never heard about it again. (we know bot got fined a few times, but i don't think a pitcher ever got assessed a "ball" because of wasting time.)

(* just checked -- shit, it was way back in feb 2007!!!)

redsock said...

... don't forget wakefield. he takes so long between pitches, he's a bigger menace to the game than steroids.