by Bob Branco
Do you remember when Major League baseball games averaged just over two hours long? They seemed to be over very fast, yet we enjoyed them and looked forward to the next one. As the years passed, these games got longer and longer. I suppose there were lots of reasons why, and I could analyze these reasons. Instead, I’m going to talk about why Major league Baseball should not be responsible for doing something about it.
Several years ago when Major league Baseball acknowledged how long the games have gotten, it believed that it needed to adopt new rules in order to shorten the games. I’ve heard such proposals as: Limit the number of practice pitches that a relief pitcher throws from the mound after coming into a game. Limit the amount of time between pitches. Ask the batter not to step out of the batter’s box between pitches. Limit the number of pitching changes that a manager makes.
While these proposals are very well thought out, don’t we already have four umpires on the field who are there to control the games? Why should Major League Baseball make new rules when our own umpires can move the games along? Have we forgotten about the umpires? What are they on the field for? If new rules didn’t lengthen the games in the first place, why should we have another set of new rules to shorten them? Major League Baseball never told pitchers that they had to take their time. They did it themselves. Managers were never told that they had to micromanage. They decided to do it on their own. Did Major league Baseball make television networks require more time for their commercial ads? Of course they didn’t.
In my opinion, umpires have been forgotten about somewhere along the line, and it’s time to bring them back into the picture where they can take full advantage of all of their responsibilities. When it’s time to play ball, you play ball! This is how games will be shortened as they once were.
About the Author
Bob Branco resides in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is a self-published author of four books. He is a community organizer, tutors persons with visual impairments, and has written columns for local and international organizations. Bob’s web site is www.dvorkin.com/robertbranco/.