Baseball is terrific game just how it is

The push to speed up the games is misguided. No new rules are needed. Umpires can, if necessary, move games along.


Baseball is a great game that flows. Each pitch is dramatic, suspense builds throughout the game as the situations change.

Every player on the field has several roles, and those roles constantly change throughout the game.

Baseball is a simple, yet complex, game. And it's why so many in America have loved baseball for well over a century.

The game, however, is not meant to be played with a time limit. It's over when it's over -- when nine innings have been played.

But the pace of baseball games isn't necessarily in sync with today's multi-tasking, get-it-yesterday approach to life. As a result, there have been some folks grumbling at the length of Major League Baseball games. These grumbles got a bit loud last week as MLB umpire Joe West took the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to task for the length of games in their season-opening series. He called it "pathetic and embarrassing" for the players to drag out the games.

Commissioner Bud Selig said he, too, was concerned about the pace of the game.

So, are we headed for a time limit or a host of new rules aimed at speeding up games?

We certainly hope not. It is not necessary.

The Yankees-Red Sox games that fanned the flames of discontent added up to a terrific series. The pitching, hitting and fielding were outstanding. The games were competitive, interesting and dramatic.

The fans at Boston's Fenway Park loved every minute of the three-hour-plus games. Then again, they are real fans. The first game of that series was the 551st consecutive sellout at Fenway. Night after night 37,000 people fill that stadium. The pace of the game isn't a problem in Boston.

Perhaps folks enjoy going to the ballpark to get a break from their crazy, hectic lives -- and not just in Boston. More than a few Walla Wallans travel to Safeco at least once a year to take in a Mariners game. They want to enjoy the experience, not be hustled in and out as if they were at an amusement park.

But if there is a problem with a game dragging on the umpires -- Joe West, for example -- have the authority to take action. Umpires don't have to OK timeouts for players who want to step out of the batter's box after every pitch, they can speed up visits to the mound by coaches and catchers. In doing so, however, they should use good judgment and allow the teams an opportunity to compete.

Baseball is a terrific game to play and watch. Forget the multi-tasking and enjoy.


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