Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner and partner Michael Gordon have been named to a seven-man committee assigned to study one of baseball's great issues: the pace of the game.
Details on new committee formed to study pace of game: pic.twitter.com/iTlCzftt3G— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) September 22, 2014
Whether or not that issue is as significant a problem as it's been made out to be will depend on who you ask. Some fans consider it more of a good thing. But if you're talking to Cowboy Joe West and his aching knees, it's priority number one ahead of all those drunk drivers and the presence of folks like Josh Lueke.
Unsurprisingly, Major League Baseball would also be glad if you'd pay plenty of attention to how long Jonathan Papelbon is taking between pitches and not those other things.
So Werner and Gordon will go about their business. Certainly, some Red Sox pitchers could stand to throw over to first about half as often as they do, or just take less time getting set on the mound and staring in towards home plate. And of course we could all do with shorter commerc--no, wait, I'm being told we cannot in fact do with those. Nevermind.
Baseball is not a frenetic game. A single contest will feature hundreds of smaller contests each requiring some amount of setup time. There's no clock involved, just 27 outs per side that will take as long as they take, and perhaps even more if those 27 can't decide things. Can it be done quicker? Yes, but the problem is overstated. It's ridiculous how often we hear comments about four-hour games in the middle of 11-9 barn burners or tense 13-inning affairs. For some reason baseball's best games are the subject of the harshest criticism in this department.
Something tells me in some amount of time we'll hear that the league is instituting greater restrictions on time between pitches and instructing umpires to enforce it, resulting in free balls being given away and the outcome of games being taken over by attention seekers like ol' Joe West. Part of me fears that it's going to be worse, and that this committee is actually a targeted strike against the two-minute chunks that replays take up in order to avoid invalidating whole nine-inning games with major mistakes from the umpires.
Whatever the case, it means we can expect a whole lot more noise about a subject that deserves very little.