By William Coppola
Thank goodness that there was another meeting of baseball owners and the commissioner to discuss rule changes to speed up the game. With the average time of a nine-inning game last year at three hours, a four- minute increase over 2015, something must be done. This is totally ridiculous. How can they expect the fans to suffer through an extra four minutes?
With a total attendance of 73,159,044 last year, that’s almost 300 million minutes of “people time” added on to the season. No wonder there is such a concern to speed up the game.
Here are just a few things you can do in four minutes: Brush your teeth, boil water, microwave a bag of popcorn, buy a cup of coffee at a deli (Light no sugar), listen to the President talk, (wait, don’t think anyone can do that) or make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
My oh my, what a dilemma.
Here a some of the proposed changes for this year that are being discussed: A pitch clock and hitters staying in the box, pitching change limitations (Oh boy, that should make the game interesting), trips to the mound (Guess they can give the pitcher an earpiece like a quarterback), intentional walks where no pitches will be thrown (average time to throw four balls is 35 seconds), improve instant replay (Yea like get rid of it!) and seven-inning games.
That’s a good one, because the average for those 30 million dollar starters is seven innings per game. Wow, now they can have complete games. The metrics guys can include that stat into their cornucopias of useless information!
The real reason is not the players taking too much time to entertain us. You know what slows up the game? TV advertisements. Take one minute of advertisement out for every half inning and you could save 18 minutes per game. But that will never happen.
It has and always will be about the money. It’s a game about making money, never forget that. We spend a lot of money to be entertained, and the owners know it. But the real money is in TV advertisement.
When teams are getting hundreds of millions of dollars in TV advertising revenue, they are not about to cut into any of that time. Fans have less of a problem watching a three hour and four minute game, then they do with a one minute advertisement for relief of indigestion.
You know what gives us baseball fans indigestion? Making stupid changes to this beautiful sport, just to speed up the game.
William Coppola begins his 41st year in the game. He has been a coach, instructor and advanced scout.