Baseball’s Back and Jim Leyland Agrees With Me
There's a "where are they now" feature on former Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, in the Detroit Free-Press today. Standard stuff, reminiscing about his 50 plus year career in baseball. Kind of timely given baseball is (fingers crossed) back, beginning on Thursday. But the writer of the feature also asked Leyland about Major League Baseball's and Commissioner Rob Manfred's initiative to speed up the game, and Leyland, true to form, didn't hold back.
"I believe the way to speed up the game is to getting the hitter in the batter’s box. Guys are (expletive) around waiting for their walk-up music." - Jim Leyland, in the Detroit Free-Press.
I realize a semi-retired 75-year-old former manager saying this is going to be perceived as "get off my lawn", but it deserves an "Amen!!!" just the same.
I love baseball. But baseball, while always best enjoyed at a somewhat leisurely pace, has gotten to the point of being unwatchable. Anyone who loves it has their opinion on why that is, and pretty much every reason is a part of the problem. Lengthy commercial breaks, never ending pitching changes...they're all causes, but in an era where all the players grew up on video games and instant gratification/zero attention span, these are the same players who move at a snail's pace.
Leyland is right. Get your rear end in the batter's box. And pitchers, quit diddling around, too. Now. I was watching an exhibition game on ESPN last night from Chicago. No fans in the stands, and I don't believe there was any walk-up music, and still the game dragged. I love baseball history. Watch any video from a game from the 60's and most games are barely over two hours. Now, they routinely over three hours. Who in the world is going to sit through that?
This is a perfect opportunity to get things right, starting with batters hustling their hineys into the box, pitchers not diddling, and just playing the game.