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Jonathan Papelbon doesn't think Yankees-Red Sox games are too long. He's wrong.

Mar 26, 2010, 10:48 AM EDT

The Red Sox and Yankees average game times are the two longest in baseball, and when the two of them get together, forget it. Major League Baseball has asked the teams to try and move things along, but Jonathan Papelbon — asked about the issue by WEEI’s Rob Bradford — doesn’t understand why anyone thinks there’s a problem:

“Have you ever gone to watch a movie and thought, ‘Man, this movie is
so good I wish it would have never ended.’ That’s like a Red
Sox-Yankees game. Why would you want it to end?”

Asked about having to potentially watch a movie in 30-degree
temperatures, the closer offered a solution, simply saying, “Bundle up
and drink beer . . . If you don’t want to be there, don’t be there. Go home. Why are you

I’ll accept his point about bundling up and drinking beer, because that’s good advice regardless. I’ll also grant that, in the pantheon of complaints “this baseball game is too long” is not a major one. If it is really intolerable don’t watch. There’s more to life to baseball. Or so I’m told by people I don’t truly trust.

But really, just because it’s baseball doesn’t mean that we should overlook just how annoying these needlessly interminable Red Sox-Yankees games are for people who work for a living. Sure, go four hours if it’s an ugly slugfest, but there is no excuse for an otherwise clean 3-2 game to last that damn long.

As for Papelbon’s movie analogy, yes, I’d love it if the car chases, dance numbers and fight sequences in my favorite movies lasted forever, but I wouldn’t like it if my favorite movies were extended by scenes of guys looking for their car keys, tying their dancing shoes and stretching.

Which is basically what we get with these long Red Sox-Yankees games. Mound meetings, equipment adjustments, extra bullpen throws and long stares into the catcher before each pitch, often by closers like Papelbon and Mariano Rivera who only throw one damn pitch most of the time anyway.

Get in the box. Throw the pitch. Figure out your signs before the game. We’ll still love it. In fact, we’ll probably love it even more.

  1. BC - Mar 26, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    Papelbon is a chipwich.

  2. dl3mk3 - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    I love that fight scene…

  3. Jim Abbott's Right-Hand Man - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Dance sequences?

  4. Jonny5 - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    I would love to see a rule put in place that limits trips to the mound to 1 trip per inning, per pitcher by the catcher,pitching coach, and manager. That’s a possible 4 times per inning per pitcher. That’s plenty.

  5. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    Watch the “Make ’em laugh” video I linked. I’m not the biggest musical fan on the planet, but if you can’t appreciate that, there’s no helping you.

  6. John - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    I’ll take Paps advice and not go to any Red Sox/Yankees games. 😉

  7. The Common Man - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    We’ll keep an eye out for you, Stingray.

  8. countrychairman - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    dance? of course some call it a fight (that’s 2 players) the rest dance in circles in a circle around the combatants! More fights less dances!!!!!!!!!

  9. nelson - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    hey papelbon, beer sales get cut after the seventh inning.
    i hate that guy.

  10. Utley's hair - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    “. . . If you don’t want to be there, don’t be there. Go home. Why are you complaining.”
    Hey Papsmear, legions of baseball fans are already at home being subjected to the interminable Wanker-BooSux marathons, since, ya know, every damn one of them is on FOX, ESPN, TBS, or whatever national station is airing it. Add the hundreds of requisite Viagra commercials and the alleged Divine right the Sux and Yankers feel they have been granted to take as long as they want to do each and every thing, and the meetings are excruciating.

  11. ecp - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    He has a point about longer games meaning more baseball – except that in this case, longer games actually just mean watching more pitcher and catcher mound meetings, guys adjusting wristbands and crotches after every pitch (swung at or not), stepping out of the box, stepping off the mound, staring in at the catcher for an eternity….

  12. Ralph Kramden - Mar 26, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    I have a question – are Sox-Yankee games long because of slow play, mound visits, adjusting batting gloves (no, wait, Nomar’s not playing any more), etc.? Or are they long because there are more pitches thrown?
    Anyone have data on number of pitches thrown in an average Sox-Yankees game, and how that compares to the league average?
    (captcha: absorbed Florida… that’ll change after Spring training, right?)

  13. Bemused in Boston - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    I’m confused – won’t adding dance sequences INCREASE the length of a game? Not saying I wouldn’t dig watching Papelbon and Rivera in a dance-off, though!

  14. Bob Timmermann - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    If you play games like this one, they’re going to take a while.
    But even a 4-3 game took over 3 1/2 hours to complete. Sabathia threw 123 pitches in just 7 innings and Penny threw 117 in 6.

  15. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    and fight sequences in

    I swear through the first minute of that I said to myself, hmm looks like every Cynthia Rothrock movie I’ve seen. Then she showed up! This may not be a good thing though =\
    Oh and almost every fight scene from Riki Oh is more absurd than that one.

  16. YankeesfanLen - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    I guess people who follow other teams have something weird on their dancecards at 9:30PM, when we’re in the top of the 7th, or, on a quick night, listening to Kate Smith (you can pee if you’re home).
    Do you know how long it takes to go from Bergen County to, say, 57th street at any time of day? On September 20, 2003 I made it to Yankees Stadium from Paramus in 25 minutes- the Guiness people were waiting.
    The people in that other city have a similar dilemma- Had a “Come-to-Jesus” moment the first time I drove 128 and had someone (legally) drive by me on the shoulder at 80mph.
    Everything costs more time and money in these necks of the woods.

  17. lenNY's Yankees - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    “extra bullpen throws and long stares into the catcher before each pitch, often by closers like Papelbon and Mariano Rivera who only throw one damn pitch most of the time anyway.”

  18. TimberLee - Mar 26, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    Thanks for that. I’d rather watch Donald O’Connor than Papelbon – and O’Connor’s dead.

  19. Infinite Wisdom - Mar 26, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    Mr. Calcaterra appreciates the pretty things. As do I.. Like watching the Red Sox’ band of mutants walk off the field in shame, as Derek Jeter holds up Mike Lowell’s gray-haired scalp, shrieking victoriously. THAT would be pretty.
    CAPTCHA – the humus
    Hm.. Never been a real big fan of humus.

  20. Lawrence From Plattekill - Mar 26, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Ralphie Boy, that is an excellent question.
    I went to and found the number of pitches for all the Yankee-Red Sox games in 2009. I put them into an Excel spreadsheet and if the math is OK, the Yankees threw an average of 161.9444444 pitches per game and the Red Sox and average of 173.4444444 pitches per game during the 18 games, for a total average of 335.3888889 pitches per game.
    I couldn’t find the major league average in 2009, and I didn’t want to have to add it up. I did find reference to a 2001 average of about 285 total pitches per game.
    If 285 pitches represents 2 and a half hours, then 335 pitches would be roughly 17.5% more than that, or approximately 26 and a half minutes longer.
    So it does look like the increase is from extra pitches, not stepping out of the box.

  21. Mike - Mar 26, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    it’s amazing how petty we’ve become. people have nothing better to do but complain about everything. listen, if you aren’t a Yankee or Red Sox fan, you probably don’t enjoy these games, but if you are a fan, you learn to live with it the next day, i think anyone should be able to make it through a days work with only 5 hours sleep, i usually don’t get that much sleep anyway.

  22. Bill - Mar 26, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    When the Yankees and Red Sox are playing meaningful games that stretch until the early morning hours and the tension builds and builds becomes more unbearable with each passing inning, there is no more compelling event in all of life, not to mention in all of sports. Great baseball is truly a game that transcends all concerns about time and if you don’t believe that you are either a non-fan or a sports writer.

  23. FringeDivision - Mar 26, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    Was that Scrotum hair? You sure sound like one! Aahhh!!! The jealousy has already started even though regular season games haven’t! It’s a well known fact, that the games between the 27 time, World Series Champions, the Legendary NY Yankees against the lesser, but still well known Baaston Redsux are the Greatest Games in any and all professional sports. Unless you are a fan of either of the Yankees or the Redsux, you are meaningless and insignificant! There’s a good reason why the Yankees and the Redsux games are on every single channel, it’s because they arethe greatest Professional Sports franchises in all of Sports, at least the NY Yankees are, and I guess the Redsux are also. The World wants to see these games, and just who would want to see a game between the girls from philly and the nationals???NOBODY!!! Hell, the only reason philly have sell outs is when the Legendary NY Yankees come to town, that’s it! Oh, by the way, weren’t the NY Yankees just in philly recently,and just who won their 27 World Series Championship????? Yeah, I thought so…Hehehe

  24. John - Mar 26, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Red Sox/Yankee games just seem so long because they seem to be playing each other on TV along with being the only two teams ESPN talks about and as a result the U.S. public (minus all the Yankee/Red Sox ditto heads) gets sick of watching and hearing about them.

  25. NJLurker - Mar 26, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    That’s funny…it seems to me that ESPN is always talking about the Cardinals.
    Look, if you don’t like the Yankees or the Red Sox and you think the games are too long… DON’T WATCH. The folks at the game don’t seem to mind at all.

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