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Yankees fans don’t mind watching four hour games at all, thank you very much

Sep 2, 2011, 9:37 AM EDT

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Getty Images

I didn’t watch the Yankees-Red Sox game for a number of reasons, but I can gather from the box score and what people are saying today that it was pretty thrilling.  And no matter what I think of the length of these affairs, I should probably just put a sock in my complaints.  Why? This tweet from Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal:

Appears to be a strong chance that last night’s 4 hr+ NYY-BOS epic will be YES’ highest rated game of the year. Will know more later today.

I don’t think this stuff translates to the national broadcasts in the postseason, as non-Yankees or Red Sox fans just aren’t going to want to stay up until 1AM for an ALCS game like this. But to that we should probably just say “who cares?”  It goes back to what I always say when playoff ratings come up: baseball is a local thing. Last night’s game proved it.  If you love the Yankees and the Red Sox, that stuff is manna from heaven.  If you don’t, it ain’t.

I don’t, so it ain’t, but that’s a subjective aesthetic opinion.  And even if I’d like to see baseball do something to move these things along, I must concede that failing to do so will not represent the end of the world.

  1. kopy - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    I stand by my theory that the incredible length of the game increases the ratings because it increases the odds of somebody tuning into it. These games are lasting until 11:30. I watched part of the game, even though I don’t really care about it, because I was watching the Badgers football game and turned to YES because the football game (which had started at 8!!!) and every other prime time show worth watching had ended.

  2. yankeesfanlen - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Much like scotch, Jews for Buddha, and bungee jumping, watching Yankees-Red Sox games is an acquired taste.

  3. tacklemeelmo - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    I stand by my theory of people falling asleep in the 4th inning and forgetting to turn off their TV’s.

    • indaburg - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:37 AM

      Ambien has nothing on these games.

  4. ThisIsBaseball - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Yankees fans endured it to watch Montero do something. We waited a long time for him to be called up. Had it not been for him, the ratings wouldn’t be so great. Four hour games are exciting, when they don’t feel like four hour games. But when it’s Beckett vs CC, and there’s 30 seconds between each pitch and each one throws over 100 pitches, it’s painfully slow to the point I yell at my tv.

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    I thought it was a thrilling game, and it was also fun to listen to Bob Costas and Jim Kaat say all the things that I just KNEW was irritating the crap out of almost everybody who reads this board. Costas was talking about voting for the MVP right before the World Series, because there’s value in a player’s playoff stats, and all I could think about was the uproar on here with regards to Bautista being the MVP.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:55 AM

      He also said that he feels a player on a playoff or contending team has a significant edge over a guy who plays for an also ran in terms of MVP voting.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 9:56 AM

        Yeah, I think I hear the collective groans when Costas said he would NEVER vote for a guy like Kemp because the Dodgers are also-rans. And I don’t believe either him or Kaat even MENTIONED Bautista for AL MVP. LOL

      • proudlycanadian - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:15 AM

        I would never vote for Costas either because he is not on a winning team.

    • FC - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:05 AM

      Costas was talking about voting for the MVP right before the World Series

      There are already MVP awards for post-season play, this would kind of alter the landscape wouldn’t it?

      • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:08 AM

        That’s what Kaat said…but Costas was talking about how the only reason they vote after the regular season is because they used to just go right to the World Series, which was interleague and now that they have NLDS and NLCS and they should count for something since they are in the same league. What ever it was, it was pretty ridiculous.

  6. daisycutter1 - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    I think we’re all just used to it now.

    When the game goes only, say, 3 1/2 hours, I kind of feel cheated.

  7. ditto65 - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    I really do not understand all the hubbub obout the length of Yanks/Sox games.
    Your team plays faster? Good for you.
    Don’t like when the game takes “too long? Watch something else. With present technology and programming you can watch just about any game you want.
    Until you can come up with a consistent way to time the period between pitches, it shouldn’t be enforced.
    There is no clock in baseball. And there shouldn’t be.

    • kopy - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:19 AM

      This is very defensive.
      Yes, my team is faster, and so is everyone else’s.
      The games taking too long isn’t just a complaint from fans of other teams, it’s also from some umpires and players on the teams in question.
      Pitch clocks have been used before in lower levels of baseball and have worked just fine, but I don’t think they are necessary. The ump can also just count off 12 seconds either with hand motions, or simply in his head, and award a ball if the pitch hasn’t been thrown. Similar to how, in basketball, players have 10 seconds to shoot a free throw or 5 seconds to inbound a pass. No clock is needed for these, but if players take too long they will get called. The idea behind enforcing it is if that umps start doing it, no one will break the rule anymore.

      • kopy - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:20 AM

        http://frathousesports.com/college-baseball-pitch-clock-rules/

      • ditto65 - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:42 AM

        Umpires are complaining? It is their job to enforce the rules! They don’t.

        If players are complaining, than they should speed up the game. They don’t.

        Your team is faster, and so is everyone else’s? So exactly why do you care about Yanks/Sox games?

        If your answer is that your team must sometimes play one of these teams, than your manager should protest the slow pace. But, sadly for you, they don’t.

        I don’t watch basketball. I find it boring at any pace, fast or slow. So the ref’s enforcement of their rules and the impact on the game is lost on me. Sorry.

      • kopy - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:44 AM

        There is only one rule and it only covers time between the batter being “alert” and the pitcher delivering. There are many, many other ways in which time is wasted that there is no rule against.

        Baseball is a team sport. Mark Teixeira can’t speed up the game on his own.

        The current playoff and salary format, and ESPNs dominance make me. Plus, I just like baseball.

        See point number 1.

        Well then look at the rules I posted for the NCAA pitch clock that governs time between a pitcher receiving the ball and throwing it, and can also penalize hitters. It also controls time between innings.

      • ditto65 - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:39 PM

        Oh, no rules to speed up the other aspects of the game? Too bad. There is no clock in baseball. Nor should there be.

        Is it “players” or “player” complaining? If it is the plural, than they could collectively take care of the problem. If it is but one player? STFU and deal with it.

        ESPN? Playoffs? Salary? Ummm, ok.

        You cite the pitch clock as the solution, but Chris showed us that the pitchers were well within the rules when the bases were unoccupied. There were baserunners in 16 of the 18 half innings of the game, eliminating the 20 second rule you cherish for much of the game.

    • kellyb9 - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      “Until you can come up with a consistent way to time the period between pitches, it shouldn’t be enforced.” I found this great wikipedia article on this strange unit they are trying out called seconds… here’s the linlk – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second – fascinating stuff.

      • ditto65 - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:45 AM

        I am familiar with the second hand. I was referring to the umpires, who already have enough trouble calling a ball or a strike.

      • ditto65 - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:51 AM

        ” I was counting when the hitters stood “alert in the box” and when nobody was on base, the pitchers took between 6 and 7 seconds to throw the ball. Once someone got on base, this time went up to 12-13 seconds once the batter was “alert in the box”.” – Chris

        So the pitchers were within the rules?:

        “When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.” – Rules

  8. yankeesfanlen - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Another thing to be considered if this is the highest rated game is that there are 600,000 households without power that weren’t last week. So John & Suzyn must have had 200,000 more listeners on WCBS-AM as well.
    Exciting game? Sh!t yes!
    Would Lester break in first coupla innings with all those RISP?
    Would AJ revert to form after Pedroia”s 2 run homer?
    Would Montero hit a GS in his first AB?
    How much of a rally would Martin’s triple create?
    How good is Soriano in the 7th?
    Mo loads the bases in the bottom of the ninth with Gonzalez up-what happens?
    All this compressed into a mere 4:21

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:17 AM

      I did not expect sarcasm from you Len.

  9. Victor's Secret - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    I was at the game last night, and it was completely brutal. After reading HBT comments yesterday, I started timing the length between pitches, and realized they were averaging 2 pitches a minute (~26 seconds between pitches). There was a 6 pitch at bat between Aceves and Cano that took 6 minutes and ended in a grounder to second. I love baseball, and Fenway, and it was a gorgeous night, but it’s incredibly hard to stay interested in the game when 1-2-3 innings take 15 minutes to complete.

    • proudlycanadian - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:19 AM

      You sure had a lot of time to order more beer and hotdogs.

    • ThisIsBaseball - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:24 AM

      It used to be worse when Jorge would go out to the mound after every pitch.

  10. kellyb9 - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    The television ratings have nothing to do with the length of the game. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. People tuning in have no clue how long the game is going to go for, and besides – it’s actually a really important game, so I’d hope the rating would be good.

    • kopy - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:46 AM

      Television ratings measure how many people tune into a program at any given time during that program, so yes, length matters. Like I said at the top: watching an entire football game that started an hour after the the Yankees, and still catching the final 20 minutes of the Yankees game because it was still on, made me a contributor toward the ratings when I wouldn’t have been able to if the game lasted less than 4 hours.

      • kellyb9 - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:35 PM

        Further proof that I don’t understand television ratings. Considering the shoes that periodically come in on top, I’m not sure I want to understand them. Thanks for filling in the gaps Kopy.

      • kellyb9 - Sep 2, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        shows…. shows was the word i was looking for.

  11. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    As I said yesterday, I think the blame should be shared between the hitters and pitchers. I was counting when the hitters stood “alert in the box” and when nobody was on base, the pitchers took between 6 and 7 seconds to throw the ball. Once someone got on base, this time went up to 12-13 seconds once the batter was “alert in the box”.

    The problem is that the hitters step out, adjust their gloves, spit, adjust their cups, spit, then they have to get back into the box, but they don’t just get back in…they have to dig in, and I respect Jeter, but God it annoys me when he puts that hand up at the umpire until HE is ready to go. Ridiculous. Watch a guy like Doc…he stands on the rubber and once the batter looks up at him, the pitch is on its way…after he waited 15 seconds for the hitter to do everything he could to take him out of his rhythm.

    • ditto65 - Sep 2, 2011 at 10:50 AM

      ” I was counting when the hitters stood “alert in the box” and when nobody was on base, the pitchers took between 6 and 7 seconds to throw the ball. Once someone got on base, this time went up to 12-13 seconds once the batter was “alert in the box”.”

      So the pitchers were within the rules?:

      “When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.”

    • daisycutter1 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      The umpires allow the batters to call time and step out. Actually, a few times recently I’ve seen a batter try to call time, the umpire didn’t allow it, and in came the pitch…often for a strike.

      That there is excessive time between pitches is really all on the umpires, or perhaps the way the rules are written.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      No ditto, when runners were on base, the pitchers weren’t within the rules using my rudimentary 1,2,3 human stopwatch. But what’s to stop a pitcher from throwing over to first on the 11th second? Will that be illegal? How about the step-off to fool the runner on first? I am not even sure how they handle the clock when runners are on base, but you can’t use the same 12 second rules with runners on…can you? Maybe? Maybe not.

      • ditto65 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:26 AM

        “When the bases are unoccupied…”

        The 12 second rule is not enforced with runners on base, only empty bases.

    • jimbo1949 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:28 AM

      Reading is Fundamental
      .
      “When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball.

  12. jimbo1949 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Complaining about four hour games? Do you have but one location on your TV tuner?
    Were you at the game and thought the pattern would change just because you were there?
    .
    Excuse me, have you complaints about the length of a Springsteen concert? Grateful Dead? Hot Tuna? Were you in attendance and unaware of the situation? Did you keep staring at your watch or did you revel in the glory of it all?
    .
    If your idea of a great game is where everybody swings at the first pitch because the umpire is going to call it a strike regardless. Where each team involved is mired in the bottom of the division and the players can’t wait for hunting season. A game where nobody gives a shit about anything but personal numbers. Well rejoice. Your time of the year approaches. Playing out the string is only a couple weeks away.
    .
    Two hour games of meaningless baseball played because they have to be is my vision of hell. Games played with passion and proficiency are timeless in my opinion. A well played game takes as long as it takes. There is no clock in baseball, why artificially impose one.

    • ditto65 - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:09 AM

      I wish I could two thumbs up that.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      I agree with that…no clocks!!!!! That’s part of what makes baseball so great. However, the occasional not giving a time out to a hitter is perfectly fine with me.

  13. FC - Sep 2, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    “…so there I was, with my elephant gun held at chest level as the beast looked me in the eyes. It showed no hesitation and sprinted immediately towards me. I calmly raised my weapon and put him in my sites. As it was about to make the leap that would spell certain death for me I pulled the trigger. The shot went just under the neck and propelled it backward and fell on the soft grass. I hauled the corpse, skinned it and that’s how this rug currently adorns my fireplace”. Craig adjusted his bathrobe and crossed his legs, puffing a bubble as he finished his tale.

    “So… let me get this straight, this was at Citizens Bank Park? And you shot the Phanatic? Craig you now that’s a guy in a suit right?”, said Tiffany.

    “HE started it!” exlcaimed Craig, just a touch defensive about the topic. “It’s a Jungle out there in Philly! You can never be too care- Oh wait he’s toeing the rubber.” Craig turned to the 70″ LED flat screen mounted inset at the wall above the fireplace displaying a baseball game.

    Tiffany turned as well reaching for her soda. “What’s the pitch count again? 2-1? It’s easy to lose track of these things. Good thing you have your stories Craig, otherwise I’m not sure how we’d pass the time between pitches in these Boston-New York games.”

  14. yankeesgameday - Sep 2, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Of course I lovev the Yanks but I wad exhausted yesterday so at the top of the third I knew I had plenty of time for a two hour nap and the see the final three innings.

  15. jeffrp - Sep 2, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    I’m all for enforcing the rules on time between pitches, batters stepping out, etc. And thanks to everyone who apparently watched last nights game with a stopwatch, that certainly must have added to your enjoyment.

    Games between the Yankees and Red Sox tend to be long because they have lineups stacked with good hitters who work the count and good pitchers who won’t give in. That makes for more pitches in the game and that’s why the games are longer, simple as that.

    Last night’s games:

    TEAMS #P Time
    NYY/Bos 381 4:21
    KCR/Det 337 3:17
    Oak/Cle 296 3:06
    TBR/Tex 285 3:03
    Phi/Cin 278 3:03
    Tor/Bal 302 3:01
    Fla/NYM 278 3:01
    LAD/Pit 293 3:00
    StL/Mil 272 2:57
    Was/Atl 267 2:48
    LAA/Sea 281 2:42

    There are lots of sabermetrically inclined posters around here. Are any of you advocating that the two best teams in baseball (sorry Craig, gotta rile up some Philly Phans) should alter their approaches so that they see fewer pitches and put fewer runners on base?

    And if these long games are ruining the games for TV then why to ESPN, Fox and the MLB network broadcast so many of them?

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