No way, not in an era where TV is king. Kaat thinks the long gaps between innings (two-and-a-half to three minutes) have an impact that carries over once play resumes.
“Players now sit in the dugout and wait because they know they’re going to get two-and-a-half minutes,” Kaat said. “It makes the whole pace, running back on to the field and then playing the game, much slower.”
...Kaat jokes that he blames Ken “Hawk” Harrelson for introducing the batting glove to baseball. Now every hitter has to step out of the box and adjust his glove after a pitch. He actually charted the numbing routine during a playoff game a few years ago, and it added 35 minutes to the game.
“If Mickey Mantle took a pitch, he’d keep his back foot in place and reset his front foot,” Kaat said. “He’d be ready to go. You never see that today.”
The other “little things,” as Kaat says, bog things down: Repeated catcher’s visits to the mound; more pitching changes than back in his era; and don’t get him started on theme music for individual hitters.
“Now they all wait in the on-deck circle for their theme music to begin,” Kaat said. “It’s ridiculous.”
...Obviously, MLB can put rules in place to speed up the game, but old habits die hard. Kaat contends the key now is for baseball to get players in the minor leagues. Teach them how to play faster.
“You have to go to the minor leagues with the game on TV in mind,” Kaat said. “Encourage hitters to stay in the box. Encourage pitchers to work faster. You do all those little things, and you could knock off 30-45 minutes off a game.”
Posted: October 05, 2013 at 07:22 AM | 40 comment(s)
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