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Red Sox Hall Of Famer Joe Morgan Give His Opinion On The Pace Of Play



Red Sox Hall Of Famer Joe Morgan Give His Opinion On The Pace Of Play

On Sunday, July 23rd, the Pawtucket Red Sox introduced Joe Morgan and Mo Vaughn into their teams hall of fame. During a media portion of the day, Joe Morgan was asked about the pace of play.

The average time of game this season is 3:09, an all time high. When Joe Morgan was the manager for the Red Sox, the average major league game ranged from 2:49-2:54. That’s more then 15 minutes per game.

Over the course of a 162 game season, that leads to an extra 40 hours and 30 minutes of playing time on the field (assuming I did the math right). Playing that much more baseball over the course of a 162 game season isn’t good for your brand. Your fans will get bored and not want to watch the games.

Morgan’s First Thought

During a major league game, I personally think that one of the most annoying things a manager can do is have a mound visit. Every mound visit can last about 90 seconds. If there are four to five mound visits per game, that adds about 6 minutes per game.

“The first thing I’d do is what Tim McCarver said. No visits to the mound. None. Just the manager goes out. You’re in or out. Why do I say that? Who’s listening out there when they come out? The pitcher ain’t. He’s mad” says Joe Morgan

Any time a coach goes out to the mound and tries to talk to his pitcher, he’s not going to listen. Say the previous batter hit a home run around 450 feet. A pitcher doesn’t care what the manager or pitching coach is going to say. He wants to throw the next pitch or get out of there. He doesn’t care what the manager says. Yes, there comes a point where the coach is just going out there to give the bull pen more time to warm up.

But giving the bullpen more time to warm up is a way to give yourself an advantage over the other team. Saying that, that’s another reason why a game can extend another 10-15 minutes. In a typical pitching change during an inning, it’s usually two minutes and twenty seconds between the time the manager comes out of the dugout and the first pitch by the replacement pitcher. Not to mention, a replacement pitcher usually brings down the pace of a game a lot.

Pace Between Pitches

The other thing that goes along with the pitcher pitching the ball is how long it takes them to throw the pitch. A pitcher who throws the ball right away like Chris Sale will always have a shorter game time. When Chris Sale pitches, it takes his no more then 15 seconds between pitches. When a guy like David Price pitches, it can take him 30 seconds between pitches. When you spread that over 100 pitches, that can extend the game 20-25 minutes, 15 seconds at a time.

“I time pitchers all the time. Most of them, with nobody on base, will throw the ball around 12 seconds or a little less. But then they go on 40 some of them. I don’t know how fans stay there and watch a four and a half hour game every night” says Joe Morgan regarding time between pitches.

That basically tells me, you need to have the pitch clock at the major league level. They have had the pitch clock in the minor leagues for a few seasons now. But you need it at the major league level. Yes, eventually every pitcher will be accustomed to the pitch clock since they had it in the minor leagues, but you need it in the major leagues now. Off the bat, you will easily get the average time of game below three hours. No one has the time to sit down and watch a baseball game for 3 hours. They just don’t.

Being In The Batters Box

Before the 2015 season, Major League Baseball put in a rule that the batter must have one foot in the batters box at all times. It’s rarely enforced. If the batter stays in the batters box, the pitcher will work faster. This will speed up the game if the batter stays in the batters box.

“I blame the home plate umpire because there is a rule in there that says hey get in the batters box. And if you don’t do it, the pitcher throws a ball and no matter where it is, it’s an automatic strike. They put in a rule 2 years ago that you can’t leave the batters box. You got to have at least one foot in. That didn’t last long because they didn’t enforce it. Which is irony because they are standing out there for four and a half hours. You’d think they want to do it for two and a half wouldn’t you? Case closed” says Morgan

It makes complete sense to start enforcing batters to stay in the batters box. There is no reason for the batter to get out of the batters box. For a fan, they want to see the pitcher get in the box and swing the bat. Otherwise there is no reason to have the rule in the rule book. They just need to get the game going.

If Major League Baseball doesn’t do something serious soon to get the game going, the game will fail. Kids aren’t falling in love with the game like they used to. They need to fix it to make it more entertaining or quicker to give people a reason to want to watch the game.

Evan is a attending Bryant University and joined the Trifecta Network as an Editor in February of 2016 and is a guest on Down to the WIRE Sports Talk.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Win 5 In A Row, Magic Number Down To 5



Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are winners of five straight games in a row. Their last loss came back on the 17th when they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2. This run that they are on has helped catapult them into a four-game lead over the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.

New York, clinched a playoff spot on Saturday and acted like they had won the World Series. There was champagne popping in the locker room and photos all over the social spheres. The overreaction of baseball playoff-clinching continues. Boston happened to clinch their playoff spot last week. Did any of you see a clubhouse party? Nope. Me neither.

Boston has started to showcase hidden gems like the resurgence of Eduardo Rodriguez, Rafael Devers, and the return of David Price who has been stellar so far out of the bullpen.

Thier latest winning streak is impressive. But it is also important not to overreact to a good team beating a string of bad teams. Getting hot at the right time matters though.

With 8 games remaining their magic number to win the AL East for the second straight season is sitting at 5 games. New York continues to win ballgames of their own keeping this pennant race one that could go all the way to the end.

One more game in Cincinnati on Sunday, then 7 games to finish off the regular season at Fenway Park. A three-game set against Toronto, and a four-game set against Houston, one of the best teams in the American League to end it.

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Boston Red Sox

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly



Can you believe that game last night? Boy oh boy, what a doozy! Now we understand why the NFL insists on, not only scheduling but broadcasting Thursday Night Football games. I mean, the San Francisco 49ers doing battle with the Los Angeles Rams: That’s practically playoff football people. What a treat!

If you haven’t detected the sarcasm that my words are saturated with, you’re probably one of those fanboys who actually appreciate the “TNF” games. To you I say: How? Yes I understand that last night’s game was high-scoring and that it came down to the wire. But that betrays the incompetence of both the 49ers and the Rams defenses. It was playground football!

Even NBC’s Chris Collinsworth has to scrape the barrel to find the enthusiasm to provide commentary for these abominations. They’re so unwatchable; the NFL had to create it’s own television network to find a place that would televise Thursday night games. That’s pushing it man.

But have no fear: Sunday will soon be here. (Pretend that some catchy jingle is playing) which means it’s now time for, everybody’s favorite: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good

The Red Sox are rolling right now, with some serious momentum.

Earlier this week, we saw our boys trounced the Baltimore Orioles, taking every game of a 3-game series. This was just part of an inordinate 12-game road trip that the Sox have been on since September 15th - the type of challenge that can make or break any team’s postseason bid.

On this excursion, every element of the Sox has performed indomitably. With October nearing on the horizon, the barometer is certainly reading in Boston’s favor.

The Sox outscored the Bird’s 20-8, over the course of this series in Baltimore. Our offense was firing on all cylinders. Mookie Betts went 4-14 with 6 RBI’s, including a homer and a triple. Crystallizing his role in October, the young Rafael Devers went 4-9 in the 2 games that he played.

Collectively Sox pitching produced a 3.63 ERA with 35 K’s in 29 innings pitched. These stats were greatly padded by the clinics that Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale put on. Big Smooth tossed an impeccable 6.1 innings of shutout ball on Tuesday; while Sale picked up his 300th K of the season, shutting out Baltimore on Wednesday night. Entertaining baseball, to say the least.

Now the bummer is: The Yankees have been able to parallel our recent success. Yes, Boston has maintained it’s 3-game lead over New York, in the AL East, going 7-3 in their last 10 games. But the Yankees are 8-2 in that same span. We cannot take our foot off of the pedal. New York is pressing aggressively on our heels, not allowing any room for error.

The Red Sox head to Cincinnati to face the Reds this weekend, not exactly a late-season crucible. For the Sox, as they wrap up this 12-game road trip, the top priority will be to stay focused and confident. This young team controls its own destiny right now. Boston can’t afford to vouchsafe the Yankees any half-games as the pennant-race comes to a conclusion. For the time being, it’s looking pretty good Sox Nation.

The Bad

After a recent foul-ball tragedy, 4 MLB teams have announced that they will be extending the protective netting in their respective stadiums. What’s bad about this: It’s only 4 of the 30 teams that comprise the MLB.

Wednesday afternoon, at Yankee Stadium, Todd Frazier turned on a pitch and pulled it over the third-base dugout. This ball was a gelid frozen-rope; he dead pulled it. Traveling at a speed well over 100 MPH, this foul-ball violently struck the face of an unexpecting child in the stands. The little girl was severely injured. She was escorted out of Yankee Stadium on a stretcher and is currently hospitalized in critical condition.

There wasn’t any netting or shield to mitigate the force of this projectile. Given the estimated distance from home-plate to where this girl was seated, she had about .68 seconds to react. MLB players are paid millions to anticipate and to field such line-drives. Pedestrian fans do not have the reflexes to defend against professional hitting.

In a day and age where many fans are abstracted by smartphones and jumbotrons, it’s now more important than ever to revamp fan safety. Will the netting slightly detract from your view of the game? Yes. But we’ll eventually become desensitized to this not-so obstructing obstruction. Bear in mind that the seats directly behind home-plate are already protected by this type of netting, and they’re still the most coveted seats in the ballpark.

As with any sport, safety measures always seem fun-crushing, when they are first implemented. Hockey players didn’t want to wear helmets; baseball players used to catch the ball with mittens. Players adjust and so do fans.

Netting that surrounds the entire perimeter of the field is not what’s being suggested here. After all, baseball is the only sport where it is common for fans in attendance to bring the equipment to catch balls outside of the field-of-play. So catch your accessible fly-balls, that’s great. But the MLB needs to calculate the standard for average “fan reaction time” and set up netting accordingly. There’s a reason why seats directly behind home-plate are protected by such a thing. Fans are not professional baseball players, therefore they cannot be expected to react like one.

The Ugly

On a lighter-note: TNF is an ugly product. I’m sorry, but I still have some rage chambered up from last night’s game between the 49ers and the Rams. We saw garbage against garbage, illustrated by the underwhelming finish to this “shootout”.

The 49ers are on the 50 yard-line, after having recovered an onside kick. They’re down 39-41 with a little over 2 minutes left to go in the 4th. How do they seize the moment? By going three-and-out, punctuated by Brian Hoyer being sacked on a 4th and 20.

It never used to be like this; Thursday Night Football used to be a rarity and something to look forward to. Now it’s an example of the NFL inundating it’s fan-base with content. If we’re going to play these gratuitous games, at least make the matchups appealing. Save for the season-opener, TNF this year has featured discarded small-market underdogs nipping at each other’s throats.

Roger Goodell and his subordinates who create the schedule need to decide what type of contest they want TNF to be. Is it simply a midweek throw-away game, or a hearty appetizer that stimulates the interest of fans going into the weekend? So far, it’s been the former.

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Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Popularity Decline Overblown



The Boston Red Sox are officially a playoff-bound team. After a 9-0 win over the Orioles on Wednesday paired with an Indians 6-5 win over the Angels, the Red Sox have officially clinched a postseason spot.

That spot for the moment is an AL Wild Card spot with the game to be played on October 3rd. Just getting to the postseason isn’t the goal for this year’s Red Sox team though.

I think any win  this time of the year given where we are in the standings and what is at stake, any win is important,” Farrell said. “Just getting into the playoffs is not our goal. Certainly it’s a stepping  stone toward other things that we have our sights set on, as many teams do. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

As it currently sits the Red Sox hold a 3 game lead over the never dying New York Yankees. Despite a pennant battle in full swing, the vibe in Boston isn’t focusing in on the Red Sox. Part of it may be the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees have not faced each other head to head in awhile and will not do so unless they meet up in the playoffs.

Even with that, there doesn’t seem to be that much interest in this years team. Ratings have been all over the place. The other night the second game of the series with Baltimore did an 8 in Boston. That is a good number for a weeknight game. But as of last count, ratings on NESN were down big.

But the last reported figure had them pegged at a 20% decline from the David Ortiz retirement season of 2016. That report came out in early July, so it isn’t a true representation of what has occurred over the last four months.That number has likely rised quite a bit. For some reason though, for a division race, this all feels a tad underwhelming.

Part of it could be some of the black eye storylines from the season, or the likeability of the team, or even the gross underachievement by multiple players throughout their lineup. But even with all of that, this years team has grit, and have shown the 2013 Red Sox ability to battle and win in extra-inning games.

Ratings might be down, but that isn’t shocking. A year removed from David Ortiz will do that. Ortiz was a larger than life player who put on a show. Sure Chris Sale is exciting to watch, but striking out 300+ batters isn’t as exciting as Big Papi smashing balls out of the yard 30+ times.

The ratings decline is overblown and the lack of popular interest is understandable. Sports are becoming more and more of a hardcore fan experience. That is especially the case in a 162 game baseball season. Getting the casual viewer or “pink hat” fan to tune into the game is hard to do. In 2017 many of those types of fans seem to have disappeared from the landscape.

With this year’s Red Sox team knocking on a division title, people will watch.

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