Wednesday, August 4

I'm not done with Boston yet

One thing I left out of my post about ESPNBoston yesterday: the sportscaster said that Carlos Santana was out for the rest of the season with that leg injury. Amazing that he was able to know that, even though the Indians' medical staff has said no such thing and Santana hadn't even had an MRI yet.

I'm going to say it, because no one else is: Fenway Park is ridiculous. The Green Monster, the garage in center, Pesky's Pole - it's a preposterous place to try to play baseball. I know it has a rich, storied tradition and blah blah blah, but just try to convince me that this is a legitimate place for a Major League Baseball game. It's silly.

Now is the part of the piece where I take issue with ├╝ber-Boston fan Bill Simmons, and his recent column on why the Red Sox are boring.. I really like Simmons' writing, but this one is way, way off the mark. His premise is that the 2010 Red Sox are a boring, uninteresting team, to which I can only respond: cry me a fucking river.

Look at the facts. The Red Sox are 60-46, third in their division, but still very much in contention for a Wild Card spot. Boston won the 2004 and 2007 championships. And you're bored with them? What an incredible sense of entitlement! This guy has gotten to see his favorite teams win SIX titles in the past ten years, including victories in baseball, football, and basketball. I don't have to remind you how many rings Cleveland clubs have claimed during the same time span. A Forest City Fan reading him complain about the 2010 edition of the Red Socks is like a guy who's been laid off reading a CEO complaining about not getting a $50 million bonus one year. It's really appalling.

Simmons' article are always, if nothing else, supported by extensive arguments, and this misguided piece of whining is no exception. He even breaks down the Red Socks' boringness (reminder: they are 15 games ahead of the Indians, a team I am not complaining about) and assigns percentages to the various factors.

First up is Injuries, at 10%. Boo hoo. Can I get you a tissue, Bill? The Tribe has so far this year lost their franchise player for the entire year (Sizemore), their best infielder for a month (Cabrera), their most expensive player to shoulder problems (Hafner), their best all-around player for weeks (Choo), their closer for most of the year (Wood), and now their most promising prospect in years (Santana) is injured...thanks to a Red Sock. Cleveland, unfortunately, doesn't have semi-infinite money like Boston to patch up these injuries. Red Sock fans have absolutely no right to complain about injuries. Be a man and deal with it.

Next is Front Office ineptitude, regarding which I would refer William to the Kerry Wood and Travis Hafner contracts. Also, in case I didn't mention it yet, Boston has a fucking huge payroll.

Fifteen percent is chalked up to a "hangover" after winning two titles. Frankly, I wouldn't know anything about this, but it seems reasonable. HOWEVER, I can't imagine myself ever writing an article bitching about the Indians not being as exciting anymore since they won the World Series. If I ever do that, come here to Cleveland and punch me right in the stomach.

He adds another five percent for the Bandwagon effect. I'm glad to see that this annoys real Boston fans as much as it does everyone else on the planet. I'm actually amused by how corporate Fenway has become - either it's that, or every night is free Polo Shirt Night. Of course, to reiterate my theme, I'd be willing to suffer through the horrible nightmare of seeing more people attend games at Progressive Field if it meant the Wahoos were World Champions. I'm a giver, what can I say.

He assigns five percent to "The Steroid Era Hangover," something that hasn't in any way dulled my appreciation of baseball. So they don't hit as many home runs any more - so what? He tacks another five percent on for "The Decline of Baseball in General" - I'm pretty sure his original draft summed to 95% and he had to plug the gap.

The last 55% has nothing to do with the Red Socks, really - it's all about the ballooning length of baseball games. I strongly agree with Simmons here - there is simply no reason that MLB games need to be taking so long. I also concur that thereare simple ways to achieve a significant reduction in game time. He proposes these two ideas:

1. We need to dump the DH. Like, right now. It's stupid, anyway.
Negative, and calling it "stupid" is not a compelling argument. I happen to think pitchers flailing helplessly at balls is far stupider.

2. We're only a few other tweaks away from getting these games to a manageable time. What about giving managers six timeouts during a game in which they can cross the baseline, and that's it? What about a 15-second pitch-clock? What about giving hitters three seconds to leave the batter's box, or it's another strike? (Unless you've tipped a ball off your foot, caught something in your eye or desperately need to adjust your boys.) What about two minutes between half-innings for commercials, then the next hitter has to be standing in the batter's box at 2:01?
The pitch clock idea is not a good one, but everything else here seems easy enough to implement. In particular, batters who insist on stepping out of the box and wasting 10 seconds every single time they see a pitch are annoying.

So yeah, games can and should be shorter. I'm not going to call the Indians "boring" because of it, but it's true.

Also, I hate the Red Socks.

No comments: