Stop me if you've heard this one before: post-season baseball games run too long and too late into the night. Take it from me, I glogged the crap out of Saturday's five hour marathon and, frankly, I may never be the same.
The newest villain in the fight against sleep: mound meetings. Be they discussions between catcher and pitcher, pitching coach and pitcher, manager/catcher/pitcher, catcher/pitcher/Sajak, calm-eyed shortstop and wide-eyed manager and so forth. We've seen mound meetings for any one of these sundry reasons:
- Discussion of pitching stratagem
- Buying time for a warming reliever
- Buying gold and other commodities as the dollar struggles
- "Coaching up" sessions for marginal relievers
- Exhortation of an active catcher to be more like a certain retired catcher
- Spanglish conversations regarding pitch selection
- English conversations regarding signs and sign-stealing malfeasance
- Inquires into physical well-being and status of the human condition
Who is really to blame for all this consorting and micromanaging? You and I, the baseball loving second guesser. The urge to overmanage is strongly ingrained in any good baseballman in the 21st century. They're determined to cover their bases; and more importantly their asses.
The manager knows he can't trust the players to carry out his precise game-plan. The catcher knows the idiot pitcher doesn't pay attention to his perfectly sequenced pitch calls. The pitcher knows the dumb catcher never believed in his legendary curveball. The infielders know the pitcher's a flake that can't be trusted. The bench coach knows (and quickly reminds the manager) the players were BBMing B-list starlets or on the phone making tee times when the team last discussed positional coverage 8 months ago.
Obviously mound meetings aren't the only catalyst for long baseball games. Your particular flavor of agenda dictates the direction you're most likely to cast your scorn. The TV networks (with the league working in concert) have a long, proud tradition of deflecting all blame towards the primadonnas on the field. First it was too much stepping in and out of the box, spending too much time between pitches, taking too long to enter the game from the bullpen or, in a rare populist move, blaming the patient Yankees for working so many full counts and driving away youthful fans.
Each of these causations carry some blame, ranging from trivial to soul-shattering. The networks would never consider forsaking one minute of commercial time between innings as that would represent a horrific loss of revenue. A loss so substantial that only raising ticket prices league-wide by 20% will make up the difference. That's just basic economics, people!
Mound photo courtesy of flickr user Melanie, Still Waiting. Still waiting for the game to end, amirite???