Bud Selig Should Tell You the Truth About Pace of Game

What’s My Point?

If Bud Selig shot fans straight and told them that the reason the pace of baseball is slow is because of the time in-between innings, the fans would understand.

Why Does it Matter?

He is blaming players and umpires, but he doesn’t consider that most players are waiting to start an inning from the commercial break.

First Game

I can’t believe I am playing in the Big Leagues!  This is amazing!  Look at how big this stadium is.  Man, there have to be 30,000 fans here.  Dude, I can’t feel my legs.  It doesn’t matter.  Look at this infield that I am taking ground balls from.

Oh, Bagwell is throwing me ground balls in-between innings for goodness sake!  Oh, here comes the ball…Yup, pick it up, and throw it back to Bagwell.  Dude I am on the field with Bagwell and Biggio.  Crazy.

Ok, looks like Brad Ausmus is throwing the ball down to second base.  I’ll go over to Roy (Oswalt) and just flip him the ball while I tell him that I have the bunt on the third base side.

“Here you go Roy.  I have this whole side,” I say, showing him with my hands and arms.

Run back to third.  Ok I’m here and I’ll get on the grass so I can cover this bunt.

I’m ready!

What’s going on?  Why is Roy looking at second base?  I’ll look over there.

Are you kidding me?

We have to wait for the commercial break?  Dude at least 10 seconds have passed.

I always wondered why the 3rd out was made and the pitcher would just sit on the bench while his defense ran out on the field.

Is Everybody Looking at Second Base?

No.  We are not looking at second base, we are looking at the second base umpire with the stopwatch.

You see, we have to wait 2 minute and 5 seconds in-between innings for commercials.  Tim Brown of Yahoo sports says that FOX, ESPN, and TBS get an additional 30 seconds. It is common knowledge in the dugouts that there is no sense of urgency getting back on the field because of this rule.

As the time approaches its end, the second base umpire will point to the home plate umpire and the inning will start.

Did You Ever Notice That You Made it Back JUST in Time to See the Pitch?

Man these guys are good!  You just got back from running to the fridge to get a beer and some low calorie organic fiber enhanced protein chips and just when you sit down, BOOM! the inning starts.  You think Nailed it Again!  Dude it’s your year bro!!!!  You’re on fire!  Wooohooo!

Let me tell you what I was doing as you started moving back to your living room chair.

I say to the third base umpire, “Al”

“Hey Al!”

“Hey Moe.”

“How is your kid?”

“Oh, he is good.  Just started Kindergarten so we have a lot going on.”

“Dude, I hear that.  Our boys are the perfect height to hit me in the nuts.  I feel like I have to wear a cup around the house.”

“Been there Moe.”

“So when is your break?”

(Remember, umpires are NEVER at home.  They pack for a season!  They get 2 weeks each season to go home and spend time with their families.  It is the worst travel schedule in baseball.  Your job is to get yelled at by players, managers, and fans, then when you had a bad game you get to go back to a hotel room and just sit and stare at the ceiling and go back over the game trying to figure our how you are not going to make the same mistake next time.  Did you ever think about the umpire’s life?  It is hard.)

“Well I have one week coming up in about a month, and the second week is in the middle of August.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Just go home and see my family.  I really miss them.”

“This 2 minute 5 second thing is killing me.”

“They force us to hold the game until the time is up.”

“Oh, I know. I just love the fact that this is the one thing that players and umpires agree on 100% of the time. Waiting around like this stincks.”

“Good call Moe.”

“Well looks like we are about to start again.”

“Hey, next inning is the 2 minute 30 second commercial break.”

“Thanks for that, Joe. I will stay in the dugout for a minute.”

“Yeah, I always go to the bathroom during that one, Moe.”

8 seconds….Now Get in the Box!

I am sitting on deck waiting to bat.  Lance Berkman just gets another hit and this is when I hear Kanye West’s song, Jesus Walks:

Chorus: “Je-sus Walks.”

Kanye:  “God show me the way, ’cause the Devil’s trying to bring me down.”

Chorus:  “Je-sus walk with us.”

And done!  That was my allotted 8 seconds of intro music.  A couple of years ago, MLB told us that we will get 8 seconds worth of intro music.  MLB felt like that was the reason the pace was so slow.  But we know it was secondary to the commercial breaks.

Everybody Shut Up! 40 Year Umpiring Vet Joe West has Something to Say….

“It’s pathetic and embarrassing,” West told The Bergen (N.J.) Record. “They take too long to play. They’re the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace.” (Speaking of the Red Sox vs. Yankees game.)

Yeah!  You tell ’em Joe!  It’s the players and managers!  No doubt!  I’m with you on that!  There is no other factor involved!  Just slow, lazy play.

Oh… and maybe the fact that umpires have to stand and wait with players to start our slow play from the commercial break.  Maybe there’s a slight issue with the fact that all that waiting helps to cause the flow of the game to come to a screeching halt!  But hey, we gotta get paid!

Check Me Out! I’m Totally on TV!  Look at Me!!  I Rule!

This is my favorite quote from Bob Watson, MLB’s Vice President of Rules,

“They’re getting mug time,” he said. “Batters step out of the box. Pitchers back off. They’re talking to the ball, all kinds of stuff, because they’re on TV. It takes time.” Business Week

Yup!  Check me out!  I’m batting .200!  Haven’t slept in 8 years from sheer panic.  Sure, John Smoltz is throwing 100 mph, but I’m not thinking of his slider or his split.  I’m going to try and get a little face time.

Mr. Watson, guys are not trying to get face time.  Guys are trying to compose themselves and prepare for the next pitch.  You were a great player and you understand taking a step back to refocus.  And don’t give me the:

“We didn’t take a step back and regroup in my day.”

Bob Gibson was throwing 98 mph right under your chin.

You and I are the same.  I know how you felt and you know how I felt.  We are trying to compete in a game that takes concentration and focus.

So What Do You Think Bud?

Bud loves committees.  For Bud, there is nothing better than a consensus. He rounds up some baseball people and they talk about the issue.  Then they type up a report that confirms their rhetorical thoughts.  Now Selig can take this report and hold it in the air and say that the experts have confirmed what we knew.  Unfortunately, it seems like these reports aren’t always the most honest and straightforward way of getting information out to the fans.

A Letter To the Fans

Dear Fans,

Baseball is about making money.  There, I said it. Players play the game because we can make a fortune while we are young and healthy.  Owners own teams so they can make money.  But I think you understand that. That’s just capitalism at work. I think that when push comes to shove, you would play this game also for exorbitant sums of money.

Now, we don’t want you to think we hate playing.  Not by a long shot.  We love the game and we can’t believe that we make this much money playing something we love.

Fans, you understand that baseball is unique in the world of sports because there is no set clock.  You also understand that it is expensive to go to a baseball game.  But you don’t understand why we are lying to you.  I am here to tell you.

We get paid from commercials, television rights, MLB trademarks, tickets, concessions, and a bunch of other sources that I am too dumb to think of right now. One aspect that you are going to have to live with is that TV commercials pay the largest portion of the bills and if they say 2 minutes and 5 seconds, then 2 minutes and 5 seconds it is.

You see, I don’t think fans are completely stupid.  The guy at Wrigley who spit on me was stupid, but the rest of you aren’t so dumb.  Would you riot in the streets if I told you the truth? I don’t think you would.  I think you would just say, “Oh, ok.  I don’t like that I have to wait longer, but I understand why they wait 2 minutes and 5 seconds in-between innings.  I would do the same thing.  Well, I am going to get another hot dog then.”

Bud, just tell the fans that the pace is slow because of money.  People won’t think you are a jerk.  They won’t think you are some money hungry Commissioner who is trying to squeeze out every last cent possible.  They will finally hear something honest and when you are straight with people they can place themselves in your shoes.

Fans, we play for money.

Morgan Ensberg

103 Comments on “Bud Selig Should Tell You the Truth About Pace of Game”

  1. KyleLitke says:

    I think I always kind of realized that commercials were a little longer for Fox and ESPN, without putting a number to it. 30 seconds? So you figure that’s an extra 30 seconds per half inning, or about 9 extra minutes a game…assuming mid inning pitching changes don’t count.

    And who typically plays the most games on Fox and ESPN? Why, it might just be the Yankees and Red Sox! 😉

    I think there are tons of things that contribute to the longer games, and I do occasionally get “annoyed” (while understanding why) when a catcher takes his sixth trip of the inning to the mound, but aside from players working the count more, which they should do, I don’t think they’re to blame at all.

    • Kyle the post is really about Selig not being completely honest with all of the reasons. He himself said he was not concerned with the length of game. Instead he was concerned with pace. Well the mandatory waiting is the biggest reason there.


  2. James says:

    The only reason I think a player has anything to do with it are some of the crazy batter box step outs. I remember Soriano’s from when he was with the Yankees – Step Out, lean bat, unstrap left batting glove, tighten, restrap, unstrap right batting glove, tighten, restrap, slap left batting glove strap, slap right batting glove strap, pick up bat, tap pine tar two times and step back in. most of the other Yankees had something similar, but his was the longest in MLB. The OTC in me liked to see him do the same thing every time but I can see where that can slow down a game.

  3. zac says:

    Morgan its refreshing to to hear an honest opinion, not sugarcoated, from someone who has actually been in the bigs and tells it like it is.

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