Both the National and American League Championship Series have been great to watch, but most of the games are too long.
A couple of reasons why some people don't watch baseball are they find it boring and the length of games. Those are valid reasons, and even the greatest of baseball fans may agree.
Through the first four games of the Boston/Houston series, the longest game was four hours and 33 minutes, and the shortest game was three hours 45 minutes. The Dodgers/Brewers’ series has featured slightly quicker games, ranging from the shortest of three hours and 25 minutes to the longest of four hours and two minutes, excluding 13-inning, five-hour, 15-minute marathon in Game 4.
These three- and four-hour nine-inning games are just too long. Even though the delays with replays contribute to the length of games, other things can be done to speed things along. The time between pitches needs to be addressed as it is common to see 30 to 40 seconds elapse between pitches. Batters always stepping out of the box after every pitch needs to end, and the 12-second rule, where the pitcher has to deliver to the plate once the batter is in the box, needs to be enforced. When one looks back 50 years ago to the 1968 World Series, the longest game was three hours and 17 minutes while Game 7 was played in just two hours and seven minutes.
The other five games were all played in under two hours and 43 minutes. That memorable ‘68 series was won by the Detroit Tigers over the St. Louis Cardinals and star pitcher Bob Gibson. Maybe Major League Baseball should take a step back, watch some old footage of seasons past and replicate how the game was played then.
Wooden bats has been a topic I have talked about many times, and in very favorable ways.
Baseball and softball had their beginnings with wooden bats, and both are much better games when they are used. There was a wooden-bat slo-pitch tournament two weeks ago, and what a success it was.
Players, mostly from the local league, raved about how much fun it was – and how much better the game was than with the use of metal bats. It was great to see defence play a huge role in the outcome of games, something that is rare with metal bats.
The reaction time on a ball hit off a wooden bat makes all the difference in the world to fielders, and also our fields are better suited for wooden-bat leagues. Locals old enough to remember back to the late 1960s and early ‘70s will remember when fast-pitch softball was played where the Gordie Arsenault Field is now at Queen Elizabeth Park in Summerside.
The backstop was then located where the current centre field is, or the exact opposite of where it currently is. That did not allow for much of a right-field, but teams like Mid-West Sales and Service, Canadian Tire and Michael's Pizzeria, to name a few, still had great games there. That’s mainly because they were using wooden bats.
This year's A Division championship game in the local league produced a 46-run game using metal bats. The championship game in the wooden-bat tournament produced a 7-4 score, and was won by an underdog team.
Wooden bats also level the playing field, mainly because the ball is on the field and not out of the park where it so often is with metal bats.
I had it completely wrong in picking the Houston Astros to beat the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series. The Red Sox are a team of destiny, and easily the best team in baseball with their relentless offence.
If the defending World Series champions couldn't come close to beating the Red Sox, I do not know how either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Milwaukee Brewers will do so.
The Fall Classic opens Tuesday in Boston. It appears the Red Sox will be the heavy favorites to win it.
Have a great week!
Joe MacIntyre is a local life insurance broker. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.