Thursday, September 11, 2008

SPORTS: Let's Get a Move On!

It's happened a million times before. Thursday night's game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox included a hoary old tradition. Manager Ozzie Guillen got caught not anticipating the falling apart of his pitcher and needed extra time to warm up Matt Thornton. So he motioned for catcher A.J. Pierczynski to go out the mound and inquire as to Gavin Floyd's supper plans. And when that wasn't enough time to get Thornton sufficiently warmed up, A.J. probably asked Floyd for his picks in this weekend's football pools.

When that bantering came to an end, the umpire finally getting tired of the play-acting, Guillen jumped out of the dugout to finally make the change that was these wasted minutes in the making.

It wasn't like Guillen had invented some clever new stalling tactic. This one probably dates back to Babe Ruth's day. Before that, most pitchers started and finished. Thus, no need to make time for warming up. Does the fact that it's been around longer than Commish Bug Selig mean we should still be putting up with the antics?

No, of course not.

Time for new uber-commissioner of all things sport (that would be ME of course) to make a new rule. If a catcher goes to the mound for a visit, the pitcher must complete pitching to the current batter and cannot be replaced, except in cases of injury.

While I'm on about extinguishing the charade that was put on display again Thursday night, I'll also throw a battering ram at the constant trotting out to the pitcher that some catchers turn into a marathon. Every catcher gets ONE unaccompanied visit to a pitcher in each game. After that, when he goes out, so does the ump.

There's no privacy in baseball, to mangle a perfectly good Tom Hanks quote. What there IS is a time crunch problem that could be partially resolved by getting rid of these wastages of time with catchers and pitchers catching up on chit-chat.

Interestingly enough, Guillen would probably thrive under my rules too. Instead of the catcher going out for a civilized converstation with the soon-to-be-replaced pitcher, it will be Guillen going out to get tossed out. A good manager tantrum can go minutes.

But at least we would be entertained while Thornton or whoever warms up.

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