I’m certainly no Red Sox fan, but I’m wearing my “Laser Show” t-shirt this morning in honor of Dustin Pedroia’s ridiculous game last night. Five for five, three homers, a double and five RBIs, with the last dinger rescuing Jonathan Papelbon from himself and giving the Sox the win.
Almost as good as the bombs? The post-game quote. Obviously not feeling quite himself, Pedroia started in with some typical ballplayer humble-ese, talking about how he just tried to lift the ball, how he hoped it went out and how he’d never had a game quite like that before, even in Little League. Then he remembered who he was and, when asked a followup about how unprecedented his performance was, he said:
“Oh, yeah, I hit a lot of bombs. Don’t kid yourself.”
I’m glad I don’t root for the Yankees, because I’d hate to have to hate Dustin Pedroia. The guy is just too fun.
In other news, the Red Sox are scoring runs in buckets this year. I eagerly await the “I was wrong” columns from all of those Boston scribes who wrote ridiculous things about how “run prevention” was going to kill this team and where, oh where is the offense going to come from. Don’t all rush to get it out first, everyone. Plenty of time.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.