Oh, no! Baseball has wrecked Rick Reilly’s dinner reservations!

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Hey guys! Baseball games can be long sometimes and Rick Reilly is ON IT!

Reilly talks about the pace of the game and makes the current, cutting-edge observation that players step out of the batter’s box a lot, commercials are long and so forth.  The game that raised his ire:

Cincinnati at San Francisco was a three-hour-and-14-minute can-somebody-please-stick-two-forks-in-my-eyes snore-a-palooza. Like a Swedish movie, it might have been decent if somebody had cut 90 minutes out of it. I’d rather have watched eyebrows grow. And I should have known better …

… Buster Posey of the Giants, The Man Who Wrecked Your Dinner Reservations, has this habit of coming to the box, stopping outside it and unfastening and refastening his gloves before his FIRST SWING! What exactly was he doing in the on-deck circle? His cuticles?

Sorry you’d rather be out to eat than covering a baseball game, Rick. Coverage which is costing your employer a reported $1.5 million a year. It must be a chore.

Seriously, though, Reilly has a core of a point here about umpires not enforcing the rule which requires pitchers to throw the ball within 12 seconds of receiving it. But then he completely undermines his point by (a) complaining about baseball rules which have been on the book for 150 years such as pickoff throws; and (b) making  jokes in which the punchline is merely “Obamacare!”

And of course he finishes undermining his point when he says:

Three hours and 14 minutes, 170 step-outs, and three double-shot macchiatos for that?

Please, I beg of you, bring on the NFL.

Oh, you mean the NFL which just moved back kickoff times of its late games to accommodate even longer games with even longer commercial interruptions? So that now an early game is given 3:25 to be done? That’s what will save you from the 3:14 baseball hell? The wall-to-wall action of the NFL?

Why doesn’t Reilly just admit he doesn’t much care for baseball so he decided to write a column complaining about things that would have been stale on Bill Cosby’s early comedy albums?

UPDATE: Shocker: this is not the first time Reilly has beaten this horse. Except when he did it 12 years ago, he claimed he’d never watch baseball on TV again.

(thanks to Kopy for the heads up)

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

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Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.