Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Speed it up fellas; Mets are tres internationale

With no game on Tuesday night, SNY aired a "Mets Classic" from August, 1986, an extra-inning Mets victory on the road against the San Diego Padres.

The game ended with your basic 8-2-5 double play, as Len Dykstra threw out Gary Templeton at home plate, with John Gibbons blocking the plate spectacularly before throwing out Tim Flannery -- who had singled to center off Doug Sisk -- at third base, with Howard Johnson making the tag.

But what really struck me about the game, other than how thin Tony Gwynn was once upon a time, was how quickly the game moved along. And this wasn't a result of video editing. The pitchers received the ball, got the sign, and threw, and the hitters spent less time stepping out of the box and more time setting up for the pitch.

Goose Gossage was particularly relentless on the mound, but he was old school even then. It was refreshing to experience that again, when today's game is often slowed down by the interminable signal flashing (often from dugout to catcher to pitcher) and batting glove adjusting.

So it was nice to see that MLB is trying to do something about it. Buster Olney notes in his Wednesday ESPN column that umpires have been instructed not to allow timeouts willy-nilly, thus forcing batters to stay in the box. Olney also correctly points out that the delays are just as much the fault of pitchers and catchers taking forever to get their signals straight.

Olney refers to the Yankees-Red Sox game when umpire Angel Hernandez refused a timeout to Marcus Thames. Derek Jeter, however, got his after trying to step out twice. Figures.

Olney's column also has a link to David Waldstein's Tuesday New York Times article on the Mets' international flavor. Of course, we all know how English is almost a second language in the Mets clubhouse, but you forget that Jason Bay, being Canadian, counts towards the United Nationization of the dugout. And the fact that the season opener featured three straight Venezuelans -- Santana, Nieve and K-Rod -- eluded me.

It got me thinking -- will the Mets now have a "Canadian Night" at Citi Field? I can see the Barenaked Ladies playing a postgame concert, with all the Molsons you can drink and Canadian bacon burgers on the grill. Not bad, eh?

No comments:

Post a Comment