The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

June 30, 2013

SPORTVIEW: Baseball was more fun to watch when the games were shorter

By Lynn Saternow
Herald Sports Editor

OPINION — Call me a relic, call me what you will; Say I’m old-fashioned, say I’m over the hill — Old Time Rock & Roll by Bob Seger.

OK, SEGER WROTE that about appreciating old-time music. Still, you can call me a relic if you want, but I can remember when a baseball double-header took just over 4 hours.

I mention this in light of the record-setting marathon double dip between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox Friday night. The twinbill lasted 7 hours and 53 minutes. And that was just the actual playing time which set a major league record for two 9-inning games.

Add in a 38-minute break between the two games and naturally a 25-minute rain delay and you have one heckuva long night. Well, long if you were one of the die-hards who actually stayed for the entire night.

Let’s face it, how many hot dogs can you eat or how many beers or soda pops can you drink in one night at the ballpark? Or afford?

I realize that both games were slugfests with the Tribe winning 19-10 and 9-8. And just think: If Nick Swisher hadn’t hit a solo home run with the game tied 8-8 in the 9th inning, it might have still been going when the sun rose over the windy city rather than 1 a.m. on Saturday.

Yes, we oldtimers can remember when Major League games took just over 2 hours much of the time. Today, it’s nothing for games to run 3 hours or more.

How many times does a pitching coach really need to go out and talk to the pitcher? Why does it seem to take 2 minutes for a catcher to deliver the right signs to the pitcher? How long do hitters really need to fasten and unfasten their batting gloves before every pitch?

Come on man!

I used to love baseball and I still like it a lot. But sometimes watching an entire game can be grueling.

As Bob Seger sang: Today’s music doesn’t have the same soul; I like that old time rock and roll.

The same could be said for baseball!

ä It is easier to enjoy baseball this year, however, since both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians are playing pretty well.

With the Pirates, make that “very well.”

They had the best record in baseball (49-30) as of Saturday morning which is a far cry from the past 20 seasons when they never finished a year with a record over .500.

Yes, I realize that there is a lot of season left, but the Buccos appear ready to end that record-setting era of losing and maybe even make a run at the playoffs.

The Indians also have a shot at winning their division.

I know you should never mention when someone is pitching a no-hitter or comment on teams possibly making the playoffs halfway through a year, but when you are as starved as Pirates and Indians fans are, it’s difficult not to dream.

Lynn Saternow is sports editor of The Herald. He can be reached at