So, raise your hand if you stayed up until the end of the All-Star game last night.
My hand isn’t up. When they started the top of the fifth inning at 10 o’clock on the east coast that was enough for me. The good news is the best part of the game—the player introductions and President Obama throwing out the first pitch—came at the beginning so I was still awake for that.
My friend Tom Boswell wrote in The Washington Post this morning about what a great extravaganza the All-Star break has become. While conceding their might be some commercial excess involved (might?) Bos harkened back to the days when the All-Star game was just, well, a game with a lot of stars involved.
I guess I’m just an old curmudgeon but I liked that. I certainly don’t need the hokie Home Run Derby or, for that matter, the rookie stars game. I’d rather see the kids playing in the minor leagues or in spring training than in some hyped up exhibition game where every parent, brother, sister gets interviewed because no one really wants to watch the game.
I like the tradition that the All-Star game stands for and the fact that, unlike in All-Star games in other sports where the only real goal is not to get hurt, the players do actually try to win the game.
But My God how long did that game take? I haven’t even looked it up, but I swear the commercials between innings lasted about 10 minutes each. At least it felt that way. One of the things that’s nice about baseball is that there is no clock, that the game moves along at its own pace. But when you feel as if the commercials are longer than the half-innings, that’s out of control.
I know sponsors pay the freight but the people running sports need to re-think some of this. The NCAA basketball tournament, for all its inherent drama, has lost all flow and rhythm because there are so many TV time outs and each of them takes so long. Every game in the tournament comes to a dead stop for a 20 minute halftime. Then, when play resumes, there are usually two three-minute stoppages in the first five minutes: one the regularly scheduled TV time out and one the first timeout taken by a team that becomes a full time out. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
The NFL is just as bad with five time outs required per quarter. How much fun is it when a team scores and there’s a commercial, followed by a kickoff and ANOTHER commercial. Some of these smart, highly-paid people need to figure out some creative ways to give the sponsors their money’s worth without making every game played take longer than a trip through the Lincoln Tunnel at rush hour.
Okay, enough ranting for one day. Real baseball returns tomorrow. Finally.