Last night, I was part of a family outing; we ventured to Altoona, PA to see a minor league baseball game in the Eastern League. The Altoona Curve beat the Harrisburg Senators 8-3 but that is not particularly important. What I found interesting was the effect that the 14-second pitch clock (expanded to 19 seconds with runners on base) had on the game. Make no mistake here; that effect was a positive one.
Here is an overview of the game events:
- There were11 runs scored on 18 hits with 3 errors.
- One player was severely injured legging out a triple and they had to bring a cart out to take him off the field.
- The time of the “first pitch” was 6:06 PM; the time of the “final out” was 8:32 PM. The game took 2 hours and 26 minutes.
- There were 7 different pitchers in the game and none of them ever got a warning for violating the pitch clock.
The pitch clock shortens game time, and it keeps action flowing. Even in situations where the bases were loaded, the pitchers were about their business as soon as they got the ball back from the catcher; they did not take a moment to ponder some grand philosophical conundrum between pitches.
We had planned to stay for a fireworks show after the game but changed our plans because the game ended with enough light in the sky that the show was not going to start for 45 minutes. So, if you made me look for a “negative” regarding the speed of the game, that would be it.
Let me encourage you to consider minor league baseball as an evening event for another reason – – economics. If you have been to a major league game any time in the last year or so, consider these costs from last night:
- Parking in a covered garage with a walk of about 150 yards from car to gate was $3.00.
- Admission to excellent seats in the mezzanine behind the first base dugout was $13.00
- Programs were free.
- An Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and onions was $6.50.
- A 24-ounce beer (Yuengling) from a tap was $7.00.
One player in last night’s game was interesting too. Henry Davis was the first overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft by the Pirates. An injury limited him to a total of 8 minor league games in 2021. However, this Spring he spent a total of 8 games in a Rookie League and at the Single-A level before being promoted to “High-A” baseball in Greensboro. Since early May he has been with Altoona at the AA level. He is only 22 years old, and he is a big man; the program says he is 6’2” and 210 lbs; he looks bigger than that from the stands.
One other quick observation from last night. The Harrisburg Senators are the AA affiliate of the Washington Nationals – – a team that needs pitching help. The Senators trotted out 4 pitchers last night. I shall not be looking for any of them to ascend to the major league roster any time soon…
Moving on… I am not big on golf, so I learned only recently that there is something called the DP World Tour which has a “Strategic Alliance” with the PGA. The DP Tour focuses on events in Europe so I guess you can look at this alliance as the golf-version of NATO. Once I knew that background, I was not surprised in the least to learn that the DP Tour – – which runs an event known as the Scottish Open – – has banned any of the LIV Tour golfers from participating in that event.
- [Aside: For others who are not “golf guys”, the Scottish Open is not the same as The Open which is often referred to as The British Open. The Open is one of golf’s four major tournaments; the Scottish Open is not.]
I really think the folks at the DP World Tour need to think about renaming the Scottish Open. If the event is an “open”, then how can you ban any qualified players from participating? That situation makes it seem as if the tournament is only half-open so maybe they could call it the “Scottish Ajar.” Just trying to be helpful here…
One other golfing note pertinent to the spitting match that is ongoing between the PGA Tour and the LIV Tour… After the first LIV Tour event where the last place finisher made more money than all but a handful of the PGA Tournament field on the same weekend, the PGA suddenly found more money in its coffers to add to some tournament purses.
As social/political rabble-rouser, Steve Bannon, is wont to say:
- “There are no conspiracies but there are no coincidences.”
Finally, since I have often closed rants with observations by George Bernard Shaw, let me close today with observations of George Bernard Shaw by some other authors:
“Bernard Shaw has no enemies but is intensely disliked by his friends.” [Oscar Wilde]
“It is his life’s work to announce the obvious in terms of the scandalous.” [H. L. Mencken]
“He writes his plays for the ages – the ages between five and twelve.” [George Jean Nathan]
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………