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Girardi gives his take on pace of play

Manager wants to be careful about changing the quality of the game
08/19/2014 7:16 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Manager Joe Girardi believes that radical changes don't need to be made to alter pace of play in baseball.(AP)
Pace of play has been a hot-button issue around Major League Baseball for a long time now, but the New York Yankees are a shining example of late on how, at least in terms of that facet, you truly just can't predict baseball.

Close nine-inning Yankees games have taken just as long in the last few weeks as some high-scoring or extra-inning affairs. Even if you go even a few years back, you'll likely remember the uproar surrounding umpire Joe West's thoughts on how Yankees-Red Sox games in particular more resemble marathons than sprints.

The independent Atlantic League has taken a few steps of late to improve the speed of games -- almost including a proposal to provide courtesy runners for catchers so they wouldn't have to rush to get their gear on if they were stranded on base -- but according to Yankees manager Joe Girardi, radical change isn't necessarily the way to overcome changes that are in part an evolution of life itself.

"There seems to be a lot made of it; obviously, games are all on TV and commercials are longer, and hitters have been taught to be more patient, so that all adds to it but the one thing I always want to be careful about (in thinking of changes) is that you don't change the quality of the game," Girardi said about the issue on Tuesday.

In terms of what could be done in the majors, though, Girardi has one idea that can help cut a little time off the imaginary baseball clock.

"I've often talked about trips that people can take to the mound, is the easiest way," Girardi said Tuesday. "They have a rule for coaches, but not for players, and I think you can really take advantage of that. Maybe once you get to a certain point, even for coaches, you have to make a change every time you come to the mound."

Many of those mid-inning conferences are likely unnecessary at best and stall tactics at worst, but something like that would affect "game quality" a lot less than another idea that has been bandied about.

"They talk about giving relievers a certain amount of time, but some ballparks aren't easy to get in from the bullpen," Girardi said. "Look at Baltimore; you have to walk down 10 concrete steps in spikes, then you have to walk on cobblestones, then you have to sprint in and talk to your catcher and get your eight pitches in -- that's not easy to do."

And to his point, Girardi did have a good argument there.

"Do I want a guy tired when he gets to the mound? Absolutely not, nor do I want someone to get hurt," he said. "I've seen Boone Logan get hurt coming into the game, and that's not what anyone wants."

After all, having to make a pitching change due to injury -- and the unlimited warm-up pitches the new hurler would get in that scenario -- only adds time, right?

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