Spring Game 3: NYY vs. PIT — Swinging for a win

Another warm sunny day in the Tampa area as the Yankees headed down about an hour to Bradenton to face the Pirates at their spring home. (I promise I’m not trying to torture all my non-Floridian readers by letting them know how ridiculous this March weather has been, as we’ve been on the other end of the weather spectrum below that evil front line sweeping nasty weather through the middle of the country. Stay safe, people!)

It was a rather tight game for the Yankees-Pirates match-up today. Esmil Rogers started and threw 2 innings, giving up just 1 hit; Chase Whitley followed Rogers with his own 2 innings, keeping the Pirates scoreless with just 2 allowed hits. It was those pesky middle innings that had the Yankees’ and Pirates’ pitchers squirming a bit. In the 5th, with 2 outs, Chris Young doubled and then scored on Garrett Jones’ double to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. But the Pirates answered back in the 6th with a ground-rule double that became the tying run on an RBI single.

The Yankees rebounded in a single swing from prospect Tyler Austin in the 8th inning as he hit a nice solo home run over the Pirates’ left field wall to put the Yankees up over the Pirates 2-1. This gave today’s win to 7th inning pitcher Fred Lewis, who gave up 1 hit and struck out 2 Pittsburgh batters in his short outing.

A win is always a nice way to enjoy the day, and today’s game was rather a quick one at 2 hours and 32 minutes. Perhaps, the rules about the between-innings pitch clock newly in effect this season are starting to kick in. Or maybe the players just wanted to get out of the sun quicker today. But a swift result in the Yankees’ favor is not a bad Thursday in my book.

There has been a lot of talk about that between-inning clock. And honestly, I have mixed feelings about it. I don’t like it when players seem to add to the length of the game intentionally through unnecessary actions like continuously stepping out of the batters box or off the mound or strolling (or should I say “strutting” in some instances) to their positions. But one of the reasons I like baseball is that there is no play clock. Perhaps, we see the clock as merely a tool of broadcasting, a sign of the technological times as it were, to give advertisers and broadcasters (and their extensive production teams) a more accurate scope of how to televise a game to the greater audience.

But no, the clock was introduced into the game this year with the intent to quicken the pace of the game, to meet the excessive complaints about how “slow” the game had gotten. And while I do see the point (to an extent) of the complaints, I don’t know if an actual digital clock is the right way to adjust this problem. Maybe I’m just hoping players will get used to the quicker pace, and they can ditch the constraints of a clock. I mean, if the problem was the players trying to manipulate the speed of the game to slow it down intentionally, then fix it within the players — drive the competition up, focus them into the game (not on themselves), and remind them how the players of the golden years of baseball just stayed in until they won the game.

And if anyone complains to you about how a 3-hour baseball game seems slow, remind them that the Super Bowl (a game that is played in four 15-minute quarters, thus 1 hour of total play time) went 3 hours and 23 minutes this year, and it was one of the shorter ones. But honestly, a touchdown is very exciting, but it’s got nothing on the sights and sounds of that perfect game-winning home run.

But then again, I may be a tad biased…

Go Yankees!

{Tech note: There is no shareable media for this game. It happens from time to time in Spring Training. Sorry!}

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