Cubs send a message; and are games too long?

Cubs send a message; and are games too long?

Posted by Bruce on Sat, 08/03/2013 - 14:51

OK, we’ve got a couple of somewhat hot-button issues today. First, the Cubs selected the contract of infielder Donnie Murphy from Class AAA Iowa. He replaces Julio Borbon, who was designated for assignment almost immediately after Friday’s game for making an ill-advised baserunning play. Second, we talk with manager Dale Sveum about time-of-game issues and the long time it takes for the Cubs and other MLB teams to play.

Sveum was visibly upset yesterday after Borbon was thrown out at third after trying to advance on a ball in the dirt with nobody out in the ninth inning and the Cubs down 6-2 to the Dodgers. The Cubs were sending a message, they say, by getting rid of Borbon. Of course, he was the 25th man on the roster and hadn’t been contributing much anyway.

“That, obviously, was an unfortunate thing that happened,” Sveum said. “It is a point that we just can’t keep having those things go on, and he’s had a few of them himself. So it was time to make an adjustment to the roster and see if somebody else can do the job.

“Those are things that are controllable. You don’t have control over swinging at a slider in the dirt. Nobody’s wanting to do that. Those are physical things. Things you have complete control over is knowing the game and thinking ahead, understanding the ramifications. In that situation, you mean absolutely nothing at that point. You can literally stand on second base and not do anything, and everything will be perfectly fine.”

Murphy, 30, has parts of seven years in the big leagues, with the Royals, A’s and Marlins. He has a lifetime line of .205/.270/.373 with 18 homers. At Iowa, he was at .265/.338/.457 with 18 doubles, 3 triples, 12 homers and 41 RBI.

As to time of game, the Cubs and Dodgers took 3 hours and 29 minutes to play a nine-inning game yesterday. The Cubs walked six batters. There were numerous pitching changes, an ejection, batters stepping out and conferences on the mound.

“Pitchers nibble so much now,” Sveum said. “The pitch counts are so much higher than they used to be. Catchers (are) setting up off the plate sometimes, right on the outside black. You’re begging for balls and that kind of thing to where in the old days when the games were quicker, catchers set up on thirds of the plate so there was going to be more strikes thrown. There are just so many more walks now than there ever was when we used to play 2-½ hour games constantly.

“There are so many more balls thrown and more walks. That’s going to lead to more pitching changes. You can go on and on why games are longer. You want all your pitchers to throw strikes and get ahead in the perfect world.”

I’m always wary of complaining about time of game because it seems like a media thing, complaining because the game infringes on deadline (and I know yesterday was a day game). But it seems to me that long, drawn-out games are not entertaining and not conducive to good baseball. I’d like to know what you think.

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