BOSTON (CBS) — Pitchers taking too long to throw the ball. Batters spending 10 seconds adjusting their cups and then refusing to swing. It’s all brought Michael Felger to a breaking point.
And after the Red Sox and Rays played a nine-inning game that took four hours and 32 minutes on Sunday afternoon, Felger finally reached a breaking point.
“Your sport has a death wish,” Felger said Monday. “It’s a sport that wants to die. … It was 4-2 entering the ninth — it was not a high-scoring game!”
“This was 100 percent — and I watched most of this, I just happened to have a free day and I watched most of this game — this was 100 percent pace of play. This was pitchers rubbing the baseball, batters stepping out of the batter’s box, batters not swinging the bat. And that umpire had a wide strike zone. He was calling strikes. He was begging those guys, ‘Swing the bat, because I am calling the outside strike all day long.’ The mother-bleepers wouldn’t swing the bat, the mother-bleepers on the mound wouldn’t throw the ball, and the mother-bleepers up at the dish wouldn’t stay in the batter’s box.”
Felger blamed the rise of the sabermetrics mantra of a walk being as good as a hit for being the reason for the length of these games.
“That game to me yesterday was 100 percent pace of play,” he said. “You could feel it in the first three innings. A lot of times those really cold games are two hours and 25 minutes. Get us the hell out of here! Everyone’s swinging, it’s crisp, it’s quick, because everyone’s getting out. This thing yesterday? And baseball does nothing about it. Nothing. They let these players between every pitch walk around the mound, rub the baseball, adjust their cup, adjust their batting gloves, spit sunflower seeds.”
At this point, Felger really lost it.
“There are sometimes when I want to watch an inning, when I want to watch a situation — runners on first and second, two outs, this is a key at-bat. I want to watch this. And I’m watching it, and I’m like, ‘THROW THE BALL WOULD YOU PLEASE?! OH MY GOD! And then I go in the other room and put away the dishes, and I come back and now it’s 2-1. WOULD YOU THROW THE BALL? WOULD YOU PLEASE? PUT THE BALL IN PLAY!
“PLEASE. PLEASE. I’M BEGGING YOU — PLEASE! Have something happen here. I need something to happen. Nope! Two more pitches, I walk into the other room, I go walk the dog, I come back and he’s still up! And it’s just the grind on and on and on, and I just can’t believe the sport is not addressing it. I can’t believe it.”
Felger said it’s time that MLB addresses the issue before losing fans for good.
“It’s just every at-bat, every inning, every game, April and May, it’s a grind. I can’t sit here and watch you grind for four-and-a-half hours. It is suicide. The sport has a death wish.”