Speed up the game, they say. Make it move, not stutter-step.
Use a pitch clock, a ghost runner at second in extra innings,
Limit pick off moves and trips to the mound — all in the name of
Alacrity. After all, viewers have some place to go, something to do,
Someone to see . . . go back to seven-inning doubleheaders —
For goodness sake, get the game done! . . . To which I say,
S l o w I t d o w n. Let me think, understand the strategies,
See the entire picture, get myself drawn into every inning
In a way that speed will just prohibit. If you want to save
Some time, cut the commercials (like that will ever happen).
Each baseball game is a work of art, and who would ever rush
The artist? If you want to waste less time, go back to baseball’s
Not so distant past, when Seaver had 21 complete games in 1971,
When Marichal had 27 in 1969, Gibson had 28 in ’68 and ’69.
Stop the parade of specialist relievers; stop taking out pitchers who
Are throwing great games, have opposing batters stymied, are closing
In on no-hitters! The game needs breathing room, minutes to develop
Drama, a structure where the good guys have the time
To build their case for victory, for good seasons, for possibly entrance to
The Hall of Fame one day. Let the players play, step by step,
And let the fans fall back in love with the days of yesteryear,
When the best way to compete was to complete the game
In all its glorious charm in front of patient fans relaxing in the stands.
If people think the game’s too slow, perhaps they are the problem.
Hey, you — put down the phone, stop rushing to the next big thing,
And give yourself a chance to understand why not so long ago, life
Would stop for a few hours and living would engage you people
At the game eating hot dogs, drinking beer or other in front of
The TV . . . and your blood pressure would calm down while
Your pulse rate would thrillingly speed up!