Working the Count to Death That's Anything But PrematureCan't speak for millions of other baseball fans and observers, but he's what I've learned for sure during the American League Championship Series. I am getting old.
I am so superannuated as to recall a time when strikeouts made baseball games go faster, and when pitcher's duels got everybody home for dinnertime or a decent bedtime. They were among the most exciting games, not the most endless. My age is so advanced as to have experienced a time when "change speeds, work fast, throw strikes" and "on or out in three" were the slogans of extremely successful pitching staffs. I am so ancient, I remember that batters who didn't hit 40 homers a year were humiliated (and unemployed) if they couldn't put the ball in play.
The Red Sox and Tigers are excellent teams, and it's not their fault they are built on a style of baseball that's a grave threat to the sport's status as a spectator attraction. Their job is to win, and that's how they do it. But any style carried to its extreme becomes a self-parody.
I wouldn't presume to guess whether Detroit or Boston will advance to the World Series. But based on what I've seen, the only possible ending to the ALCS is for the winning team to clinch the series with a four hour-plus perfect game.