Man, I feel refreshed. How is that so? It's late October, and the World Series started Tuesday night, and there was the couch and the television and a nice beverage. Time to hunker down. This was going to take a while.
We know this because (according to the indispensable baseball-reference.com) no postseason baseball game had taken less than 2½ hours to complete since 2011. We know this because, in this postseason, games had averaged more than 3½ hours. We know this because in last year's competitive, compelling World Series between the Cubs and Indians, the seven games averaged three hours, 42 minutes.
So it's not unusual, at 10:30 p.m. EST, to be settling in for another hour or more of baseball.
And yet, at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night, Kenley Jansen was on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers, trying to close out the Houston Astros.
Blink again. Look at the television screen. Check your watch.
Yep, that's right.
When Jansen induced a first-pitch swing from Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, and Altuve lofted a fly ball into the glove of Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers had secured a 3-1 victory in a neat, tidy and extremely pleasing-to-consume two hours, 28 minutes.
That's not just a short World Series game in 2017, when nine-inning regular-season games averaged record-long three hours, five minutes. That's the shortest World Series game in a generation, the shortest since 1992, when Tom Glavine threw a complete game for the Atlanta Braves but lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, in Game 4.
This game Tuesday night, it's worth taking two hours and 28 minutes to savor it.
And Major League Baseball might want to take two hours and 28 minutes to try to replicate it.
Now, let's be clear: Game 2 on Wednesday night is far more likely to last more than three hours than to come in under two-and-a-half. I mean, the last World Series game played before Tuesday — Cubs at Indians, Game 7 in 2016 — took exactly two hours more to complete (in 10 innings) than Tuesday's Game 1.
So Tuesday is, of course, the outlier. But we can embrace the outlier, and argue that Commissioner Rob Manfred should be granted wide latitude — and get cooperation from players, both individually and through the union — in making sure the pace of play increases so that the time of game decreases.
If Manfred needs pitch clocks, use pitch clocks. If he needs to limit visits by the pitching coach to the mound (a no-brainer), then limit visits by the pitching coach to the mound. If he needs umpires to more forcefully enforce a rule that hitters must keep one foot in the batter's box in between pitches (as long as they haven't fouled one off), then empower the umps. This is what baseball can and should be. Clean. Crisp. Fun.
Now, you won't always get the pitching matchup Tuesday night granted us, nor the efficiency each brought. Clayton Kershaw needed just 83 pitches to record 21 outs for the Dodgers; Dallas Keuchel, just 84 pitches to record 20 outs for the Astros. Both lefties are among the best in the game. Both have superior control. Both were helped by a generous (read: occasionally terrible) strike zone from home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi.
There were other peculiarities that helped move this game along. The two teams combined for just six hits and two walks. The Astros turned three double plays. Neither team committed an error. There was only one mid-inning pitching change, when Houston Manager A.J. Hinch retrieved Keuchel and inserted Brad Peacock with two outs in the seventh.
All that matters. None of it likely will be repeated — not Wednesday, not in the rest of the series. Shoot, the Dodgers' last appearance in the World Series was in 1988. None of the games in that series were as short as Tuesday night's.
But revel in how this one played out. Enjoy how prepared you are for work and school on Wednesday morning. Imagine a world in which a kid could see a World Series game and not fall asleep in her or his cereal bowl the next morning.
Man, I have so much energy, I might just write another column.
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