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The Martin Chronicles

All things sports and beyond.

Playoff baseball: Pay no attention to the sleeping child

We are raising an entire generation of baseball fans – losing them, really – with criminally late start times and pathologically slow game pace.

AP photo

We are raising an entire generation of baseball fans – losing them, really – with criminally late start times and pathologically slow game pace.

It's the usual postseason routine.

Sometime tonight, very late tonight, Fox Sports cameras will search the stands at Yankee Stadium and find a sleeping child in his seat, or slumped against a parent’s shoulder as the Yankees and Houston Astros battle on in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

And the announcer will make a snappy comment.

And I will throw something. Again.

It happened last Thursday night, well after midnight, toward the end of the fifth and deciding game of the National League Division Series, won by the Cubs, 9-8. Twelve pitching changes. Time of game: 4 hours, 37 minutes. End of game: 12:45 a.m.

The camera found a sleeping child.

The announcer said something like, “We’ll wake you up if there’s any more scoring.”

Spare us already.

Baseball and TV made this mess.

So, let’s just roll around in it, shall we?

Late playoff baseball is a pandemic. We are raising an entire generation of baseball fans – losing them, really – with criminally late start times and pathologically slow game pace.

But can we at least be spared the cheeky humor?

Shut up and call the games. Stop pointing out all the kids who slept through it.

Because it’s your fault.

 

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Fennelly: Who needs curses?

Gerald McCoy is seen on the bench during the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Gerald McCoy is seen on the bench during the second half of the Bucs' loss to the Cardinals.

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There's a path to a New Year's Day bowl for USF

USF defensive end Greg Reaves (41) celebrates a sack of Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Ross Trail (12) during the second half.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

USF defensive end Greg Reaves (41) celebrates a sack of Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Ross Trail (12) during the second half.

It’s a pretty clear track.

USF now has a path to a New Year’s Six Bowl. And that would make it a transcendent season for Charlie Strong and his now 16th-ranked Bulls.

If USF wins out, hello to that elusive conference title. The Bulls have been chasing that since the program began.

If USF wins out, hello Peach Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl, whichever. I think.

Hello to tangible progress.

It’s in USF’s hands, too.

There will be obstacles, perhaps none more daunting than the regular season finale at still undefeated UCF. The Knights might still haunt the Bulls. The largest game in the history of the I-4 rivalry looms, though that’s not a very long list.

San Diego State lost to Boise State the other night. The Aztecs, with wins over Stanford and at Arizona State (which just bumped off No. 5 Washington), would clearly have led the Group of Five teams in the first College Football Playoff rankings.

Actually, they still might.

But I think a perfect USF might trump that.

Still, it’s all the more reason for USF to hope UCF is as good as it can be, as highly ranked as it can be, going into their game the day after Thanksgiving.

USF will have to be perfect.

Repeating: Perfect. …

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Readers weigh in on the anthem debate

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers Mike Evans (13) and DeSean Jackson (11) kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.

[LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers Mike Evans (13) and DeSean Jackson (11) kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.

A lot of readers felt strongly about a column I wrote earlier this week, praising athletes’ protests during the national anthem, but saying it’s time to move on to bigger and more meaningful work in the name of their causes.

A brief sampling:

Richard in Valrico writes:

… Fans do not go to sporting events for their political value. The alt lefties behind this nonsense do not care about sports at all. It is all based upon the big lie of mass deaths at the hands of the police, starting in Ferguson, Mo. All they care about is destroying America. They despise football because it embodies very hard work, dedication and self-sacrifice.

Unfortunately, you in the press have become great enablers of this misdirected movement. The players have many avenues to voice their displeasure with society, but disrespecting the flag and for what it stands is the wrong time and place. The NFL allowed themselves to be sucked into this fray and alienated part of their fan base. …

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This Is What The Lightning Needed

It’s the start the Lightning needed.

Have they given up a few too many chances and goals? Yes. Do they need to get better? Yes.

But there is No way to not like the way this season has started. The Bolts have won three of four to start the season, and the last two have come over Washington and Pittsburgh. Problems?

Thursday night at a rocking Amalie Arena, the Lightning beat the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins, 5-4, a rousing affair that had a lot of fast break to it. Great fun to watch.

This after beating Washington on Monday night.

Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Win win.

Yes, it’s early, but think this doesn’t matter to a Lightning team coming off a shaky non-playoff 2016. This start might matter more to this team than any other one in the league. Consider that the Lightning were 0-3 against Pittsburgh last season and was 1-5 against Washington over the last two seasons. …

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