It's October and that means MLB is just beginning the playoffs. It's crisp. It's rainy. It's the Yankees time in New York City. I love this time of year. I love the Yankees. I always have but didn't know it. I grew up with the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's, but the only players I ever really knew were Yankees: Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Martin, Maris, Berra, Ford, and the list goes on and on. The history is deep and rich with lore. I didn't grow up on the East coast so when I moved to NYC, it was easy. There was no competition. It had to be the Yankees. Why would anyone choose the Mets? If you grew up in Queens, the Mets are in your blood, but otherwise....
I am getting off topic here. What I want to write about are pitchers. Years ago, pitchers pitched the whole game. There were relievers if the starting pitchers got into trouble. In the last 20 years, baseball managers have turned pitchers into the most coddled athletes in any sport. Rarely do starting pitchers pitch a whole game and if they do, it's because they might be pitching a no-hitter or a perfect game. Pitchers used to have 3 days off and pitch nine innings. Now, pitchers have 4 days off and there is a 7th inning relief pitcher, 8th inning reliever, and the all important closer. If the starter is doing poorly, there is now a middle reliever.
Perfect example. Friday night the Yankees are playing the Detroit Tigers for the first game of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium. The great C.C. Sabathia (from Oakland, Ca.) starting for the Yankees; Justin Verlander for the Tigers. It started to pour torrents during the second inning. After Sabathia pitched two innings, MLB decided to postpone the rest of the game. The conversation then turned to who would pitch the rest of the game the next day. Really? Sabathia and Verlander couldn't finish? Now, Sabathia said he was ready to go. Yankee management wouldn't let him. These players are paid millions of dollars, millions and they can't finish what they started with all the relievers lined up? Kills me. No other athlete is coddled like this. It is laughable how pitching has evolved into a Bullpen of Princes.
Side bar: Wonder why The Amazing Race wins the Emmy year in and year out? It's because the producers do more in one hour throughout the world than The X Factor, Dancing With the Stars, The Biggest Loser, America's Got Talent, and American Idol do all together in 2 - 4 hours weekly.