By Dan Bernstein —
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) A memorable slate of MLB playoff series is upon us, with each next game filled with All-Stars of every age and style all over the field. This looks to be appointment viewing, a stance reinforced by MLB Network’s Mark DeRosa on Wednesday, when he told the Bernstein and Goff Show, “I don’t think we’ve ever seen more talented players on display at one time, better matchups.”
So let’s hope it tightens up a bit after two wild card play-ins that were raggedy and dragged out.
The Yankees’ win over the Twins on Tuesday took nearly four hours for eight-and-a-half innings of play, with a total of 11 pitchers deployed to get 51 outs. The Diamondbacks’ win against the Rockies in the National League wild-card game Wednesday night took even longer and featured 14 total pitchers before all was finally done. In total, 25 pitchers were used in two games in two nights, taking up nearly eight hours, or a third of an earthly day.
This is modern baseball, deliberate and calculated and more extended than ever. As the outcomes become more important, managers look to maximize leverage at the margins, and a pair of wild games that saw starting pitchers struggle early exacerbated what has become a focus of MLB officials — how to keep the consumer engaged over increasing stretches of time.
We baseball fans are here for it now, it’s just more of a commitment than it ever was.