With a night off from playoff frenzy, in the midst of a postseason that gives hope to the little guy, I offer the beginning of a series on What’s Wrong With Baseball, from authorities greater than myself. Offering one at a time, in no particular order, we begin with number 10. Agree, disagree or offer your own selections.
#10. “Too many pitchers” pitching too few innings.
Cy Young said, many years ago: “Too many pitchers, that’s all, there are just too many pitchers. Ten or twelve on a team. Don’t see how any of them get enough work. Four starting pitchers and one relief man ought to be enough. Pitch ’em every three days and you’d find they’d get control and good, strong arms.”
This from the man for whom the top pitching award in each league is named. He ought to know. When Cy Young said this, there were pitchers routinely twirling on two days’ rest. Many years after this, guys like Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn were pitching 16-inning complete games. But, alas, they needed three days’ rest. How many young fans have heard the Braves’ success slogan of old?: “Spahn and Sain and two days of rain.”
Even this is soft by the standard of The Standard (Young). What would he think today? Relievers limited to one inning, starters to 100 pitches, and getting 4 to 5 days of rest.
Cy Young played for the Red Sox. He would have scorned Terry Francona’s decision to rest Beckett the extra day, thus limiting the use of his ace to two games in a seven-game series. … Robbing the Sox and the fans of their best shot. (Young played for two Cleveland teams as well … and a second Boston club.) To Young, pitching made you stronger. Throw more, not less.
From Cy Young, our number 10 thing that is wrong with baseball: “Too many pitchers” pitching too few innings.