Bud Selig Responds to Joe West’s Public Criticism of Pace of Games

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MINNEAPOLIS — If Hank Aaron and
Joe Torre
never had to step out of the batter's box during their playing
days, baseball commissioner Bud Selig doesn't see why Dustin Pedroia
and Derek Jeter have to be any different.

In response to a question about umpire
Joe West's public criticism of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees,
Selig said Monday that Major League Baseball is looking at ways to keep
play moving at a reasonable rate.

"It's the pace of the game is what one
has to look at," said Selig, who attended the grand opening of the
Minnesota Twins' new ballpark. "The sport is so popular now that we just
ought to do everything we can to make sure we're doing what we can."

Last week West told the Record of New
Jersey that the Yankees and Red Sox were "pathetic and embarrassing" for
dragging out games during their season-opening series. The public
criticism rankled members of both teams, who routinely play games on
national television that last longer than the typical contest.

Longer commercial breaks, veteran
hitters who work deep into counts and players who like to step out of
the box regularly to adjust batting gloves, check signs and take a
breath all contribute to pushing games well past three hours.

Selig declined to comment specifically
about West speaking out, but did say that the special committee he
assembled in December to look at on-field matters is discussing the
"pace of game" subject.

"It isn't the time of the game, it's
the pace of the game," Selig said. "That's the point."

Selig has spoken to Aaron and Torre
recently about the issue, and said both told him they rarely stepped out
of the box during at-bats when they were playing. Selig also lamented
the pitcher who takes a lap around the mound between each delivery.

When asked about hitters being denied
timeouts on occasion during that Yankees-Red Sox series, Selig said he
would review that before commenting.

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