Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
MLB’s new pace of play rules, which include a clock between innings, have cut down on total game time this year. A clock ticks down from 2 minutes and 25 seconds as soon as the final out of a half-inning is recorded and the first pitch of the next half-inning must start when it hits zero. It works. This rule, among others, has cut average game time from 3 hours and 2 minutes to 2 hours and 53 minutes. Still long, but a significant improvement. Plus, what is the harm in that between inning clock? A shorter amount of time to honor the Citizens Seven? A faster-scrolling list of people celebrating their birthdays? [Guessing it doesn’t cut into allotted commercial time.] It’s all for the greater good… except in one instance.
“Oh yeah, we’re very aware of the league rules,” said Tom Burgoyne, who describes himself as (ahem) a close friend of the Phillie Phanatic. “When they send rules like this down, we get them for sure.” …
As a passenger in the large hot-dog-mobile, the Phanatic doesn’t have to keep track of time, like he would in his typical one-man ATV. For days like those, Burgoyne said the Phillies have even considered adding an earpiece to the inside of the costume to communicate the time.
An earpiece? Time to introduce Secret Agent Phanatic. You’re welcome, Phillies.
We all know the Phanatic will mess with a fake third base umpire once in a while. It’s classic Phanatic. But real umpires are in on it too sometimes. And to that extent, they could help out when, say, Lady Pha Pha needs to squeeze out once last refrain: Burgoyne told SI that if the Phanatic’s skits were running long, “an umpire might help stall by wiping dirt off the plate.” Probably not Joe West, though. He’s no fun.