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Papelbon: No need to hurry-up Red Sox-Yankees games

03.25.10 at 2:02 pm ET
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Jonathan Papelbon said there is no reason for Major League Baseball to try to fix the length of Red Sox-Yankees games. (AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Major League Baseball executed a preemptive strike regarding the Opening Night showdown between the Yankees and Red Sox. It told both teams to hurry up.

The Yankees (3:08) and Red Sox (3:04) were the two most deliberate teams in the majors last season, with all of big league baseball averaging 2 hours, 52 minutes. And with meetings between the two clubs often resulting in four-hour affairs, MLB has talked to both organizations about potentially trying to speed things up come Opening Day.

Jonathan Papelbon’s response: Why?

“Have you ever gone to watch a movie and thought, ‘Man, this movie is so good I wish it would have never ended.’ That’s like a Red Sox-Yankees game,” Papelbon said. “Why would you want it to end?”

Asked about having to potentially watch a movie in 30-degree temperatures, the closer offered a solution, simply saying, “Bundle up and drink beer.”

Papelbon, of course, has been one of the targets of Major League Baseball, having been fined upwards of $5,000 last season for slow play. And while he said his case isn’t an issue anymore, the reliever also wonders why there is an issue.

“Not if it was an entertaining game,” Papelbon said when asked if he would mind sitting through a four-hour Red Sox-Yankees game. “An entertaining game I wouldn’t mind. If it was 13-0 I would get out there. I enjoy the games. They’re a little bit longer than most games, but what are you going to do. Like I said, you can do all the things they ask us to do, and we’re doing them and our games are still just as long.

“If you don’t want to be there, don’t be there. Go home. Why are you complaining. I’m not going to sit somewhere I don’t want to be. If you go to a movie or any entertainment event and you like it, you’re going to stay and watch and you’re not going to want it to end. If you don’t, then you won’t. Why is it such a big deal?”

The bottom line in the eyes of Papelbon is that Red Sox-Yankees games are long — and will continue to be long — but that shouldn’t take anything away from the event.

“You can’t change the issues of great hitters having great at-bats, and great teams playing other great teams with lots of pitching changes. You can’t change that,” Papelbon said. “It’s like walking a tightrope. What do you do? What don’t you do? It’s hard keeping everybody happy.”

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