“What does he want us to do,” asked Yankee reliever Marino Rivera, “swing at balls?”  Mo was responding to umpire Joe West’s pointed remarks about the excruciating pace of play between the Bombers and Red Sox during the two rivals’ opening series at Fenway Park, and Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia is equally vehement in his defense of….4 1/2 hour baseball games. From ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes :

“To call the Yankees and Red Sox, two of the best teams in baseball, ‘pathetic’ and ’embarrassing,’ that’s just ridiculous,” Pedroia said while sitting in the dugout before Friday night’s game against the Royals.

“If he doesn’t want to do Red Sox and Yankee games, he should tell the umpires’ union. Then when we’re in the World Series, he’ll be out of that assignment, too.”

“What he doesn’t understand is that when we don’t do well in these games against the Yankees, we get killed,” Pedroia said. “So if I’m going to take a deep breath and focus before I get in the box, I’m going to do it.”

Not to take either player’s side in this debate, but if pitchers were made to hit in the AL, you have to figure these Red Sox/Yanks marathons would be at least 30 minutes shorter.  But full credit to the arbiter for not blaming Steven Tyler or Neil Diamond…because that’s exactly what I’d have done.