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October 31, 2013

As the World Series ends, let's consider shortening games

Game 2 of the 1958 World Series is one I will never forget, and one I have been thinking about frequently as this year’s Fall Classic unfolded.

For that I can thank my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Ryan.

That year’s series paired the New York Yankees against the Milwaukee Braves. The game, which was played on Oct. 2 at County Stadium in Milwaukee, had Bob Turley on the mound for the Yankees against Milwaukee’s Lew Burdette.

It wasn’t even a tense or drama-filled game. The Braves scored seven runs in the home-half of the first inning and sailed past the Yankees 13-5.

What was so special about that game was that our teacher let us listen to the radio play-by-play the last hour or so of class. The only condition was that we couldn’t talk or scream if there was a big play.

How could life get much better than that? Work on multiplication tables and spelling could be put aside and listening to baseball was the assignment.

The games were televised back then, but by the time I walked home from school they were generally over, except for the post-game recap. Today’s kids will never get to experience a special moment like that, not even close.

World Series games, which once started about the time lunch was served, now begin long after dinner has been finished and the dishes washed and put away. Today’s night games, if you live in the Eastern time zone, can stretch into the next day.

I heard some radio talk show guys discussing the 1926 World Series a few days ago and recalling a game-ending play, somewhat like the obstruction call to end Game 3 in this year’s Boston-St. Louis match-up. In that epic series, the Yankees’ Babe Ruth was caught attempting to steal second with two out in the bottom of the ninth, handling St. Louis a Series-clinching 3-2 victory in Game 7.

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