We’re living in an era in which speed matters, when folks race to fast-food chains, zip through the Internet for immediate information and are dazzled by fleet-footed athletes and quick cars.
Anything slow simply does not have mass appeal, which is why MLB executives are worried. Baseball is slow at the best of times and the execs are seeking peripheral ways to speed up their game. Metro has learned that they’ve been sending directives to clubs, urging them to come up with ideas to liven up their stadiums on game nights. Fast-paced side shows, such as races between innings, are being encouraged.
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Clubs also are being asked to market their games better with gimmick nights. Clearly, though, some are having a tough time with this. The Minnesota Twins, for instance, can’t think of anything better for their home opener than to have an American Idol finalist sing the national anthem.
The Philadelphia Phillies have emerged with a considerably worse idea. Believe it or not, the Phils are having a “Stitch ’n Pitch Night,” asking fans to bring sewing, quilting or other such projects to their June 26 game. Nothing to generate added excitement like knitting needles.
•Don Cherry took a bizarre shot at Paul Maurice yesterday, suggesting on radio that the Maple Leafs coach was guilty of “amateurish bullshit.”
The ex-coach-turned-broadcaster called the Fan 590 to rant about something or other when he was told Maurice said he extracted more satisfaction from his team’s victory over the Devils the other night than he would have had the Leafs provoked fights with New Jersey players in retaliation to a cheap shot against Toronto defenceman Tomas Kaberle. Don Landry, one of the station’s co-hosts, wisely ordered Cherry to watch his language.
•The Blue Jays have stockpiled pitchers but they’re still not sold on any other than Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan, which is why they’re trying to obtain Jon Lieber from Philadelphia in a trade. Lieber was shaky last season but sources say he’s improved now, after receiving a call from ex-Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi, who told him how he was tipping off pitches … Seattle star Ichiro Suzuki carries a silver man purse, something ex-Mariner Jay Buhner believes could not have happened a few years ago. “We’d have taken that thing, dipped it in something and stuck it in the freezer,” Buhner says.