Hunter, Palermo blame Sox, Yanks for delay of game

Could we finally see a decrease in the amount of time it takes the Red Sox and Yankees to play their increasingly antagonizing marathons this season? If Major League Baseball umpire supervisor Steve Palermo has anything to do about it.

Palermo is one of eight panelists convened by USA Today, which is running a week-long series on how to improve the game in various aspects. Yesterday’s focus was the on-field product, including MLB’s ongoing attempt to speed up the game. Palermo and Angels outfielder Torii Hunter weren’t afraid to point fingers.

The trouble, Palermo says, is there are certain teams and individuals who continually ignore baseball’s directives.

“This is a hot button with the commissioner,” Palermo says. “We’ve got a couple teams – I’m not going to name names, but I think everybody knows who they are – and they’re arrogant. They don’t think this pertains to them. I had a president of one of those ballclubs tell me the system is flawed. I told him, ‘Then how did the 28 other teams conform to what we’re asking except for you and your next-door neighbor that you have a rivalry with?”

Says Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, realizing along with the other panelists that Palermo is alluding to the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, “Everybody else gets screwed but those two teams.”

Palermo was particularly annoyed with Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was fined last season for throwing excessive pitches in the bullpen after being summoned, then tore up the letter of discipline in front of sports reporters.

“You know what?” Palermo says. “If somebody acts up, whack them. I’m talking about $50,000. And then $100,000. And then $200,000. You usually get the attention after the $100,000 mark.”

Roger Goodell would have baseball’s average length of game down to less than two hours.

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