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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Travel day curfew policy is flawed


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Brian BaileyReplay Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW. Brian previews Tuesday's Cal Ripken Day at the Sara Vaughn Field of Dreams. Brian's guests: CAL RIPKIN, JR., plus Britt Laughinghouse and David Vaughn of the local Cal Ripken, Sr., Foundation, and Chuck Brady of the national Cal Ripken, Sr., Foundation. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930. (Cal Ripken, Jr., image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
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Travel day curfew policy is flawed
Relievers shine in 12-inning draw
ECU hammers Houston, Joyner sparkles
Basketball building task continues
Brandt tames UH, coach hits milestone
ECU halts Seahawks' home streak
Pirates finding unexpected ways to win
ECU still in opportune position
Pirates survive marathon, grab sweep
Joyner fires four-hitter, Pirates roll

By Brian Bailey
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The sports cliché goes that a tie is like kissing your sister.

As a friend of mine liked to say, I’ve kissed many sisters, just none of them were my own.

Still, the point is that a tie just leaves a certain emptiness about the outcome of a contest, especially in baseball.

Football has gone to overtimes to stay away from tie games. It’s never a problem in basketball either.

Saturday’s 4-4 tie between East Carolina and Houston ended that way when the game reached the three and a half hour mark. The time was predetermined to get the Cougars back on the road to Raleigh to catch their flight back home.

Anyone that has ever coached youth league baseball knows all about time limits. The problem is that baseball is simply a sport that should not be put on a clock.

Baseball is timeless. It’s nine innings, sometimes more as was the case on Saturday.

Games can fly by or take forever to play. Some pitchers work quickly. Others slow the game down, so much so that rules have had to change over the years to force those pitchers have to pick up the pace of play.

The unwritten rule is that if you’re going to play a long game, you’d better not play it on travel day.

Pirate coach Billy Godwin was frustrated when he talked to the media after the tie game.

“I don’t know if I have a reaction,” Godwin said shortly after umpires called the game a 4-4 tie. “I think it is the first time in my coaching career I’ve had a tie game. It’s disappointing because we play to win. We don’t play to tie or lose, but I’m proud of our guys for bouncing back after being down three. We just couldn’t get anything going.”

One of the problems with Saturday’s tie was that many in the Clark-LeClair Stadium seats had no idea that the game was ending after the 12th inning.

The first announcement that I heard came after the third out in the 12th, when the umpires waved their arms, and the public address announcer told the crowd that the game had ended because of the time running out.

I understand that teams have to get back on those travel days. My thinking is that three and a half hours is too short of a time window for such important games. Non-conference games have no such restrictions for the most part. The games that matter most, though, can end in ties.

Why not make it a four and a half hour window for such a “time limit”? Or five hours should be plenty of time to get in a game. After five hours most teams might want to throw in the white flag anyway.

If Saturday’s game had started at 9 a.m. instead of 10 a.m., then there would have been a four and a half hour window. What’s the difference in starting at 9 a.m., especially if it gives you a better chance to decide a winner?

Any parent whose child has played any sport has faced 9 a.m. games on many occasions, I’m sure. Most have had games scheduled for as early as 8 a.m.

East Carolina's six-game winning streak comes to an unceremonious end. The Pirates blew out the Cougars in the first two games but just couldn’t get over the hump late in game three.

East Carolina never got anything going offensively late in Saturday’s game, going down in order in innings 9-12. It was almost like the Pirates had run out of hits after two days during which the offense was overflowing.

Next up is a five-game week with the Pirates visiting Elon, hosting Old Dominion and then hitting the road in Conference USA play at Memphis.

Despite the tie, East Carolina is still very much in the Conference USA race, just a half game behind Central Florida for first place. UCF would also own the tiebreaker over East Carolina because the Knights won the series against the Pirates.

Baseball should never be put on the clock.

If it is, the playing window should be expanded to avoid more “kissing of sisters.”


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04/10/2012 03:07 AM


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