Bob Howell

By the time this is printed, we’ll know who won the World Series ... the Atlanta Braves or the Houston Astros. (Editor's Note: It was the Braves!)

I started watching the playoffs thinking to myself what a great match-up it would be to have the Braves in the World Series. I honestly had more faith in a Braves vs. Astros, with the Braves pulling it out in 6 games.

During the l-o-n-g games I had a chance to wonder what else I could be watching instead of the Series. And I must admit I found the players themselves to blame for the drawn-out games. 

I have never seen as many tics displayed by both teams’ pitchers and hitters. Batters would rip the Velcro gloves off their hands and reattach them on nearly every pitch. Then they would take several practice swings. 

Occasionally, the batters would hold their hands in the air asking the home plate umpire for a momentary time out. I don’t remember seeing the umpire denying the request.

With Houston’s reliever Luis Garcia on the mound, you can count on a lot of wasted time. His “rock the baby” wind up is responsible for plenty of time gone by as he winds and eventually gets around to actually throwing the pitch. It is truly one of the strangest — and slowest — movements I’ve ever seen. Look for him next year ... if you’ve got the time.

And then there were the big time wasters ... clean baseballs. No longer was a dirty baseball allowed back in a game. 

If the ball hit the ground and had the slightest scuff or stain from touching the ground, it was replaced. I’m going to find out just how many baseballs were used this year! I’m sure the number was staggering.

Another, less time demanding, is the review of plays to see if a player was correctly called  safe or out ... or whether a long ball was really a home run or a less impactful double off the fence. 

Just when baseball drags along at a snail’s pace, they go and find a way to make the nine innings of regulation play even longer! I guess they didn’t want football to get a head start on Americas favorite pastime.  

And what child in his right mind would want to grow up to be a professional baseball umpire? You get screamed at, cursed, and physically assaulted for a living!

Speaking of the "cool” part of the sport, you could always join the broadcasting side of the business. One such example is Joe Davis. You may remember Joe’s career as the play-by-play announcer for the Montgomery Biscuits. Joe filled in for a few days when all of our sports staff at WSFA-TV 12 were out of town. Joe anchored the sports segments with a same flair and professionalism I had heard on the Biscuits radio broadcasts.

Now, Joe handles a major portion of the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcasts. When I tuned into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints on Fox TV network last Sunday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to see (and hear) Joe handling the national game for Fox. 

He was terrific and in my humble opinion Joe is one of the rising stars in sports broadcasting. Keep an eye and ear out for Joe Davis ... he’s come a long way from calling Biscuits games as a one-man band in Montgomery! 

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