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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hits and misses

* I can’t help but notice the weather forecasters screwed up again. On Wednesday, they predicted that a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico, near Texas, might strengthen into a tropical storm before moving ashore sometime Thursday. Instead, it exploded into a hurricane overnight and roared onto land with winds of about 85 mph. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: What’s the point of telling people what the weather is going to be when you’re wrong most of the time?

* I read on Friday that the Genesis concert in Albany two nights earlier drew only about 8,500 people. No, wait, the review said “a crowd of about 8,500.” The word “only” was nowhere to be found in the review. Nor was the fact that “a crowd of about 8,500” means the hall was more than half-empty (capacity is 17,500) – a stunning embarrassment for a band whose reunion tour was touted as one of the year’s biggest music events. But then, the hall where the band played was the newly renamed Times Union Center, and the review I read was in the Albany Times Union, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by the lack of total disclosure – or the fact that we in the media so often are accused of lacking objectivity.

* Four hours and 43 minutes to play a nine-inning baseball game? The Yankees and Red Sox should be ashamed of themselves – not only for dragging out Friday night’s contest so ridiculously, but for thinking the average fan cares enough to stay tuned in until midnight. Maybe if Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter didn’t reset himself in the batter’s box after every pitch (and have the audacity to hold his right hand up toward the umpire every time, as if to say the pitcher needs to wait a moment before the game can continue), and maybe if Boston slugger David Ortiz didn’t spit on his hands and pound them together after every pitch, and maybe if the entire Yankee infield didn’t converge on the mound every time a pitching coach or Manager Joe Torre came out of the dugout, and maybe if the two teams’ catchers didn’t feel the need to jog out to the mound and chat with their pitchers quite so often – then maybe, just maybe, we could cut the playing time down to, oh, I don’t know, an efficient four hours? And, please, spare me the BS about this being a problem throughout the league. It’s not. It’s a Yankees-Red Sox thing. The Texas-Oakland game Friday night had five more runs, almost the same number of hits and exactly same number of pitching changes as the Boston-New York game and it was over in 3:30. The Phillies-Mets game on Friday went 10 innings and was over in 2:47. And here’s the clincher: The Aug. 22 game between the Rangers and Orioles – in which Texas scored a mind-numbing 30 runs – took only 3:21. I only hope the Yankees and Red Sox don’t meet in the playoffs because postseason games typically start around 8:30 p.m. and presstime for our first edition at the Freeman is midnight.



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