Major League Baseball provided 17 games of wild-card sudden death and Division Series in the first 10 days (Oct.4-13) of this postseason. There was plenty of drama, yet most of it came at such a dawdling pace that it should have caused full-on panic in the commissioner's office.
The last of those games was played on Thursday night (and Friday morning) in Washington, D.C. It was the lone Game 5 of the four Division Series, Dodgers vs. Nationals.
It was close throughout and ended with Clayton Kershaw, baseball's best starter, getting the final two outs to save L.A.'s 4-3 victory. Even with that twist, it felt more like watching the last nail in the coffin for baseball with sports fans under 55 than an unforgettable moment.
The game time for nine innings was 4 hours, 32 minutes. Washington manager Dusty Baker, always suspect with a bullpen, used six pitchers in a seventh inning that took 1 hour, 6 minutes.
Me, lover of baseball, started watching hunks of the Wild sleepwalking through a 3-2, season-opening loss in St. Louis … the pace at Nationals Park was so disgusting.
Note: If I were to be running for president in 2020 and there was a tape of my terminology being shouted at the TV asking pitchers to throw the ball, it would be as damaging as Donald Trump's conversation on the bus with Billy Bush.
You would have to go back to baseball's segregation days before Jackie Robinson's arrival in 1947 to find something as damaging to baseball as the current pace of play.
Cocaine snorting in the late '70s and early '80s? No big deal.
Union-supported steroid use? Hey, home run hitters drive up the average salaries.
The Cubs will make the TV ratings look OK. Once they win the World Series, that angle will be over, and baseball will return to being unwatchable for generations raised with tablets, video games and maybe color television.
Nine innings, 4:32. Yup, now the Grand Old Game is trying to lose me.
It was so bad that I turned to hockey on Thursday, and that's extra bad.
Read Patrick Reusse's blog at startribune.com/patrick. E-mail him at email@example.com.