Jones: I'm "Torn" On Yankees/Red Sox Playing In London; Pitch Clocks Are A "Nuisance"

Rule changes are "robbing us of the essence of the game," Jones says

Tiki and Tierney
March 21, 2018 - 6:22 pm

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The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will reportedly square off in London in June 2019, and Brandon Tierney isn’t happy about it. After all, why rob those fan bases of attending the best rivalry in the game?

Chipper Jones has mixed feelings about it.

“I would imagine they’re probably taking a page from the NFL, trying to grow the game a little more worldwide,” the Hall of Famer said on Tiki and Tierney. “But when it comes to the World Baseball Classic, that is what I would consider growing the game. I’m kind of torn. When you're talking about the Yankees and Red Sox, you're talking about the marquee rivalry in MLB. New Yorkers and Bostonians, they live for that.”

Many other baseball fans enjoy the rivalry as well.

“It’s not just that region of the United States,” Jones said. “As somebody who (was) not a big fan of both organizations throughout the course of my career, I still enjoyed turning on ESPN when they’re playing against each other and watching the two organizations go at it, watching the two fan bases go at it. I would hate to see us cheated out of a rivalry series because we’re going to send those two particular teams over. But hey, let’s take a litmus test and see how it goes. If it flops, we won’t ever hear of it again. If it’s a big hit, maybe some other teams (go there) in the years to come. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Tierney sees it as a total money grab by Major League Baseball and feels it penalizes the fans who built those franchises into what they are.

“I don’t disagree with you one bit,” Jones said. “I think we have our little taste of it with the World Baseball Classic every couple years. I think this is basically a spinoff with what the NFL is trying to do with their couple games over there. The fact of the matter is the Yankees and the Red Sox are the Yankees and the Red Sox. I don’t care what time zone they play in. It’s still going to be a heated rivalry.”

Jones, 45, also has mixed feelings about rule changes – both real and proposed. He is certainly not a fan of pitch clocks.

“This is tough subject for me because I’m all for making adjustments and listening to things that might work,” said Jones, a World Series champion, NL MVP and eight-time All-Star. “But I played in a semipro baseball tournament last summer – it was a bunch of retired guys – and they had us on a clock in between innings and a pitch clock and all this kind of stuff. It was so funny because our starting staff was Tim Hudson, Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, Ben Sheets – we had studs out there. You’re not going to go out there and rush to make a time limit, so the umpire would call a ball on them basically to start every inning, and they were like, ‘I don’t care.’ They had these kids eating out of their hands. I think it’s more of a nuisance. I think guys look at it as something that’s just going to amp up the blood pressure.”

Jones also isn’t a fan of prohibiting players from running into catchers or taking out second basemen.

“This is all part of what’s going in America nowadays,” he said. “Let’s not hurt anybody, (but) you play a professional sport at top speed. Sometimes freak things are going to happen. Don’t overreact by taking the essence of the game away from people. And I get it. Sometimes it’s hard to watch a 1-0 baseball game, but it’s also fun to watch a four-and-a-half hour slug fest between the Yankees and Red Sox where they score 27 runs in a game. There’s give and take on both sides. I think it’s a great game when you don’t take things away, and in the game of baseball, it seems like people are sparking conversations to continually take things away from the game, and it’s really robbing us of the essence of the game.”