- Jim Caple, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball and evidently that's because their players are paid by the hour.
This World Series will at least match 2001 for the latest end to a postseason in history and the Yankees are doing their best to stretch things out even longer. They have endlessly delayed this entire postseason by holding up play with regular meetings between catcher Jorge Posada and the pitchers. The Yankees hold so many mound summits, it's as if the United Nations were in charge.
"We counted like 11 or 12 yesterday, and then today, Posada goes out there [his] very first batter," Philadelphia reliever Chad Durbin said after Game 5. "And we're like, 'Here we go again.'"
Eleven or 12? Heck, one reporter counted Posada visiting CC Sabathia eight times in a single inning Sunday. Some teams meet on the mound to make sure everyone is on the same page. The Yankees meet regularly enough to make sure everyone is on the same syllable of the same word of the same sentence of the same paragraph on the same page. And once everyone is, then they discuss the font style.
It all seems a tad excessive, doesn't it?
"That's the word I was thinking of: excessive," Durbin said. "But there's no other stage bigger than this, and if there is any indecision or doubt, maybe they think they need to go out a little more often. I've watched a lot of postseason games and it doesn't seem like that's the case [usually], but who knows."
It's ridiculous. You're watching an entertaining World Series game, eagerly anticipating the delicious matchup between a former Cy Young winner and a past MVP, and then a PBS pledge drive breaks out.
"It's just overprotective sometimes, I think," Phillies reliever Scott Eyre said. "Personally, I don't like it when the catcher comes out there so many times because I'm usually there for only one or two batters. But I would never question the way any catcher does it. Both those guys are very good catchers and Posada has been around a very long time."
Posada doesn't limit his delays to the mound, however. He stepped out of the batter's box twice before one pitch in the seventh inning Monday. That's right, he called for a timeout twice between pitches! Evidently, he didn't like the fact that Philadelphia pitcher Cliff Lee was going to throw a pitch without first getting express written permission from the commissioner of baseball. Home plate umpire Dana DeMuth, apparently as fed up with the Yankees' delays as the rest of the public, didn't grant him the second timeout and Lee sneaked in a strike while Posada awkwardly tried to get ready. Naturally, Posada wasn't happy about that, but what does he expect? Next thing you know, he'll ask for permission to stop the game while he goes to the bathroom.
"You know what he's trying to do?" Durbin said. "Cliff Lee works quick and he wants to disrupt his timing and get his team back in the game. He's a veteran; there's no reason for him to be doing it other than pushing buttons."
Is there really a need for so many delays and so many meetings on the mound? Are the Yankees worried baserunners may steal their signs? Are they debating pitching approaches and locations for each batter? Going over fielding alignments? Or just discussing the finer points of poultry sacrifice and possible wedding gifts?
Given the frequency of the mound conferences, it's probably all of the above.
"Better safe than sorry, maybe that's what they're thinking," Durbin said. "I mean, at this point I guess the thing is to not not say something that was on your mind and think about it after the fact. The last thing you want to do is leave something on the table. It all comes down to this. Nobody is going to remember all those games you played before unless these games are won."
Well, no one will be able to remember them either if we all fall asleep waiting for the games to resume.
And I'm not so sure it's helping. During Game 3 of the ALCS, Yankees manager Joe Girardi went out to the mound to talk to Andy Pettitte with a 2-2 count on Vladimir Guerrero just to go over the situation and make sure, in the pitcher's words, "everyone was on the same page." That meeting worked so well that Guerrero slammed the very next pitch over the fence for a game-tying home run.
So, c'mon guys. Give us a break -- it's already November. Get back behind the plate. Get back in the box. Get back on the rubber. But for God's sakes, just get on with it.
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.