Ask Gary: Are relievers paid by the hour?

by Gary Shelton on May 21, 2016 · 5 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays

Rays can barely contain their excitement as reliever Xavier Cedeno warms up./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Rays can barely contain their excitement as reliever Xavier Cedeno warms up./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

(Each week, the readers take over and play Ask Gary. They send in a question, or a couple, on Thursday night or Friday morning and we all talk about the world of sports.  Think of it as a radio show where you don't have to be on hold. Join us and ask a question, make a comment or be funny. Send the questions to

Saturday, 6 a.m.

Colome goes through his work wihtout a hurry./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Colome goes through his work wihtout a hurry./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Is it just me, or do MLB baseball games go into slow motion once relievers have been put into the game? I understand if runners are inherited, but it seems to happen even if a reliever is put into the game to start an inning. Do the relievers get bonus money for mound time?

Cecil DeBald

Isn't the end of every sport the same? The last 30 seconds of an NBA game can last as long as a presidential term. College football games never seem to finish.

But you're right. Baseball is an untimed sport, and when it gets to the end, it's a Heinz commercial. It goes sooooo slow. You can order a pizza, and it will be here before you see the first ball outside.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (its at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

A lot of times, the pitcher doesn't want to turn loose of it, and the batter wants to adjust his gloves 873 times, and the manager keeps visiting the mound. All of the pitching changes don''t help.

By contrast, time the third inning. Everyone seems to move with a purpose. But baseball is like that party at your neighbor's house. It drags at the end.

Something I've noticed lately. Sports writers (or their editors) will title an article "---?" So all of them I read, the answer to the question is "I don't know" or "No" depending on the headline. "Will the Mets win the World Series?" I don't know (but it didn't keep the reporter from writing the article). "Is Kobe Bryant gay?" No (but I wrote a whole article to tell you that). Is there some study that says article titles with question marks get higher readership or something?

Cecil DeBald

First of all, Cecil, I have to ask if there is any gossip about Kobe. Not that it matters.

As you know, writers don't write the headlines. That's a function of the shape of the layout. But if an editor has trouble finding a point to an article, a question mark is an easy solution. "Will Winston Be Better in Year Two?" "How Many More Golds Will Phelps Win?" "Is Greg Hardy a Jerk or What?"

Usually, it's an article of discussion possibilities.  With lessened access, with tighter deadlines, writers often have to produce without having any real meat. So they give a situation and both sides to it. Here's what obstacles Michael Phelps has to face. Here's where Winston has to be better.

Personally, I prefer a question mark in a headline over someone declaring "Winston Will Be an All-Pro in Year Two" because they can't know that. But those kind of think pieces are no substitute for a real article, and everyone knows it.

Readers are smart these days. They don't just want to read about what happened. They want to read a hint into tomorrow.

"Will the Rays Draw Any Better in a New Stadium?" strikes me as a lively discussion.  If it's written well, there will be elements and contributing arguments to the question to give you food for thought. Remember, any headline with a question mark isn't giving you the answer. It's asking for one from you.

John Lynch is being inducted into the Bronco Ring of Honor, so if he is elected to the NFL HOF, does he go as a Bronco or Buc? And whose call is that in the NFL: the player or the league?

Football players don't wear caps like baseball players. They're usually identified with the teams they played with mostly, though. You won't see the Bucs mentioned with Anthony Munoz, for instance. Or even Randall McDaniel or Steve Young. They might be mentioned in the bio.

If John gets into the Hall, and I think he deserves it, he'll have both the Bucs and Broncos mentioned underneath his bust. Frankly, he made Pro Bowls for both teams, so he deserves it. But no one would ever question that Lynch was a Buc. The team was stupid for letting go of him when he was telling his agent just to get a deal done. I mean, has the team had a real safety since he left?

Here's the deal:  In Colorado, it'll be "Ex-Bronco Lynch Joins Hall." In California, it'll be "Ex-Stanford Great Lynch Joins Hall." But in 48 states and parts of Canana, it'll be "Ex-Buc Lynch Joins Hall."

Put it this way: Warren Sapp played for the Raiders. But do you have any doubt where is identification with fans is?

If manager Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays wants to win an audition to do standup at the local comedy club, he can simply go with what he said the other day: "We are still built around our pitching."

Howard Powders

The sad part, Howard, is that the hitting is so bad, that might still be true. For crying out loud, what are the Rays built around? The strikeout ... by their offense?

Who wins this series: Lightning or Penguins?  (If the Pens win on Friday, delete this one . LOL)

Jim Willson

That's cheating, Jim. But as much as I hate to say it, because I have found this Lightning team to be very good in these playoffs, I'd have to go with Pittsburgh. And I write this before Game Four starts. They've just played better. They're a deeper, more dangerous team, and they're young goalie has played well.

I have noticed that some national writers do not like to give Billy Donovan any credit for the season that OKC is having.  Whats your take on the job that he is doing in the pros?

Jim Willson

I love Billy. He certainly did a good job against San Antonio and Greg Popovich.

Early in Donovan's career, he was young and pushed the edges, and he developed a reputation as a recruiter rather than a coach. In some ways, that stuck with him even through back-t0-back titles. But even in college, I always thought he was a better coach than he's given credit for being.

It's the same with Oklahoma City. The Thunder wasn't terrible when he came. So he isn't likely to get a lot of credit until he wins it all or, at least, comes close. But it'll happen. Billy is too good a guy. The national writers are going to love him.

As usual, I liked your column with Jerry Angelo.   When it comes to players doing good deeds, do you know of many local ones that would surprise us, because they never allowed it to be publicized?
Jim Willson
There are tons, Jim. Vincent Jackson does a lot of work with the military. Chris Archer is wonderful at reading to kids. I understand that Gerald McCoy is charitable.
You know a lot of the givers in Tampa Bay? They're the same guys. Warrick Dunn is still giving away houses. Derrick Brooks still helps kids.  Randy Grimes still helps players with drug problems. Jeff Vinik is terrific.
I was lucky. I came along at a time when Tony Dungy stressed giving back. John Lynch. Lee Roy Selmon. Vinny Lecavalier. Brad Richards.
We'll have those kinds of players again when the teams are good. For some reason, that seems to bring out guys who think of themselves as part of the community and who wants to reach out.

Sadly,  Morley Safer died just days after his retirement.  When your Paper Mate pen finally runs out of ink, how do you think it will go for you?   Are career journalists so tightly coupled to their craft that when they stop doing it, it is like the flow of oxygen stops?  Observing from afar, I get the sense that you guys really love what you do, because the hours are terrible, missed family time is unavoidable, the deadlines are always there, and my guess is you don't get paid time and half for over 40 hours, or 10% night bonus, or triple time for holidays. So I would appreciate hearing if you have a personal reaction to the very sad passing of Morley Safer, one of the best in your business.

Scott Myers

Scott, I saved your question for last on purpose. I've been struggling as to how to answer it with the death of my friend and former co-worker Terry Tomalin. His death affected me much more than Safer, who I admired but from afar.

Terry was terrific. I don't know of anyone who said a bad thing about him. As I wrote in the blog, he was bigger than all outdoors.

He and I worked together for years, covering the Olympics, sharing coffee. Our wives worked together. My daughter was in his wedding. For years, his family lived a few blocks from mine.

I loved the guy. He was a wild guy, the kind of key who would hunt boar with a pocket knife. Once, he asked if I had eaten squirrel. When I told him I had, he asked about rabbit. Yes. And it was on. Turtle? Goat? Quail? Finally, with the look of a gunslinger, he asked if I had ever eaten a grub. I told him I had not. He looked triumphantly at me. "I've eaten a grub." As he was walking away, I asked "What does a grub taste like." He said it was "bitter...chalky." So, I asked, why in the world would you eat one.

But that was the point with Terry. He ate one because most of us wouldn't. He swam with sharks because most of us wouldn't. And I'll miss him.

So when I saw your note asking about my demise, it affected me. Most weeks, it wouldn't have.

How will it go for me when it's over? I'll be ticked the end came as soon as it did. I'll hope my wife and children will be all right. I'll want to hear "Thunder Road" one last time.  And I hope that someone will raise a glass and think about this story or that one and how it affected them.

"Gary was okay in the newspaper," they will say, "back when they had newspapers."

One thing, though, Scott.

You don't know something I don't, do you?




Share with:Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick Martin May 21, 2016 at 7:33 pm

Condolences for the loss of your friend and colleague. The Times as well as his coworkers on sports radio paid great tribute to Mr Tomalin. I’m sure he was aware of how highly he was held in esteem by those around him before he died. I feel for the young teens and Mrs Tomlin for their loss.


Gary Shelton May 21, 2016 at 11:21 pm

I hope he was aware. I feel for his children and Kanika as well.


Cecil DeBald May 21, 2016 at 11:59 am

Sorry for your loss, Gary.



Gary Shelton May 21, 2016 at 11:22 pm

Thanks, Cecil. Truly a great guy.


scott myers May 21, 2016 at 7:08 am

Don’t worry. I don’t know something you don’t. As Sergeant Schultz of Hogan’s Heroes used to say: ‘I know nothing’ 🙂


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: