Extra Innings

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As the Mets and Yankees prepare for their inter-league Subway Series this weekend, let’s quickly review the rules of Major League Baseball. Except for the American League’s designated-hitter rule, the rules governing both the American and National leagues are the same: Batters get three strikes, games go nine innings, steroids are not allowed.

Why, then, does our cable programming guide allot three hours for Yankee games, but only 2½ hours for Met games? Does the Yanks’ DH Hideki Matsui really eat up an extra half hour a game?

According to MLB figures, the Yankees have averaged 3 hours and 3 minutes per game this season, and the Mets come in at a slightly slimmer 2:57. Both have the dubious distinction of playing the longest contests in their respective leagues.

If Met games go nearly three hours, why would SNY set the guides for 2½ hours? The network says it’s to help establish its nightly sports wrap-up program at 10 p.m. "We feel strongly about positioning

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as our nightly flagship sports news show year-round," says a spokesperson.

Too bad, then, for Met fans who record the game on their DVRs and miss the action after the 2½ hour mark. Then again, with the way the Mets bullpen has been imploding of late, perhaps the fans are better off.

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