Oh, you don’t like fist pumps? Hate pimping a home run? Think bat flipping should be punishable by firing squad? Well, then I got news for your old timers, we’re just going to pluck a dude off the bench and throw him on second base to start extra innings, how do ya like that for playing the game the right way?
So, all in all, the proposed rule change for the MLB will have teams place a runner on second base at the beginning of the 10th inning and each inning thereafter in order to promote run scoring and limit the length of games.
This new rule, as reported by Jeff Passan, has been common in international baseball and college softball and will be implemented into the World Baseball Classic and Arizona and Gulf Coast rookie leagues. And while I hate the Goose Gossages who whine and throw a fit every time someone “disrespects the game” or “doesn’t play it the way it was meant to be played,” I have to side with purists, this is not the way the game was meant to be played and here’s why:
- In case you’re unfamiliar, #WeirdBaseball is the best baseball and it occurs when a game passes midnight in your timezone. Now, what does Weird Baseball get you? Weird Baseball means you have an excuse to eat ice cream no matter what the other circumstances are. Keep baseball weird, keep ice cream in your fridge.
- The only thing better than #WeirdBaseball is when position players end up pitching. That phenomenon only occurs in the wackiest and most elongated contests, something starting with a runner in scoring position would severely diminish.
- Tommy John surgery is seemingly becoming a right of passage these days for pitchers and immediately placing relievers into high leverage situations inning after inning will only increase that. These situations and additional pressure lead to overthrowing and an increased desire to make pitches and hit certain velocities, all of which are a recipe for injury.
- It’s an overcorrection for a problem that simply doesn’t exist. Baseball games don’t often last very far into extra innings, with teams on average only playing four 12+ inning games per year over the past decade.
So, while I’m often on the side of evolution and progression in sports, this isn’t the way to go about it. This unnecessary emphasis the MLB is placing on run scoring is not going to “save the game.”
Mostly because the game doesn’t need saving.
Local TV deals are worth ungodly sums of money and at this point you either love baseball or you don’t, there are very few things you can do to convince people to get in on a naturally slow moving game that lasts upwards of 3 or 4 hours with seasons nearly double the length of the other sports.
Embrace your weirdness baseball, those who have loved you from the start will continue to do so unconditionally.