When MLB announced they came to an agreement between the MLB Players Association on a shortened 60-game season for 2020 due to the pandemic, they also agreed on other temporary rule changes such as an extra-innings rule, universal DH’s, and 7-inning doubleheader’s.
MLB had already been experimenting with the extra-innings rule idea within Minor League Baseball in an effort to shorten the length of games.
Extra innings (or the 8th inning of a doubleheader game) now begin with a runner on 2nd base and no outs. Do you like it? Should it stick around beyond on the 2020 season? Here’s what Sports Illustrated, MLB Network and ESPN’s Tom Verducci had to say:
“The extra-inning rule is perfect for the season and designed to end games quickly during a pandemic. The fact that it will not be used in the postseason tells you it should not stick around. I like the rule this year because it creates strategic decisions, which is always good, especially at a time the universal DH continues baseball’s slide into dumbing down the game. But in normal times, extra-inning games come along so infrequently that the gimmick of placing a runner out there is not worth it. A good idea should be a good idea in the regular season and postseason – not create two versions of the game.”
I think the temporary placement of the extra-inning rule is a horrible idea. I “get it” and understand the purpose of the rule change during this unusual MLB season, but this rule in my opinion, lessons strategy and is simply a “quick-fix” to shorten the game.
Even though I really don’t play much chess, I understand the game and concept. I’ve never ran a 26-mile marathon, but I get the concept and endurance aspect.
Baseball is a combination of a game of chess and running a 26-mile marathon and changing the rules of a MLB baseball game is like changing the rules of a chess match and a marathon.
What if a 26-mile marathon was reduced to 18-miles. How would it compare to all the other marathons in history? Would it lesson the achievements? I think so.
By MLB instituting this extra-inning rule during the pandemic to shorten the span of the game is just like altering the pieces of a chess game and changing the sequences the pieces are allowed to move, and this would drastically impact the strategy of the match.
You don’t see the NBA & NHL altering game rules in an effort to “shorten their games.” Pandemic or not, baseball is baseball and has been played the same way for over 100-years. The game is perfect just the way it is, and Commissioner Rob Manfred & his office need to leave it alone and stop tampering with this great game & National Pastime.