clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Apparently extra innings are boring

New, comments

Having a runner on second to start extra innings is a really bad idea

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Texas Rangers Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

This new proposed rule is stupid.

I have yet to come up with one good argument defending it. Oh, I tried. But I don’t even understand how someone sat down and came up with it, unless the person who thought of it hates fun.

Let me tell my takeaway from this rule — apparently, someone thinks extra innings are boring. Clearly that someone did not watch game 7 of the World Series.

The rule: every extra inning begins with a runner on second.

Every extra inning starts with a runner in scoring position.

Read it again: Every extra inning will start with a runner already in scoring position.

Apparently this madness helps pace of play in extra innings.

Personally I’ve never understood why people argue that baseball is too slow. Three hours is about the average, 2016’s average was just under that. Football games are usually longer and no one complains about pace of play over there.

Personally, I believe this rule is terrible, and won’t even accomplish its purported goal of speeding up the game. If anything, this rule will make me wish for ties in baseball. It’s that bad.

Reason 1- Assuming that the person taking second would be the player lined up for the next at bat, it takes an at bat away from a player.

One less opportunity Adrian Beltre gets to add to his hit total. Or homerun total.

If the person standing on second is a power hitter and their at bat was taken away, how does that help the team batting, or the game, for that matter?

What if Beltre was a single away from his fourth cycle and instead of getting a shot, the bat is taken out of his hands by this new rule and he’s put on second?

Reason 2- It may save the pitching staff, but it’ll run through the bench quickly. Let’s say Adrian Beltre is the runner put at second. An away game. You could easily put in a pinch runner, let’s say DeShields. DeShields steals third. All you need is a sacrifice to score. What if the next batter isn’t the best bunter - do you pinch hit? Do you risk a huge strike out? If the inning ends do you put Delino in the OF? You’re going to need a new third baseman to replace Beltre anyway. This trick just burned at least 2 guys, maybe even 3...and you have to do it at least one more time! Yikes...

Reason 3- There are ways around this. The pitcher just intentionally walks the next batter, setting up a force on third or a double play. Which leads to more intentional walks, more bunts...more of the types of plays that MLB is wanting to reduce in the first place.

Reason 4- How are we putting this in the box score? I hope it’s not an earned run on the pitcher if the player at second scores..but is it an intentional walk? What do we score for the runner at second? A walk artificially inflates his on base %. Is there going to be entirely new categories of stats just for extra innings?

Reason 5-

I feel this my bones, we all know it...Yu Darvish will be the first person screwed by this. Probably by Marwin Gonzalez scoring.

Reason 6- Let’s not forget the closers who will start pitching with a runner on. Closers who, we have been assured, are more at ease coming in at the top of an inning rather than coming in and inheriting runners. Will managers be even more reluctant to use their closers in extra innings because they can’t start with a “clean” inning?

Reason 7- Starting this in the 10th inning is too early. If you’re worried about long extra inning games, start this in the 14th inning. An extra inning or two isn’t that bad! Last season, Houston played the most 11+ inning games, 14 games. 14 out of 162... only 8% of their games. Really, that’s so terrible we have to give them a head start by putting a player on 2nd? (I know the other team gets to also put a player at 2nd in their inning but I’m making a point here!)

Reason 8- It’s going to take away from a great pitching duels. Pretend the game is tied 1-1, both runs scored early in the game, the first third of it. Then both starting pitchers locked it in. Because both pitchers dominated for 7-8 innings, a player is put into scoring position because no one can score runs. Yes, let’s punish the pitchers for, ya know, doing their job.

Reason 9- Could you imagine this rule being in place for Major League Baseball last season? Game 7 of the World Series would’ve been very different...

Top of the 10th in game 7th.

Kyle Schwarber put at second, Almora pitch runs. Kris Bryant, sac fly to deep center. Almora at third. Rizzo intentionally walked.

So, runners on the corners, 1 out.

Intentionally walk Zobrist to set up double play? Addison Russel was intentionally walked after Zobrist got the hit to score Almora and break the tie.

Or leave everything the same as it happened in that inning. It doesn’t change much. 8-6 Cubs.

Bottom of the 10th...suddenly instead of Napoli striking out, he’s on second. Probably put in a pinch runner.

Then Ramirez grounds out to the shortstop. Runner stays on second, one out.

Brandon Guyer walks (since, Guyer moved up to 2nd on defensive indifference. So let’s say because that runner was put on second. You now have runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out). Then Rajai Davis singles, scoring the runner at second and Guyer. Tying the game 8-8 with one out and a runner on first. Either Cleveland walks it off or more extra innings. And remember, the Cubs just used a pitcher who previously had no career saves and Chapman is already out of the game.

Imagine being a Cubs fan...a whole new curse!

Are you exhausted by this new rule yet?

One of the things I’ve always loved about baseball, it’s not over when the clock stops, it’s over when the best team wins... or when the other team makes a terrible mistake.