February 8th, 2017
Personally, I love 20 inning thrillers that go into the early hours of the morning.
Unfortunately, that feeling is not mutual among common fans, and Major League Baseball is recognizing that.
According to rumors around MLB, Major League Baseball will pilot a program in Rookie Ball, (low level minor league) which will speed up the game.
The rule, which is based of a different variant of this “extra-inning speed-up” rule from the World Baseball Classic, will put a runner on second base to start both the top and the bottom of the 10th (and every subsequent) inning.
This rule, according to Joe Torre, will speed up the game and add an extra component into dealing with extra innings. “It’s not fun to watch when you go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch. As much as it’s nice to talk about being at an 18-inning game, it takes time.” Torre said.
The rule, after being tested in the Rookie League this summer, will be considered for higher levels of play, including the majors.
While there is a lot of opposition from hard core baseball fans, I see this as a positive potential change. This will radically change how managers play in extra innings, and every inning will be important. Coaches and players will no longer be playing for the tie in the ninth, instead, they will be playing for the win.
My only criticism is time that the rule is enforced. The 10th inning is way too early to add an extra baserunner to speed things up. The tenth, eleventh and twelfth are all “early extras”, in my opinion, and, things don’t start to get “slow” until the thirteenth, the same time the rule was implemented for the WBC.
It’ll be interesting to see if this rule change ever takes effect in the big leagues.