Major League Baseball is looking to change up a few things in order to address lack of action in the game.
We heard earlier about their proposal to shrink the strike zone, and do away with the four throws required to walk a batter intentionally. Well, it gets better.
According to a new report from Yahoo! News’ Jeff Passan, MLB wants to prevent extra innings from going too long, and wants to implement a new rule that could help curve that. The approach would consist with putting a runner on second base starting in the 10th inning and every inning after.
The idea is that it would make extra innings more exciting, it would increase the chances of scoring, and it would also put more pressure on the team batting to decide whether or not they’d bunt to start the inning.
Passan notes that MLB will be testing this approach in rookie ball — the lowest level of the minor leagues — in 2017, with the possibility of it being used later on in the majors if all goes well.
One of the supporters of this new and unique rule is former New York Yankees manager and current Chief Baseball Officer at MLB, Joe Torre.
"“Let’s see what it looks like. 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.It’s baseball. I’m just trying to get back to that, where this is the game that people come to watch. It doesn’t mean you’re going to score. You’re just trying to play baseball.”"
While I understand the sentiment behind the idea, I just gotta disagree with ol’ Joe here. Extra inning games are exhausting but seeing an out-of-place player pitch is one of the greatest parts of this game.
There’s also something that feels weird, and not baseball-like about putting a leadoff runner somewhere for no reason. What if that leadoff guy is my best chance of getting a walk-off?
I know we’re still likely a few years away from any rule like this being implemented but the fact that it’ll be tested will definitely raise some eyebrows around baseball and across fandoms everywhere.