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MLB is trying to sneak a rule no one wants in through the back door

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The pace-of-play initiative has hit silly season.

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Major League Baseball has been discussing various pace-of-play changes with the MLB Players Association, including a pitch clock and limiting mound visits.

These aren’t bad ideas, but this one is:

A runner would be put on second base at the start of the 11th inning of the All-Star Game and each additional inning, according to the latest pace-of-game proposal by Major League Baseball.

The experiment also would be used in the 10th inning of spring training games, according to the Jan. 9 proposal obtained by The Associated Press. Spring training games would be capped at 10 innings.

Concerned about injuries in games that don’t count, the players’ association isn’t expected to oppose the concept. MLB isn’t considering using the rule in any games that count.

If MLB isn’t considering using this proposal in games that count, then why use it at all? It’s not like anyone really cares about trying to shorten the All-Star Game, and spring-training games over the last few years have generally ended after 10 innings by mutual consent if they were tied, and sometimes after nine innings if the teams didn’t have any more pitchers they had available to work that day.

I mean, if you’re going to end a baseball game with something that has never been part of major-league rules, why not just have a Home Run Derby to end long extra-inning games?

No, I’m kidding. I wouldn’t want that. Last year across all of MLB, there were 24 games that lasted longer than 12 innings. Here are the numbers for such games over the last 10 years before 2017:

2016: 32
2015: 39
2014: 46
2013: 27
2012: 17
2011: 24
2010: 13
2009: 22
2008: 34
2007: 31

That’s an average of 24 per year over the last 11 seasons — just about one percent of all games. Games that last 15, 18, 19 innings get a lot of positive attention for baseball just because they are fun and unusual. Why kill that?

This seems a solution in search of a problem, sort of like the automatic intentional walk. Rule changes like this aren’t going to make baseball more “fun,” or get people more interested in games. They’re just going to turn off dedicated fans who are really into all aspects of baseball. This wouldn’t make baseball better, it would just dumb it down.

Leave the game alone, Rob Manfred.

Poll

Putting a runner on 2B after the 11th inning...

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Great idea! Speed the game up!
    (39 votes)
  • 89%
    Terrible idea! Leave the game alone!
    (846 votes)
  • 6%
    Don’t care either way
    (64 votes)
949 votes total Vote Now