Here is how I learned that Friday’s Cubs vs. Indians game at Sloan Park would be seven innings long:
Today’s lineup for 7 innings against the Cubs. Triston McKenzie will get the start. Cal Quantrill and Emmanuel Clase are both slated to pitch. pic.twitter.com/ksRRjVaRn4— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) March 5, 2021
Mandy Bell is an Indians beat writer. I didn’t see this from any of the Cubs beat writers, nor from the team.
Here’s a note from a Mariners beat writer about their upcoming games:
The Mariners game vs. the A's today will be 7 innings. Oakland informed them of that last night.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) March 6, 2021
The game vs. Angels on Sunday will also be 7 innings.
Fans may not like it, but ...
And here is how I found out about today’s game length of seven innings... from a Brewers beat writer:
Brewers and Cubs are scheduled for seven innings today. Listed to be on the bump for the Brewers: Brett Anderson, Josh Lindblom, Miguel Sánchez, Zack Brown and Thomas Jankins.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 6, 2021
Let me say right now that I don’t mind the shorter spring games this year. I understand the reasons for having them and they make a great deal of sense. In case you are not familiar with those reasons, they include allowing pitchers to ramp up at a slower pace than they would in a “normal” spring. This is also the reason why innings can be ended after 20 pitches. As Cubs manager David Ross said:
“To give the fans the best product we possibly can, we need to protect guys on the front end after only playing 60 games last year and having limited innings,” Ross said.
“And as much as these guys are unbelievable athletes and really take care of their bodies, the wear and tear is real, and so we’re trying to protect those guys so fans can see a great product throughout the summer and not have a guy from Double A coming up and making his debut because he’s not ready with his stuff yet.”
I’m 100 percent fine with this and the other spring training rule modifications.
What I’m not fine with is the lack of communication. I know about these things because, well, it’s my job to know. Most fans, though, might not be as in touch with these things. As a result, it would be a good thing for the Cubs to make announcements at Sloan Park (for home games) about the length of the game and the inning-ending rule, and perhaps note on Twitter each day how many innings the game will go.
Better communication is always helpful. Hoping the Cubs will do more of this going forward.