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MLB’s placed runner rule in extra innings is now permanent

This is, in my view, a sad day for the sport.

Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Last week, it was reported that MLB was likely to keep the placed runner in extra innings rule.

According to Commissioner Rob Manfred:

“The clubs discussed the permanence of that rule. It’s got to go back to the on-field committee,” Manfred said. “Clubs have gotten used to the extra-innings rule. I think it’s generally well-liked by players. I don’t bet on anything, but if you were going to make a bet, it think it’s a pretty good bet it’s going to continue.”

That bet’s now been decided, and those of you who like the so-called Manfred Man have won:

I’ve gone on record many times as saying I don’t like this rule, and I still don’t. I would have been okay with it if they had made a compromise, such as using it only in the 13th inning or later, but MLB’s Joint Competition Committee has decided otherwise.

In case you were wondering who’s on that Committee:

According to a league source, the players on the new Joint Competition committee are Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals, Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals, Tyler Glasnow of the Tampa Bay Rays and Austin Slater of the San Francisco Giants. Ian Happ of the Chicago Cubs and Walker Buehler of the Los Angeles Dodgers will serve as alternates.

On the ownership side are Seattle’s John Stanton, St. Louis’ Bill DeWitt, San Francisco’s Greg Johnson, Colorado’s Dick Monfort, Boston’s Tom Werner and Toronto Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro.

There is one umpire on the committee, veteran crew chief Bill Miller.

So, depending on which side you’re on regarding this rule, that’s either who to credit or who to blame.

Since this rule has been put in place, only two MLB regular season games have gone beyond 13 innings. For those of you who would leave a ballpark or turn a game off if it goes too long, you’ve gotten your wish. I’d rather have the possibility of 18 innings or longer, especially since those games are extremely rare. The Cubs, for example, played just nine games of 18 innings or longer from 1961-2019 (and just two since 1986).

Further, I found the 1-0 18-inning playoff game between the Mariners and Astros last October to be compelling, interesting baseball. Sure, the stakes were higher in a division series game than in a regular season game, but again, these games are extremely rare. In all of postseason history, there have been just six games of 18 innings or longer, all of them since 2005.

We’ll still have the possibility of those, because this new rule does not apply to postseason games, and thank heavens for that.

Lastly, I looked up the records for home teams in recent extra-inning games. From 2010-19, home teams went 1,099-1,028 (.517) in extra innings. Over the last three years, since 2020, home teams are 249-251 (.498). That’s a much smaller sample size, but it hints that away teams might have something of an advantage with the placed runner.

The pitch clock this year will improve pace of play and thus shorten games. In my view, MLB did not need this rule to further shorten games. Lastly — if MLB is so worried about long days or nights at the ballpark, why not bring back the seven-inning games in doubleheaders? I rather liked those.

Onward. It’s a rule now, so I shall stop complaining about it.


MLB’s new permanent placed runner rule in extra innings...

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Love it!
    (71 votes)
  • 66%
    Hate it!
    (311 votes)
  • 18%
    Don’t care either way
    (87 votes)
469 votes total Vote Now