Starting a runner on second base in extra innings to speed up the game of baseball is not only a joke, but also takes away from the integrity of the game
One of the main tasks that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has focused on since taking over for Bud Selig in 2015 has been to speed up the pace of baseball. Some of the ideas, such as eliminating throwing four balls on an intentional walk and limiting mound visit times to 30 seconds for managers, have seemingly worked out to speed up the game without compromising the integrity of the game itself.
The newest idea, however, is an absolute joke and should never have been approved by MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre or Rob Manfred for that matter.
Although only being tried out in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Arizona Leagues this summer, the imposed change of putting a runner on second base before a batter comes up to the plate completely messes the integrity of baseball. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, Joe Torre had this to say about the matter:
“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.”
Is that really the example Torre wants to give on why this abomination is a good idea? How often do 18 inning games happen? Also last I checked, 18 inning games bring a level of excitement to a game that most people outside the fans of the participating teams normally wouldn’t care about.
Putting a runner on second to start the inning greatly changes the chances of scoring, which won’t make pitchers who can have contract made and broken because of ERA very happy. A fresh inning provides a team a 25.9% chance of scoring at least a run, but with a runner at second base and no outs those odds increase to 61.7%.
Extra inning games should not be a speed issue that anyone in the MLB should worry about. Extra innings bring on excitement to the fans knowing that a timely hit, great pitch, or highlight reel play can determine the game in a single moment. Putting a runner on second base would take away from that excitement.
The last part of the quote says it all ““It’s baseball…. You’re just trying to play baseball.”
If that’s true then don’t mess with the integrity of the game.
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