MLB To Test New Rule To Speed Up Play…But Does It Go Too Far?
If you've ever played in a slow pitch softball league, you've probably encountered some strange rules. Most leagues start the batter with one ball and one strike to help speed up play. Other leagues will place a runner on base in extra innings. Major League Baseball is going to try that rule in some of their minor league divisions this year. If the game goes to extra innings, the team batting will get an automatic runner on 2nd base.
MLB has been trying to cut down the time of games for years now and hasn't seen the success they've wanted. Let's face it, it's cool to hear about that 19 inning game that lasted until 2 in the morning, but did you actually watch it? No. You caught the highlights on TV the next day. Baseball wants to make the games shorter but not cut out the intrigue. They're also trying to eliminate teams going through their entire pitching staff and then bringing in a utility infielder to pitch an inning.
The baseball purist in me screams 'NO' to this new rule. But how many games do I actually sit down and watch per season? Baseball has a pace of play problem but it's not the game's fault. That's the nature of baseball. There is no shot clock. There is no delay of game penalty. Just the game. But to younger viewers that simply doesn't cut it anymore.
You won't have to wait long to see the new rules in effect. The World Baseball Classic next month will also feature a similar set of rules for extra innings. What's next, chugging beers between innings?