The Rangers won their practice game yesterday by virtue of this abomination of—since the game was tied heading into the ninth—starting the inning with a runner at second base. Nothing shouts louder to fans, “Hey we know our sport is dull so we will graciously put you out of your misery” quite like that. It’s the opposite of good PR.
Why stop there?
Why not just one pitch—if it’s a ball, the batter walks; if it’s a strike or a foul, he’s out; if he hits it, the play unfolds? Why not let the batter toss up the ball himself and hit it where he wants? Why not start the inning with two outfielders and three infielders? Why not let the batter call the pitch? Why not have a ghost runner at third? Why not have the pitcher and batter answer trivia questions to determine the outcome of the at-bat? Why not just go to a home run derby format to determine the outcome of an extra-inning game, baseball’s version of a face-off?
Or, better yet, why not just leave the game alone? Why not quit telling fans this game deserves a mercy killing?
Yesterday, The Athletic ran the results of their second-annual survey about a range of topics, many of them rules changes. They surveyed more nearly one-third of major league players, representing all thirty teams
As for tinkering with the game, here is what some players think about that.
When asked if MLB should ban the shift, only 17.4 % said yes. An overwhelming 77.2% said no (the remainder had no opinion). Many of the stronger advocates in the “no” camp were, as you can imagine, pitchers who said things like, “I get a lot of outs that way,” and, just tell hitters to “learn to hit the f-ing ball the other way.” The Athletic said even hitters were not interested in banning shifts, maybe regulating them.
Why not leave the game alone and learn to hit the f-ing ball the other way?
Interestingly, when asked if the DH should be expanded to the National League, 59% said no. One percent reason for the no vote came from a player who pointed out that “it will hurt jobs for utility players. Guys who make their living playing off the bench and playing multiple positions will drop.”
One NL pitcher said any pitcher who didn’t want to hit and run isn’t a real athlete.
The article revealed a number of other interesting insights that were non-rules related (like 62% of players think Bryce Harper is the most overrated player, “what has he done besides have one year?”), it’s interesting to get players’ perspectives on the game.
It would be interesting to get the players’ take on this extra innings rule.
After all, this is their job, their industry. Nobody likes changes at work.
Especially not the stupid changes.