When we were kids playing baseball in the backyard we made up rules since quite often we had maybe four to a team, or maybe not that large of an area to play in, or maybe obstacles to deal with.
Like, hit the tree and it’s a foul ball (even though the tree was solidly in left-center).
Ghost runners. For those times when you’re up to bat but you’re also on base.
No hitting the ball to right field. Unless you were a lefty.
Dad’s car was third base.
Three pitch maximum. Unless you were my big brother then you got as many pitches as it took to hit the ball.
No leadoffs or steals.
Things like that.
It seems like the commissioner of our backyard games is now in charge of spring training. There are all sorts of weird, silly rules.
The Rangers played a six-inning game yesterday. Because Chris Woodward didn’t want to play a longer game. Yes, you can do that now.
So they went into the bottom of the final inning losing to the home team but the home team still got to bat. Yes, you can do that now. Luckily, the Rangers relieve didn’t blow the loss.
And two of the innings weren’t really innings because Woodward decided his pitchers had thrown enough pitches so the inning was over. Both times, the Royals had bases loaded, so they ended up not scoring. Yes, you can do that now.
Since the Royals wanted to play a complete nine-inning game and the Rangers didn’t, once the Rangers left the field after the sixth, the Royals split up and played the final three innings against themselves. Yes, you can do that now.
The pandemic is causing some strange things to happen to spring training games. But the Rangers should keep the rule that they can end an inning anytime they want to by simply declaring their pitcher had thrown enough pitches. Or, better yet, let Rangers fans decide when we have seen enough of a Rangers pitcher and get him out of the game. It might make the season much more pleasant. Or tolerable.
Oh, and why would Woodward want to play only six innings? Is his team already so set that he doesn’t have a pitcher that needs to throw an inning or a hitter that couldn’t use an at-bat? Isn’t that the only reason for spring training? The get more practice in part?
It seems like with so many players in camp you’d want more opportunities to see how they do, not fewer.
Why not take advantage of the rule that says you can have six outfielders and put six players out there to give them playing time.
No, you really can’t do that. But who cares? It’s spring training. Make up the rules as you go.