A tie? How can there be a tie in a spring training game? People pay good money to see a game, and deserve to see that game played out to its conclusion.
Yesterday’s 4-4 tie against the New York Mets was the fifth tie that the Rangers have played to this spring.
It’s an issue that new commissioner Rob Manfred is passionate about. His office released a statement that Major League Baseball is concerned that rather than playing these games to win, managers in spring training games are simply trying to get as many players into the game as possible, denying fans bragging rights.
“These games are not meaningless,” Manfred explained. “A lot of fans pay good money consuming large quantities of expensive beer at these games, and they deserve to have something in their lives they can hold over someone.”
Consequently, MLB is moving to a plan to tie in home field advantage to regular season games based on spring training ties.
So, beginning next spring, for every spring training game that ends in a tie, those teams will lose one home game during the regular season.
“If a team is not trying to win in spring for its fans, why should it be allowed to have a game to win for its fans in the regular season?” Manfred questioned. “Spring training are exactly like All-Star games. Just without any stars.”
To illustrate that point, he talked about yesterday’s New York Mets-Texas Rangers exhibition game. He said it doesn’t matter that Jesus Pirela, who loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth only to give up a crushing game-tying grand slam, would have never been in any regular season game above the AA level.
“Exhibition games are just as important as regular season games and World Series games, and should be treated as such. I mean, fans don’t remember who won last year’s World Series, but they sure as heck know that the game they just watched ended in a 4-4 tie,” Manfred added. “Now they have to go home and when someone asks them who won, they have to say the game was tied, and when someone then asks them how a baseball game could end up in a tie, they have to try to explain it, and that is too much to ask of our fans. That is going to chase away the young fan, and MLB is doing all it can to retain that fan.”
The players union immediately filed a grievance.