The Loop

Is this ridiculous rules change in minor league baseball coming to the majors next?

March 14, 2018

Lachlan Cunningham

Last month we published a post titled, "This new baseball rule being floated is the worst rule in the history of rules" regarding the rumor that teams might get to pick who bats in the ninth inning if trailing. Turns out, we were wrong.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported a different type of rules change is coming to minor league baseball. And it's even worse. Beginning this season, teams will start with a runner on second base if a game goes to extra innings. Yep, this is really happening.

This is baseball's answer to college football's overtime rules in which teams start on their opponents' 25-yard line. And yes, that rule also sucks.

“Player safety has been an area of growing concern for our partners at the Major League Baseball level, and the impact that lengthy extra innings games has on pitchers, position players and an entire organization was something that needed to be addressed," National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues president Pat O'Conner said in a statement.

There's just one problem, Pat. There's no guarantee this will cut down on the number of lengthy extra innings games. Going back to the college football comparison, putting teams in scoring position certainly hasn't done that. Remember that game Eli Manning wound up throwing for about 17 touchdowns for Ole Miss? That lasted longer than the entire Godfather trilogy.

The NABPL also announced its keeping the pitch clock it introduced to the Triple-A and Double-A levels in 2015, and that it's lowering the time limit between pitches from 20 seconds to 15 seconds when there are no runners on base. Now that's an idea we wouldn't mind seeing promoted to the big leagues. Minor league baseball is also putting limits on the number of mound visits during games. Again, good.

At least, so far, there has been opposition to the extra-inning rule. According to the AP, Major League Baseball hoped to introduce it to Spring Training this year and starting with the 11th inning of the All-Star Game, but the MLB Players Association refused to agree.

Good for them. Speeding up the game is one thing, but completely changing the game is another. Let's hope this idea never makes it to the majors.