Wednesday we learned that the MLB will begin testing out a rule for extra-inning games in the Arizona League and Gulf Coast League. The new rule, which takes effect in the 10th inning and any necessary subsequent innings, will give each team a runner on 2nd base to begin the inning.
This is likely a response to the popular complaint that baseball games are too long or boring. But it really doesn’t fix or change anything. A viewer is still going to watch the first 9 innings at their often slow pace. This new rule seems to simply be adding un-needed level of tension to the extra innings. Extra innings are great in baseball because of things like walk-off homeruns. With this rule in place, getting the runner over and scoring on a sacrifice fly will likely become a go-to strategy.
It simply seems like a stretch to limit a handful of games a year from having a very exciting finish to a predictable one. The rule changes suggested to have a pitch clock seems like a much better way to speed up games than this new rule. What we also stand to lose are whacky situations where a Left-fielder or First baseman has to pitch because the entire bullpen has been emptied. The only people this change may benefit is players, as they likely won’t have to stay up until 1 am playing in extra innings and have to wake up the next morning for a 1 pm game.