In the 2017 season, the low levels of rookie ball will experiment with a rule change that starts extra innings with a runner on second base. When a baseball game is tied after 9 innings, play continues until one team finishes an inning ahead in the score or unless a boneheaded commissioner decides to commit blasphemy and declare it over. These extra innings are played just like every other inning in a baseball game -- to get on base, you have to get a hit, a walk, or be hit by a pitch.
But under the proposed change, the team at bat would start inning ten -- or whatever inning might be selected -- with a runner on second base. If there's no score, then we go to the other team, who starts their at-bat with their own man on second.
Major League Baseball's Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who should know better but has apparently been testing bat strength with his head, favors the experiment as a way of trying to reduce the stress on a team and fans of dealing with some 18-inning monster contest. He holds that the change would be no big deal:
“It’s baseball. I’m just trying to get back to that, where this is the game that people come to watch. It doesn’t mean you’re going to score. You’re just trying to play baseball.”No, Joe, this is not baseball. It's a gimmick, just like that stupid gimmick of having the league that won the All-Star game have home-field advantage in the World Series. Or like another proposed gimmick, not having to throw all four pitches for an intentional walk. You can mount a case that these changes would make games go more quickly and help maintain fan interest. But so would going to six-inning games, or maybe having three-pitch walks, or whatever. And those changes that would actually be better because they wouldn't be stupid gimmicks and wouldn't add some weird circus aspect to extra innings.
The best commentary I saw on this proposal was a meme that opened with the NFL, following Sunday's silly sudden-death Super Bowl, saying, "I've got one of the dumbest overtime rules of any sport. Pipes up the MLB: "Here, hold my beer."