February 23, 2018

MLB Execs Consider Wild 9th-Inning Batting Rule: Some MLB executives have discussed letting the losing team have any three batters it chooses in the ninth inning, according to Rich Eisen. One said, "Best argument is that no other sport has the best players sitting on the bench in the final minutes of a game."

posted by rcade to baseball at 11:20 AM - 9 comments

The rule is absolute sacrilege, of course, but it would be a more exciting sport if both teams could pick a new batting order in the ninth.

Letting only the trailing team do it is strange. They take the lead, win and the other team never gets equal treatment?

posted by rcade at 11:23 AM on February 23

Yeah, this system works fairly only if the visiting team is trailing in the 9th. So, if the home team is trailing by 1 at the bottom of the 9th and are allowed to use their three best hitters to win the game, how is that fair? Why doesn't the visiting team get the same chance?

The one rule idea that was thrown out there a year or two ago that I really liked was allowing a runner on second base to start with in each of the extra innings.

And can baseball (or any of the major North American sports) please do replay like cricket does? There is another umpire/ref in the media room that reviews the plays and makes the call. This way, we don't have 5 million umps/refs all sauntering off to the replay area to watch those replays and then conferring about how the play should be ruled. Also, make use of extra technology if you can.

posted by NoMich at 11:29 AM on February 23

That's the stupidest fucking suggestion I've heard since about 5:30 yesterday afternoon. Now, if the trailing team had the option to send its best hitter out against the leading team's best pitcher--not to play baseball but to engage in a winner-take-all dance-off--with the stipulation that the leading team gets to select the musical/dance genre and the trailing team gets to pick the specific song, you'd have me investing in the MLB package on an annual basis.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:01 PM on February 23

I cannot write the words that are coming out of my mouth as I contemplate what might be the stupidest idea yet for shortening baseball games. Like anything else, the more you screw with things, the more screwed up they get.

I have heard the local talking heads go on and on about the length of the game. The problem has become twofold. First, the broadcasters, mainly TV, insist on more commercial time. I understand, they have to make money, but cutting the time between half-innings would shorten things immediately. The between half-innings was increased in the not very distant past. Let's go back.

The next problem is the way hitters on some teams approach the game. No longer do they swing away at the first decent pitch. Now the standard approach is to take pitch after pitch, hoping for a mistake or trying to wear down the starter so you can get into the bullpen sooner. When pitchers start throwing strikes early in the count, and force the hitters to swing the bat, games will get shorter. The one idea I have heard that makes sense is for umpires to widen the strike zone slightly. Make it a half a ball width wider on each side of the plate, and the hitters will very quickly learn to swing the bat.

posted by Howard_T at 12:04 PM on February 23

This was a solution in search of a problem: the losing team had eight previous innings to NOT be the losing team but could get a "Get Out of Jail Free" card by selecting their starting hitters?

As for the quote, to cite "star" players in other sports is a flawed argument. Basketball, hockey and football have free substitution, so players could go to the bench for rest and return; thus, the "stars" often are in at game's end. Soccer doesn't have free substitution, so the "stars" must be physically able to go 90/120 minutes or potentially find themselves sidelined.

One beauty of baseball is "strategy" -- pinch-hitters, defensive replacements and relief pitchers are part of late-inning strategy. Here's the GOJF card: I pull my 25-HR, .300 hitting 3B in the 7th for defensive purposes, but I get to bring him back to hit in the 9th. If my new 3B hits just .240 (but is a vacuum with great range), I could skip him in the order, let my first 3B hit, then bring the defensive 3B back if the 10th inning is needed. No strategy there!

posted by jjzucal at 03:19 PM on February 23

I dunno I'm not really that much of a baseball fan but I think this would make the game more exciting. Chances are I would attend a few games and buy the online access package. Certainly I would purchase a cap and jersey of my team from mlb.com and I would post baseball-related comments to Sportsfilter indicating my newly enhanced enthusiasm for America's pastime.

posted by rumple at 12:36 PM on February 24

America's pastime

Actually, it's spelled passed thyme. As in, "Baseball is America's passed thyme."

posted by NoMich at 01:28 PM on February 24

I can just see the equivalent rules in other sports.

Losing NFL teams automatically get the ball on 50 yd line at the 2 minute warning.
Losing hockey teams automatically get a 5-on-3 PP with 5 minutes to go.
Losing NBA teams get 4 straight possessions from half way once the lead is bigger than the minutes remaining in the 4th.
Losing rugby teams get to nominate 1 opponent to go to the sin bin for the final 10 minutes.

Yeah, dumbest rule ever.

posted by deflated at 02:42 PM on February 24

So the team with the lead gets the chance to extend their lead though?

And I assume if you had, say, your 234 hitters coming up anyway you could then go 2341566 or something?

Actually a fun alternative would be for a game going into extra innings, start pulling fielders. So 10th inning no CF, then pull SS for the 11th, 3b for 12th. If you ever get to pulling the catcher the fans will go wild. I love this idea.

posted by rumple at 03:42 PM on February 24

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