Should MLB start extra innings with a runner on second base?
via AP

Should MLB start extra innings with a runner on second base?

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#KeepItTraditional
Join the conversation and vote below

The MLB is testing a new rule that would automatically place a runner on second base during extra innings. The rule is designed to speed up the game and help avoid over-taxing players. Supporters of the rules say change can be a good thing. Baseball purists are up in arms against the proposed rule because they see the "so-called problem" part of what makes baseball beautiful. It's not a bug, it's a feature. What do you think? ⚾️

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The new rule tries to speed up games by having overtime periods play under different rules, similar to the NFL and NHL. Right now, extra innings tend to drag on and become grueling as exhausted players try to end the game. The move would speed this process up and inject much needed drama as baseball struggles to compete with more action-filled sports like football and basketball.  

In addition to the increase in action a forced runner would create, so too would a philosophical element enter the game: to bunt or not to bunt. The other advantages are not quite as Shakespearean but certainly pragmatic. Amid concern about fatigue and travel, the presumption of shorter games with the new rules could save players from the rigors of extra-innings affairs that slog into the night. Further, the taxation on young arms – especially those in the minor leagues – would be mitigated.

Some fans welcome the change. They think baseball is being dragged down by its obsession with statistics and orthodoxy. Baseball games keep getting longer and efforts to speed up the game have not been successful. The key is to keep on trying and tinkering—things don't need to stay the same forever. 

So try this idea, then try the next one. Tinker in the minors and in spring training, but don't fear changing the game at the major league level. The best plan may be one gigantic overhaul, a line in the sand for the purists who can talk about the game before the change and after. But the focus for the switch would be for entertainment and interest and fun and watchability, not a middle reliever's stat line or the ability to debate Corey Kluber vs. Catfish Hunter.

Baseball purists don't see long extra innings and weird things they cause as a problem. It's what makes baseball magical—the unpredictability and weirdness only add to baseball. Besides that, this is a solution in search of a problem. The situation it tries to address is very specific and doesn't really happen all that often in practice.

But there’s a reason the Pos Players Pitching Twitter account exists; those occasions ought to be celebrated as a manifestation of baseball’s wondrous ability to give fans something they’ve never seen before. You can’t look at a line like Chris Davis’s from the Orioles’ 17-inning game in 2012 — 0-for-8 batting with five strikeouts and a double-play; two innings pitched, no runs allowed, one win — without also appreciating the potential of a sport that creates that little bit of magic on an otherwise nondescript May afternoon.Moreover, just as making intentional walks automatic won’t have any tangible effect on the sport’s purported timing problem, lengthy, extra-inning games occur so rarely that their elimination won’t matter on a meaningful scale.
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