New Extra Inning Rule Idea Sucks

Elysian Fields ~ Hoboken NJ About 1845

Elysian Fields ~ Hoboken NJ
About 1845
“If they don’t score this time, let’s allow the next inning to start with a runner on 2nd base – just to help the chances of getting this thing finished soon. OK?  I’ve got a hot date at Delmonico’s tonight and need to get out of here soon as possible! – Does that make sense to everybody?” – Alexander Cartwright


Baseball began in the 19th century – and not as a 21st century millennial game-time-saver thought. In fact, it began as a game that flat-out portrayed life – without trying to fit the needs of the living into a two-hour game time frame that guaranteed protection of its fans and teams from the unforeseen and inconvenient interference that an unduly long game might cause to the needs of those same human beings for rest, sleep or social, work and travel plans to be elsewhere after the game, doing something else.

The game of baseball that first crawled out of the grass as it also descended gracefully from the sunny skies over the Elysian Fields across the Hudson River from Manhattan onto the welcoming shores of New Jersey was special to all as an amusement in the sense that it wasn’t set up merely as a miserly way to squeeze the essence of life, which included the beyond-time framework for eternity, into a mostly probable two hours, or less, controlled game-time investment from all participants, players or fierce watchers.

Baseball from the start was still more a life-play than a game, and an occupation of time with a clearer understanding about the scoring of victory and a sharper awareness of the absence of control we all have over time. As an activity based upon life itself, that meant that there would be some surprising, toiling or challenging days – some that would run longer than others. To play this “game” of baseball, one had to understand, at some point, that participants had to be made of enduring stuff. They had to know how to chill. And to hang in there.

For hope to prevail, players needed to give their best to the moment and to never give up on the goal of victory over the course of a long day. “Players” even had to put aside all due concern about how much worse they were going to feel, if they expended all this heart and energy – over time – and still failed to prevail at the end of the day. – And they had to duly reckon with the reality that there would never be a guarantee, win or lose, that they would not have to go through the same thing again tomorrow – if that’s when the next game was scheduled for their club.

It seems a lot. But that’s life. And baseball is the play of life. The more we move deeper into this third baseball century culture from our root understandings about the eternal struggle for everything that’s really important in life through baseball, the more some people seem to grow in numbers as those who want to change the rules of baseball as a game for the added convenience of tired players and fans who need their sleep too.

The dynamic that’s at play

The more they tamper with the rules of baseball, the less baseball lives as a breath-taking entity of life itself. And, if baseball has no business being independent of the clock, why don’t they also throw out the long regular season of 162 MLB games each year and simply play out the season as a 30-team, best-of-seven games tourney, and simply offer that as the fan’s annual game offering. Something like that works for the NBA, doesn’t it?

The rule that MLB wants to test

Here’s what lit the flame on a possible need for change: On April 10, 2015, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox got hooked up in a 19 inning game that lasted six hours and forty-nine minutes. It didn’t finish until 2 o’clock in the morning – and before only a handful of fans who remained to see the end.

Major League Baseball is testing a rule to start extra innings with a runner on second

OUCH! The baseball gods could not have picked a more powerful audience than the owners, players, and fans of these two storied MLB franchises to inconvenience. As you read the linked article, it’s pretty easy to see how this game became the epicenter for a rule change proposal that could soon “protect” all from the recurrence of such a real life inconvenience.

The rule proposes that extra innings shall begin for each team with a gift runner on second base to increase the probability of a run scoring and the game ending in that same frame. All further questions as to who shall be that runner – how earned or unearned he shall be tallied, if he does score – and what this does to the ongoing flow of baseball records  – are all undecided.

The Legacy of Radical Rules Change

Some of us shall regret the loss of baseball as an archetypal athletic depiction of life itself, but that doesn’t matter. Most of us who feel that way won’t be around too much longer – and most of the people who remain to make the decision on this latest radical “rule change” have lived their entire lives with the implicit understanding, even now, that there already are two similar, but different games of baseball, anyway, so what’s the harm?

In 2017, we have NL No-DH baseball, played with the 19th century traditional rules about each of the nine fielders batting. And we have the AL DH brand of baseball, in which a special designated hitter is allowed to bat for the often anemic hitting pitcher.

“Where’s the harm in this extra inning special runner rule change – if it gets everybody home early?” We are betting that a decision based upon that kind of thinking is now more probable than possible.

When it happens, baseball will no longer be the game of relentless heart, hope, and life, but maybe that’s already happened, and some of us elders simply missed it in our sleep.

At any rate, if it still maters to you, please consider letting Joe Torre know your thoughts in this matter. He seems to be the MLB force behind the possibility of this rules change.


A Couple of Baseball and Life Ironies

The Blue Pill

If baseball were really life, there would have been no DH in the game today. Some scientists would have solved the problem of soft hitting by pitchers with a miraculous little blue pill – one that firmed up the hard-banging purposeful tool swings and batting averages of all pitchers. In turn, pitchers could have made some good side money selling their extra blue pills to some of the catchers and shortstops who sometimes also needed the same help, but who did not want go public about their use of the same biochemical solution.

How To Get Past 1st Base with the Girls

A lot of great single MLB players lack the good looks or social skills it takes to get to 1st base with the really hot and attractive girls. Maybe God – or the baseball gods – could introduce a new social rule in which the 30 years plus age and still awkward MLB players could be allowed to start with each girl they pursued from 2nd base now that their lonely private lives are headed for extra innings. – That could give each qualifying player a better chance to score – if he, at least, can start his run at the lovelies in the knowledge that he no longer has to worry about getting to 1st base. – He’s half way home from the start.


 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


5 Responses to “New Extra Inning Rule Idea Sucks”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Many things that could be done to change the length and pace of games are being ignored: penalize the hitters who step out of the box after every pitch to adjust their batting gloves–even if they hadn’t swung at the previous pitch; call the letter-high fastball for a strike; limit the time of commercials between innings; and streamline the instant reply process, so we don’t have to wait several minutes for the call from New York.

    The commissioner apparently is more concerned with changing the four-pitch intentional walk to an automatic awarding of first base to the batter. But we have all seen a pitcher make an errant throw during the intentional walk process, allowing a base runner to advance.

    There has even been talk of putting netting all around the field to protect the very people who are not paying attention to anything but their smart phones. There’s something to be said for natural selection.

    And Rob Manfred’s corporate-speak is just as annoying: “Well, our goal is to make sure that our product is as tight and compelling as possible.” Sheesh!

  2. Sumner Hunnewell Says:

    Tom Hunter for Commissioner.

    We could just let the batter toss a single ball up in the air and try to hit a home run. Anything else is an out. Nine guys up, nine guys down. Other team ‘bats.’ No having to step out after each pitch since there are no pitches.

    Or turn the diamond around, where second base is now home…the screens are already there to protect cell phone folks.

    Or introduce the ‘tie’ as a valid stat.

    Or become a fan of professional field hockey.


  3. Doug S. Says:

    Well said Bill – I dread the DH (especially the thought of the NL adopting it) and this rule too will be a scar on the game I so love.

  4. Fred Soland Says:

    Cutting out the DH would speed the game up. Kill two birds with one stone.

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