As we head into the dog days and doldrums of the baseball season prior to beginning the never-ending play-off post season which now runs damn near to Thanksgiving Thought Must Be Given to how the Game of Snails might pick up it’s pace.
One idea was recently floated by baseball affectionado Paul Mirengoff over at Powerline blog.
This year, you see, the minor leagues are using a novel approach to deciding extra inning games. Teams start off extra frames with a runner (the last batter from the previous inning) on second base.
The idea is to increase the odds of scoring, and therefore the odds that the game will be decided sooner rather than later. I haven’t seen the data on the extent to which this experiment is cutting down on extra innings, but I assume it is having something like the desired effect.
The link is here if you wanna read more about it.
I have different solution, one that borrows from God & Lord Stanley’s Favorite Sport: professional hockey.
When regulation ends in a tie the NHL plays a short overtime. If the game is still undecided it’s on to a shootout (which is done, ironically, inning-style).
My proposal is this:
Play one, and only one Extra Inning. If there is no decision move to a “shootout” type scenario whereby a three batter Home Run Derby decides the game.
This would be similar in format to the exhibition before the All Star Game.
(For example, each team’s batting practice pitcher takes the mound for his club to serve up taters.)
If after three players each get a free shot at the fences the score remains tie let it stand.
There would be W-L-T columns in the standings. The tie would not count toward a team’s winning percentage (still figured by 162 games) and would also be added as a half-game back to the games behind total.
Of course this will never happen, as it is a Crazy Brilliant Idea.
Much better to put in a reliever in the second inning and shift the infield to three on a side.
It’s not like that is ruining the game…