The Man-on-Second Extra Inning Rule Has to End Next Year, Right?

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Born and raised in Miami, Florida. I used to play baseball for a living; I walked a lot and didn't hit enough. Now I write words for a living and drop absolute bombs every Sunday for my men's league team.

The Sopranos is more groundbreaking than it is good.

Baseball fans are a divisive bunch. Hell, sports fans are a divisive bunch in general, but baseball in particular has a lot of people who take hard-line stances on things, no matter what. It’s pretty aggravating, but it makes for some fun debates because you will usually find a willing opponent on pretty much anything you want to talk about. That is, until you get to the man-on-second extra inning rule, whose treacherous reign has poured into this season.

We Don’t Agree On Much…

This is about as close to unanimous as it gets. People do not like this God-forsaken rule in which a runner is placed on second base from the start of the 10th inning on. It was implemented last season as a way to speed up games, something Commissioner Rob Manfred has always fetishized. It also helped with COVID-19 health protocols to have shorter games, so the time was right to introduce a rule like this.

But man does it suck.

It’s just not baseball. Not big-boy baseball at least. I remember this rule from when I was 11 and I hated it then too. Baseball is a beautiful game, yet we are trying to shorten it? Because teams might need help scoring runs after the 9th inning? They don’t!

This isn’t football. Hitters don’t get that fatigued playing a baseball game, at least not compared to other sports. That’s why they are able to play 162 of them in six months. The ones getting fatigued are the pitchers, which is why extra-inning baseball usually doesn’t feature a team’s best bullpen arms, as they probably pitched earlier. This helps the hitters.

So no, lineups don’t need a booster seat to sit at the extra-inning table. The runner-on-second rule isn’t real baseball.

Let’s See What Happens

COVID-19 is still a very real threat to our country and the world, albeit a diminishing one as people get vaccinated and we collect more data on it. It made at least a little bit of sense for Rob Manfred to keep the extra inning rule in play this season. Next year, though? When things will have presumably gone back to normal, or at least something close to it? What’s the excuse gonna be then?

I hope Manfred doesn’t hide behind safety to keep this much-maligned rule in place. I think he would would, though. This rule shortens games, which is his main purpose on this Earth. My mind says be prepared to see runners on second in extras for a long time. But my heart? My heart hopes for real baseball no matter what inning it is, like the good ol’ days.

Do the right thing, Rob. Let’s play regular baseball in 2022.

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Episode 63