Very recently the news has come out of a new extra inning rule. This rule places a runner on second base to begin every half inning in extras. It has been in place for international ball for about a decade now. However, the MLB is not adopting it quite yet. The beginning the top of the 10th inning will start with a utilty runner on second. So, since every baserunner, pitch, etc is crucial in a tight extra inning game, this ruins the integerity of baseball.
Joe Torre was quoted in USA Today basically stating that he wants to try it, which is understandable. However, then he was quoted: “It’s baseball. I’m just trying to get back to that, where this is the game that people come to watch.” That statement is clear that the perception of Torre as an old baseball soul and purist of this great game was wrong. And for the new commissioner, Rob Manfred, to approve of this, just is evidence of the game changing wrongfully.
Disallowing the catcher to stand in front home plate without the ball, and the stealing/sliding rules are one thing. But this new potential new rule is a disgrace to the game. Microscopic alterations like the rules mentioned above are small enough not hurt the game, but the new extra inning rule is truly game changing. For example, put a speedy runner like Jarrod Dyson on second as the utility runner; a stolen base and wild pitch can win the game or give the road team the lead in a snap. Now, that changes the whole essence of the game.
Yes it would be a rule, but in many purists eyes, this is cheating. Because this game is such a crucial part of America’s history, such an important part that it was a major help to people during the Great Depression, this is close to betreal of the United States. This new rule would certainly speed up the game, thus potentially gaining more fans, but it’s not more essential then protecting the sacred meaning of baseball.
Sure, football is America’s favorite sport, and baseball is chasing it in the #2 poisiton, but it’s not like baseball is losing it’s popularity. The problem is the greediness of the American people. The reason for speeding up the game is to gain more of a diverse fan base, thus a bigger spike in revenue. So, the question is whether or not being #1 in popularity is more important than preserving America’s Pasttime. This is not a high school popularity test.
Baseball has preached many American standards, but this rule strikes one of the most important teachings in the heart. That teaching is that in America every person needs to earn their way every step of the way. Even the best hitters in the game only collect a double 5% of their plate appearances. So, why should a team get the gift of a runner on second without earning it?