Since taking over as Commissioner, Rob Manfred has sought to put his own stamp on the sport. This includes proposing changes like incorporating a pitch clock and the implementation of a universal DH. The most radical change has been regarding extra innings.
This past season the commissioner’s office implemented the international play extra inning rule in the minor leagues. Starting with the tenth inning, a player will be placed on second base to begin the inning. The rule is implemented to help limit the amount of innings pitchers have to throw. Perhaps more importantly, it is implemented to help speed up the end of games.
Looking at everything, Manfred really wants to facilitate games ending quicker. Implementing pitch clocks and putting a runner on second to begin extra innings certainly could facilitate it. The initial results from the minors were positive, but it has not sped things along enough to put a quick enough end to games. As such, baseball has implemented an exploratory committee to quicken games further than the already imposed and tested measures.
According to sources, Manfred watched last night’s AFC Championship Game between the Patriots and the Chiefs, and he was intrigued by their overtime rules. In fact, he took note of how once the Patriots scored, the game was over. Upon watching the conclusion of the game, he scheduled a phone conference with the head of the exploratory committee and Tony Clark, the head of the Player’s Association.
In the meeting, Manfred is recommending a rule wherein once a team scores in extra innings, the game is over. The idea is purportedly going to receive push-back not just from baseball purists, but also from players.
On that front, a confidant of Manfred said, “What people are unaware of is Manfred wants to make baseball more like football. Not only will games be sudden death, but he wants to shrink the season; not to the suggested 154 games, but 16. He’s also going to go much further than that. When all is said and done, this will look more and more like the NFL.”
Brace yourself baseball fans.