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Wednesday

9

August 2017

49

COMMENTS

The Trouble About Extra Innings (And How To Make It Better!)

Written by , Posted in General

I’m a sucker for extra innings baseball.  The only thing better, in my mind, is multiple overtime playoff hockey, and in both cases I don’t care who the teams are–if it’s the 15th inning or 3rd overtime, my eyeballs are there if they can be.  Too often it seems, though, that when a baseball game does get to extra innings, it’s over too soon, with a pattern something like this:  home team closer pitches the top of the 10th, before the home team walks off in the bottom of the 10th on a walkoff or bloop single.

The way extra innings operate, you see this pattern because the design of the game is tilted pretty heavily in the home team’s favor in a tie game from the 9th inning on; thus, you see a duel of top-tier pitchers (closers, unused setup guys) to start things off, before the rest of the bullpen (possibly) gets stretched to 2 or more innings to delay a position player entering the game on the mound (decidedly less fun to see than in a blowout).  All the while, the home team plays defense knowing that even if the visitors score, they’ve got 3 outs to make it up, a luxury the visitors don’t have in a tie game, where a run scored is game over.

So, how could extra innings be better?  Well, here are two things to change:

#1: A game needing more than 9 innings, gets to a minimum of 12

This would serve to potentially change the usage of pitchers in an extended game.  The closer wouldn’t be quickly deployed, as there is still the possibility of a close finish toward the end–akin to the 7th-9th innings in a regulation game.  Naturally, if the game gets tied up late (say, in the 9th), maybe nothing changes except you’ll see a 2-3 inning performance right away out of a guy, with more to come later as needed.  The road team gets a little bit of wiggle room in determining how they want to align their pitching, based on who comes out first for the home team (and how they come out–double switch, straight up replacement).  In any case, I would expect that this would lead to a bit more scoring in these innings, or at least a little more baseball as normal before walk-off time comes.

#2: After 12 innings–the game is sudden death

A mandatory 3-inning extension to the game only does so much, as after that, we end up with the same general issues–except in the 13th inning instead of 10th.  At this point in the game, with players tiring, bullpens likely nearing empty, and benches tapped out, it’s time for put up or shut up, next score wins.  Everyone has to play under the same circumstances now.  Good bye, marginal home team advantage.  If you want to win the game, you’re going to have to keep the visiting from scoring no matter what–just like they’ll have had to do with you since the creation of the game.   The increase in drama is certainly worth the elimination of the 17+ inning marathon, but as with anything, all good things must come to an end.  Some poor pitcher will eventually have to deal with the shame of letting someone else walk off in his home park.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I think this is wrong. It is called the Home Field Advantage for a reason, and there is nothing wrong with it. In fact that is why the schedulers try to even out the home and away games for all teams in the same league. Defend your home turf, because you know your opponent will do that to you when you are on theirs. As for the visitors they know they have a disadvantage, that is why they try to win the game before extras at all costs.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Agreed. It’s not fair to not give the home team a chance. It’s not like football.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Football overtime came down to a coin flip, Baseball has always given each team the same number of outs, and has always before interleague play scheduled the same number of home and away for each series of games played between teams, so everyone had equal chances. The idea of giving the visiting team the advantage after 12 innings just does not fly.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Yes that’s exactly why I agree. At least in football, even if you lose the coin flip, you have a chance to win, because you can onside kick the ball, hold the defense, get a turnover, etc. Although I prefer college where both teams get an equal number of possessions.

  • cap’n realist

    Can’t agree here Mr. Stevens, but I like the fact that the controversy will get us past 20 comments today. If anything, go to the California tiebreaker in the 12th for both teams, and only that to keep guys like Jhay from pitching in the 22nd.

    • Bryzzo1744

      What’s the California tiebreaker?

      • cap’n realist

        Every inning starts with a runner at 2nd base. That runner is the last out of the last inning.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Oh so similar to what the WBC did.

      • cap’n realist

        I believe so. Didn’t really watch the WBC.

      • Bryzzo1744

        Either the 11th or 12th inning would start with runners on 1st and 2nd

      • I think it’s called the Cleveland steambreaker.

  • Doug S.

    I think a lot of fringe viewers will check out after 9 innings if it’s going to be 3 more minimum.

    • Even some not-fringe.

  • Eddie Von White

    We’ve already messed up the game with the DH, 4 finger walks, pitch counts, toying with the idea of a time clock between pitches, and now this? Baseball is too pure as it is.

    • Sherm

      I can save about 73 seconds a game, on average. Take away the “home run trot.” As soon as the ball clears the fence, the batter and baserunners go directly to the dugout without running the bases.

      While I’m ruining the game and saving time, how about having circles drawn in the outfield that outfielders can run to with the ball and once they are in the circle? Baserunners cannot advance. Eliminate all that dangerous sliding, and save a ton of time with those annoying replays.

      One way to eliminate extra innings altogether would be to quit keeping score like they do in some little leagues. That way every team is a winner, and every team wins the “World Series” every year.
      The owners would save a lot of money, because batting average and ERA wouldn’t matter at all, and ticket prices would go down, because there would be plenty of seating at every game.

      Everybody wins. Well, except for anyone who loves baseball.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I’ve long said eliminating the HR trot would be better than the 4-finger salute

      • Sherm

        Probably not a great idea to agree with something I’ve written that was dripping in sarcasm and meant to be facetious and ridiculous. Oh, wait, it’s you…

      • Bryzzo1744

        Sarcasm or not if I had to choose between the intentional walk and the HR trot to save time, I would eliminate the HR trot.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Sort of like deciding on which leg to cut off, Lots of fun.

      • Seymour Butts

        Love the usage of the word “dripping”. Invokes a solid visual in the reader.

  • Doc Raker

    Ok Steven Michaels let me get this straight. In your words there is nothing better than extra innings or OT playoff hockey yet you want to fix it. You want to fix something you think is already exciting and in your words, nothing else is better but you need to fix it. Are you a Len Kasper fan? It makes no sense to try and fix something that already is so good. To top it off you want to extend extra innings to at least 12 innings while all of baseball is trying to shorten games, and then after the extended 12 innings you want to eliminate home field advantage and give the advantage to the visiting team with sudden death. Really? Did you wake up today and say, “Watch, I am going to get 100+ comments today by writing something so absurd everyone will argue forever.” How about after the 12th inning the home team bats first and the home team doesn’t take any men of the bases after the 3rd out of the 12th inning so basically they get a 6 out inning with the bottom of the 12th and the top of the 13th. How absurd is that? And if one of the teams scores 6 runs in the 10th inning the game still has to be played through the 12th. I am sure the players union will sign on for that. This is absurd.

    What is also absurd is the Cubs are facing MadBum today in the rubber game of the series and have a good chance of losing a series to a team that hasn’t won a series since Sept of 2016.

    This is all absurd, where are all the Joe’s, do all the Joe’s know about all this absudity?

    I have to go and do something productive, enough of this absurdness.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Country/Cowboy Joe told me he’s against this because it will hinder his ability to raid the local buffet.

      • Jerry in Wisconsin

        Is that why he got himself suspended?

      • Michael S.

        Won’t be a problem when he retires. Which he should do, like, 10 years ago.

    • Michael S.

      Just because something is great as it is, doesn’t mean its reached the best possible state. I happen to rather like my italian beef recipe, but I tinker with it from time to time…maybe it’ll be better, maybe it won’t.

      In this case, I see a flaw: the teams get settled in for some extra baseball, and it’s over in no time flat. Perhaps the viewer at home just grabbed themselves another beverage (of whatever variety) expecting to be there for another 30, 40 minutes over a few innings maybe, and instead it just ends. I expect this is a big part of why the NFL went to their current overtime format, because the game ending on a field goal 35 seconds in to overtime is pretty damn useless.

      And honestly, I think everyone is simply paying lip service to the concept of shortening games or improving the pace or whatever the hell they think it is they’re doing by letting the manager wave his hand at the ump to tell a guy to head to first. If that were really the aim, the league and the teams would bite the bullet, eat some ad revenue, and shorten the Joe Bob Tire and Apple Pie Store Call to the Bullpen, presented in part by Tesla Motors and your mother, and stop having sausages, dead presidents, or random fans running on the warning track between innings. Those things have *real* time costs to a game.

      Giving the visiting the chance to walk off after the 12th? Well, the home team had their chances to do it in the 9th and 12th, and did f$#@-all with it, so now let’s level the playing field. I don’t see that as giving the visiting team the advantage–now everyone is playing by the same rules: get 3 outs before the team at-bat scores a run. Baseball is the only sport where the home field advantage is distinctly tangible in the game–in hockey, the home team gets the last chance to change guys (which gives an ideal matchup for a shift–a minute or two?), and football really doesn’t seem to have one–being the home team means you watch the other team get a 50/50 chance to decide what they want to do with the ball at the start of the game and overtime…the only advantage you really have is the people in the stands.

      If 6 runs get scored in the 10th, yes–continue the game til 12! If someone scores 12 runs by the 3rd inning, do they cut a regular game down? Do we really want a mercy rule? *That* would be absurd. And honestly, if the league REALLY decided they wanted to do all of this (I’m sure they don’t), they propose it this offseason and the union says, “Nah”…that just makes sure it doesn’t happen until 2019. Because for all their bluster in negotiations, they still voted to make sure the league has the power when it comes to the rules of the game.

      • Doc Raker

        Steven- if you really think this is a good proposal than please come to our next gathering so we can mock you all weekend long, we will have a ball. We can’t just mock CAPS all weekend. I can just hear the Cap’n yelling after a few beers. “Raker, I wanna see the visitors walk off the home team. If the game is tied in the 8th inning and it is over 90 degrees then it becomes sudden death so the Cubs can walk off the Padres today. New Rule!I think it is great!.Let’s walk off the home team!”

        Join us on our next outing, it will be a blast.

      • Doug S.

        Shouldn’t be much yelling after a few beers in the 13th when sales are halted after 7.

    • Seymour Butts

      Damn, I hate agreeing with you.

  • Some things I’ve learned:
    1. We’re weary here at VFTB. Dog days of August + disappointing team = weary VFTB.
    2. Caps has no use for women but he can’t stop talking about Joe West. ❤️
    3. Even if the Cubs make the playoffs, the chance they advance is almost laughable now.

    • Jerry in Wisconsin

      I have noticed that Maddon is starting to be a critic of his team’s defensive play, maybe he is trying to whip them in shape, so that once the playoffs start they will actually try to defend the title.

    • Seymour Butts

      I disagree with you about playoff chances. Though the Cubs have been a letdown, every batter in the line-up is somebody who is a well above average player. They have more talent than last years team, and therefore there is no reason they can’t at some point play up to their abilities. Lesser teams win the WS routinely over better teams. If we get in, I’m still going to be optimistic.
      Now the rest of your points…spot on.

      • Yeah, I get that, anything could happen and of course I hope it does. But their whole overall strategy (or at least what we can perceive by what we see, as we truly don’t “know” as much as we “guess”) doesn’t instill confidence. And neither does the pitching.

      • Doug S.

        Our necks have been above water lately because the brewers have been equally bad. Guess who’s gaining ground in the rear view mirror?

    • Bryzzo1744

      As one of my friends who is single said to me, I’m in a relationship with freedom.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I thought it was our guys who knew how to go deep into counts, looks like they are trying to get MadBum a complete game.

  • Doug S.

    Watching Madbum pitch to Baez in the 7th. 0-2 count, Madbum had to be pleased, anything will work here, and it did.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Don’t worry, in 2019 he won’t be in these situations as much. He’ll be a finished product at that time.

  • Dork

    Following this years version of the cubs is maddening. I don’t really mean that as a pun.

  • Dork

    The cubs have always been bad on the west coast. I always thought that was just because they were a bad team in the past.

  • I spent all day in an AWS training course with some consultants they flew in.. glad I missed this thing. The article, not the game.. saw Pence awkwardly smoke one out to put the nail in the coffin. Might as well just post a series of gifs to generate click-bait and call this ‘How to Make Baseball Better.. #1 Will Shock You!!” and call it a day.. setup was so obvious you barely got the peanut gallery to nibble.

    • Bryzzo1744

      Did you ask the consultants about their college GPAs?

      • Assumed to be 2.5s.. wrote off Montana trip and came in half-assedly prepared for technical questions. Long day all around.

      • Bryzzo1744

        I thought it was a requirement to ask everyone.

    • Doc Raker

      Is that what this ridiculousness is called, ‘click bait’? I figured Steven was either a sincere idiot or just phishing for comments with a knowingly absurd post.

  • Doc Raker

    The MLB just figured out a way to sell more jerseys to sucker fans, crazy nick name jerseys- Cooms will love them.

    • Seymour Butts

      I did note that Bryant actually has the nick name of “KB”. Fairly disappointed with John Lester’s nickname.