A recent game between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees ended up dragging on for 18 innings which took just over 5 hours to complete. This sparked a debate on whether or not Major League Baseball should change the way extra innings are formatted and played out. Ideas such as putting a runner on second base or second and first base to start the inning, or even ending the game with a home run derby were put out there! How crazy would that be?!? These ideas stem from the recent changes made in professional baseball to speed up the game. The pace of the game has long been discussed and many changes have been made by Major League Baseball such as the pitch clock, limited time in between innings, and changing the intentional walk rule by taking away the need to throw all four pitches.
To me, baseball has always been the most beautiful game ever created. It is so perfectly designed, from the 90 feet bases creating the bang-bang play at first base or the difficulty of trying to hit a 90 mph fastball from 60 feet 6 inches away. Extra innings is a part of the beauty of baseball and any attempt to change the way it is played is an attempt to take away that beauty. Noah Syndergaard, one of today’s most electrifying players and personalities in baseball, quoted a story on Twitter about changing how the extra innings are played, with the caption “NOPE”. He may not represent every major league baseball player when he said that, but I am sure the majority agree with him. They love baseball the way it is, leave it alone. Without the players approval, the Major League Baseball will unlikely be able to implement this new concept for extra innings. So we don’t have much to worry about at the moment, but they can try and force the issue in the future.
I am all for speeding up the pace of the game because sometimes, as a fan, it is hard to watch a 3-4 hour long game. There are writers and reporters out there that have come out and said teens and casual fans of the game would like to see the game speed up. If Major League Baseball is attempting to draw in fans that aren’t true baseball fanatics then we will get away from the great game that is America’s Pastime. To bring in new fans, Major League Baseball would have to make changes to certain parts of the game that made die-hard baseball lovers, like me, fall in love with this beautiful game. Whether it is changing the intentional walk rule or this new extra inning discussion. Leave the game alone and let its beauty happen. Having the game end at any point in extras is part of the magic in baseball, the difficulty that extra innings bring for a manager in the grueling 162 game schedule, these are the little things that made me love this game, and every day a new kid finds the love just as I did. Don’t take away the magic that extra innings bring to baseball.