In an interview with Evan Drellich of The Athletic, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred claimed fans are coming around on the extra innings rule.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has shown once again that he has no pulse on the game. In an interview with Evan Drellich of The Athletic, Manfred claimed that fans are starting to come around on the newly implemented extra innings rule.
In referencing the rule, Manfred claimed “Now people have seen it in action and there’s lots of people saying, ‘You know what, this is actually OK.'”
Well, sorry to be the one to break the news to you Rob, but that isn’t true. Fans still hate the rule. Saddling a reliever with an unwarranted runner just isn’t proper baseball.
More important than the fan opinion of the rule, however, is the player’s opinion. Pitchers did not hesitate to speak out against the change. Relievers were particularly upset and understandably so.
In the scorebook, allowing that run to score is an unearned run on their record.
But in reality, pitchers can lose their team the game on a bloop single. They leave the field knowing that fans will pin the loss on them. Any other inning, they can work around a single. With a runner starting on second, pitchers have absolutely zero room for error.
And what’s it all for? To shorten the games because you think that will bring more fans?
The fact of the matter is MLB hasn’t attracted new fans because for so long, the game wasn’t that much fun. Game length has nothing to do with it. The beauty of baseball is that you need to earn all 27 outs to get a win, no matter how long it takes. There’s no dribbling out the shot clock or taking a knee.
Now, Major League Baseball is more exciting. Young stars are emerging in big and small markets alike. Fans have unprecedented access to their favorite players. Bat flips don’t result in your teammate getting plunked and celebrations don’t draw criticism in the postgame press conference.
Focus on what actually attracts new fans. Market the players. Let content creators rip video without fearing DMCA violations. Allow the players to express their personalities on the field.
But don’t change the very fabric of the game that millions already love.