MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred revealed his hopes to keep several of the 2020 rule changes.
Of the many topics discussed, the most notable was Manfred’s hopes for several of the 2020 rule changes to become permanent. This included the expanded postseason format and the extra-innings tiebreaker rule.
After the beginning of the 2020 MLB season was delayed several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Manfred, the league, and the players’ association agreed to several rule changes. These rule changes were created to adapt to a truly unique season and cut down on extra-innings game during the 60-game sprint.
“People were wildly unenthusiastic about the changes. And then when they saw them in action, they were much more positive,” the Commissioner said.
Manfred has been in favor of the expanded postseason, even before the pandemic-shortened season. As for lengthy extra-innings games, this has been a point of contention for baseball fans and constituents alike.
The extra-innings rule change drastically cut down the number of marathon games this past season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there were 68 extra-innings games during the regular season, with the longest two lasting only 13-innings.
Commissioner Manfred cited the health and safety of players to promote his optimism for the extra-innings rule.
“I think it’s really good from a safety and health perspective that keeps us from putting players in situations where they’re out there too long or in positions they’re not used to playing,” said Manfred.
Union head Tony Clark revealed it was too early to discuss 2021 rule changes. Both sides will surely discuss options once the World Series between the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers concludes.
It should be noted, Manfred did not discuss whether he favored the expansion of the designated hitter to the National League, citing this as a bargaining issue with the players’ association. The Commissioner was also satisfied with the rule requiring pitchers to face at least three batters but didn’t think it was a long-term option.