Better Idea: Extra Innings Or Home Run Derby To Beak Ties? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
It has finally happened: A professional baseball league has announced that it will break ties with a home run derby rather than playing extra innings. This, according to the Pioneer League, who made their intentions known earlier this week. The new tie-breaking procedure does have some novelty to it, however, it may not be the best way to decide baseball games that have playoff berths and millions of dollars in revenue connected to them as Major League games do. With that said, is ending a baseball game with a home run derby any better or worse than how Major League Baseball does it by placing a runner on second base to start every half inning after the ninth?
The Pioneer League, an independent baseball league, has announced that it will not play extra innings this season, instead deciding tie games with a head-to-head sudden death home run derby, with a player from each team getting five pitches.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 27, 2021
As reported by the Sporting News Tuesday, the Pioneer League has created a “Knock Out” rule that will replace extra inning baseball games. The independent league located in the Rocky Mountain region has become an MLB Partner League and is trying this “sudden death” approach to ending tied games at the request of Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball.
Now in the Pioneer League: No extra innings, but HR derby. "Each team designates a hitter who receives 5 pitches, with the game determined by the most home runs hit. If still tied after the first “Knock Out” round, another hitter is selected for a sudden-death home run face-off.'
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 27, 2021
In this “Knock Out” format, each team will be allowed to name a hitter to participate in the tie-breaking home run derby, with each facing five pitches. The batter who hits the most pitches over the wall wins the game for his team. If each hitter hits the same number of dingers, a new hitter takes over for each team, with the same process being repeated until there is a winner of the derby and the game.
Now, before you blow this idea off completely, remember that the biggest sports event in the world, soccer’s World Cup, can be decided on penalty kicks, their version of a home run derby. While a derby and penalty kicks are more exciting than watching a field goal kicking contest end a football game or a free throw shooting contest ending a basketball game, we do need to understand how off the wall (no pun intended) this idea would be if it was tried in Major League Baseball.
While I am not a fan of the “running at second” method of playing extra innings, at least there is a realistic element to baseball being played by doing so, making this method more akin to how college football plays their overtime by giving teams the ball on an opponent’s 25-yard line.
The Pioneer League, an independent baseball league will decide extra inning games via a homerun derby. No way this experiment ever makes it into the Majors.pic.twitter.com/Mm7OHLOqK5
— Shane Latshaw (@shanelatshaw) April 28, 2021
With all that said, however, I would be thoroughly shocked if Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association ever agreed to this “Knock Out” rule being used. I can’t see general managers and players ever accepting a three-hour game being decided on two thrown balls with the chance of one or two tie-breakers being the difference between a division title or a wild-card berth or even a playoff berth. There is way too much riding on these games to have something a quirky as this determining winners and losers in Major League Baseball games.
This rule, likely an effort to both shorten games and save pitchers, is coming from the right place and I understand its origins; but its implementation doesn’t belong at the highest level of the sport. It might be fun for the Pioneer League to use for their 2021 season while Major League Baseball takes another one of their seasons to figure out that their current extra inning rule is not needed. That’s because both ideas are bad with one needing to be removed from the game and the other kept as far away from the Majors as possible.
I understand the thought process, but when it comes to deciding who is playing games that are worth millions of dollars and dozens of jobs, just play the game and see who wins and loses. Because anything less is not only cheating the players and fans, but also an insult to history, something baseball’s legacy is built on.
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Better Idea: Extra Innings Or Home Run Derby To Beak Ties? | TooAthletic.com
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