Baseball Commissioner Eliminates Two Controversial Rules
By Bob Branco
July 15, 2021
Two of the most controversial changes that Major League Baseball instituted last year were double headers with two seven-inning games, and having a runner on second base at the start of an extra inning. In all of my years of following baseball, I never encountered such a polarizing reaction to anything related to the sport. Some fans love these changes, and hope they never go away. Other fans hate them with a passion, and wish they went away yesterday.
Well, it looks like the haters may win out. This week, I learned that Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Major League Baseball, plans to eliminate these two changes at the end of the 2021 season. According to the original report, Manfred believes that there is no need to continue with these rules because the pandemic is almost over. With all due respect to Manfred, how are we supposed to understand that these rules were designed because of the pandemic? How do double headers with seven-inning games prevent players from catching the Coronavirus more than playing nine innings in a normal baseball game? With the new double header format, players are on the field for 14 innings, 7 and 7. According to the math I am familiar with, 14 is greater than 9. As for the runner on second base in extra innings, you’ve already played 9 innings, so it’s not as though you played an official game without any risk to catching the virus if it’s present. Furthermore, I don’t think the Coronavirus waits until the tenth inning before it decides to spread.
Many fans, talk show hosts, and baseball officials are confused by Rob Manfred’s actions, claiming that he is contradicting himself based on his determination to shorten baseball games. In other words, if Manfred simply wanted to figure out another way to shorten games rather than using the pandemic as an excuse for these new rules, then what is he really doing? Please understand that I am speaking objectively, because in all honesty, I am in favor of the elimination of these rules no matter what the reasons were for creating them in the first place. To me, the new rules taint baseball. As for making the games shorter, we had no problem with the length of games prior to these rule changes. There are other factors contributing to the lengthening of games which I am not about to go into right now.