MLB To Introduce Its Version Of College Football Overtime On International Stage


It was reported yesterday by the Associated Press that Major League Baseball will implement a “ridiculed international rule” in the 2009 World Baseball Classic where teams that remain tied after 12 innings will begin every inning thereafter with multiple baserunners.

And I ask, fuck the heck are they thinking?

I mean, what is the purpose? How is giving both teams runners at first and second base to begin an inning logical in any sense? Is it supposed to make the games end quicker? Is it just there to augment low-scoring games when they get late? Is it just a rule there to help the bunt-happy Japanese actually apply their craft practically in a crucial game situation?

A lot of people dislike the overtime system in college football where teams begin their drives in scoring position so usually the worst case scenario for the team that gets the ball first is that they’ll have a reasonable field goal attempt on their hands. Many complain that stats accumulated in that overtime system shouldn’t count because of how relatively simple scoring is when you start a drive from just outside the red zone. And while I personally find the overtime system they use in college to at least be better than the one utilized by the NFL, that isn’t to say it’s ideal — particularly when you get into the wacky “no more extra points” periods.

So naturally, Major League Baseball has decided to do its best to ape that controversial system in its soon-to-be-quadannual international competition constructed to determine which country plays the best baseball.

Need I remind you of the mandatory pitch counts? (Well, I’m going to.)

The AP article reveals that progress has been made in that department. That oughta pacify those anti-pitch count bastards.

Pitch limits, another deviation from baseball rules, will be used for the WBC, as they were in the initial tournament in 2006. There will be a limit of 70 pitches per pitcher in the first round, 85 in the second, and 100 in the semifinals and final. That’s up from 65-80-95 three years ago.

Now don’t you spend those five extra pitches all in one place, there, (oh, let’s just think up some random na…) Daisuke.

Any pitcher who throws 30 or more pitches in the semis will not be eligible to pitch in the final.

I’ll say this. All of these Little League rules actually make the strategical portion of the game a lot more important. Like, if I’m Davey Johnson (I think that’s the U.S. manager, anyway), I get around the pitch count by putting an outfielder on the mound to intentionally walk a batter if necessary. (Actually, Davey Johnson may be the perfect man for the job in this respect.) If I’m managing in the top of the 13th inning, I’m almost certainly having my leadoff hitter lay down a bunt to try to move the runners over to second and third with one out. Chances are you’ll end up with the bases loaded in this situation anyway given the double play opportunity it’d set up. This is one of the main reasons why I hate this new glorified overtime period should it come into play.

I guess the good news is that none of the games in the 2006 WBC went to the 13th inning, so this rant may all be for naught.

The better news, of course, (this information notwithstanding) is that baseball is almost back.


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