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MLB is implementing the dumb extra inning rule in the minors

Thursday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes a bad new rule in the minors, the Brewers inexplicably not yet signing Alex Cobb, and some fun Mariners commercials

World Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Houston Astros - Game Four Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

There have been a few different themes of this strange MLB offseason. The one we’ll most likely remember in the years that come is how slow-moving it all was and how wrong we all were about what the free agent market would look like, for whatever reason.

This was also the winter of pace of play, though. Although this has been Rob Manfred’s pet project since becoming commissioner, things really started to take off this winter. There were whispers he and the league would unilaterally implement a pitch clock into the game without support from the Players Union, but that hasn’t come to fruition. Instead, the league mandated the number of mound visits every game in a rule that players pretty much universally hate. Hooray!

Now, the league has taken things a step forward, at least at the lower levels. On Wednesday we found out minor-league games will see extra innings start with a runner on second base. We’ll start off by being a little positive about this rule. For one thing, we’ve seen it in action in the World Baseball Classic, and the world didn’t end. So that’s neat. More importantly, wins and losses really don’t matter at the end of the day in minor-league games. While building a winning culture for young players is important to teams, these levels are about developing pitchers. Thus, avoiding long games with big pitch counts and unexpected appearances is not really a bad thing.

That being said, this is all really stupid. There’s really no good defense for this rule. Again, it’s not the end of the world if this just happens in minor-league games. It’s still not ideal, of course, but whatever.

Every sign is pointing towards this eventually coming to the majors, though. Manfred has said that won’t happen, but I find that hard to believe at this point given how quickly this rule is expanding to different levels of the game. Really, all this is going to do is ensure every extra inning starts with a sacrifice bunt. If MLB is really so concerned about these long games, just start instituting ties instead of going through with one of those half-measures Mike Ehrmantraut warned against.