TODAY: The automated runner rule in further innings may be modified slightly than eliminated, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes. The rule might be altered in order that the auto runner wouldn’t develop into a part of the sport till the eleventh or twelfth inning, with the primary further body or two performed till common guidelines.
JULY 13: “I don’t assume seven-inning doubleheaders are going to be a part of our future going ahead,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred informed reporters (together with ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand) immediately. Moreover, Manfred additionally urged that the league might eliminate the modified extra-innings rule that noticed a runner routinely positioned on second base in the beginning of every further body.
JULY 11: As a part of the MLB – MLBPA agreements on well being and security protocols, doubleheaders have consisted of a pair of seven-inning video games over the previous two years. “Barring heavy resistance” from the Gamers Affiliation, the league is planning to return to the normal nine-inning affairs for twin payments beginning in 2022, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
It’s not clear how exhausting the MLBPA would wish to push again towards the return of nine-inning doubleheaders for the league to conform to preserve the seven-inning format in place, neither is it even obvious there’s a lot curiosity on the gamers’ facet in doing so. The seven-inning doubleheader format has been in place the final two seasons as a COVID-19 mitigation measure. With viral unfold amongst groups contributing to the cancellation of video games in bulk (particularly final season, earlier than the supply of vaccines), a number of groups needed to play a collection of doubleheaders in comparatively fast succession. Worry of overworking gamers — notably on the pitching employees — led the events to knock two frames off video games throughout doubleheaders. The hope and expectation is actually that COVID-19 mitigation efforts gained’t should be as prevalent subsequent 12 months.
Concern about overexerting pitching staffs can be a motive for one more COVID-inspired guidelines change of 2020-21: the automated runner in further innings. There’s been no indication of MLB’s plans on the subject of that alteration past this season. (Notably, that rule was put into place all through the minor leagues in 2018, properly earlier than the pandemic).
There’s little doubt the rule has certainly served its function of stopping marathon video games. There hasn’t been a single MLB sport to exceed 13 innings in both of the previous two seasons; there have been 23 such video games in 2019 alone. Nonetheless, the rule has predictably confirmed divisive amongst followers, a lot of whom understand the location of a free runner on second base to begin extras as gimmicky.
After all, any guidelines discussions will happen amidst broader negotiations between MLB and the MLPA on the state of the sport. The collective bargaining settlement is scheduled to run out December 1, setting the stage for a brand new spherical of CBA talks within the coming months.