Major League Baseball is going to be bizarre in 2020. A 60-game schedule. The designated hitter in the National League. No fans.
But the change a lot of baseball fans might have the toughest getting used to is the tweak to extra innings. Each team will begin each extra inning with a man on second base. The crew from the Nationals Talk podcast had differing opinions on the new rule.
“I absolutely love it,” NBC Sports Washington's Nick Ashooh said.
Team reporter Todd Dybas did not agree.
“The rule is dumb. It goes against everything that baseball is about.”
Chase Hughes broke the tie. “I’m a no on the rule too. I’m with Todd.”
What about the strategy of starting with a man on second base? Could team's exploit or alter the ending of the previous frame to set up a new inning?
The rule states: “The runner placed on second base at the start of each half-inning shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter.”
Dybas wondered if it would be wise to end the previous inning on purpose if a speedster is at the plate with two outs.
“Would it behoove [Giants'] Billy Hamilton to make the final out? So the next inning he would start at second base?” Hamilton is a career .242 hitting but has 299 stolen bases in 809 games played.
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Frustration will also be inevitable. “I can’t wait to hear from the players on the first team to lose by that rule,” Hughes said. “What are they going to say?”
2020 has already thrown us plenty of curveballs, the changes to baseball will just be a couple more the sports world will have to adjust to.
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