Major League Baseball has yet to announce an official plan to carry forward with the 2020 season, but all indications point to that eventually happening. In any case, a potential campaign figures to bring about significant changes this year.
For one, divisions will likely be realigned to reduce the need to travel and ensure teams play within their geographical location. A universal DH may also be implemented to decrease the health risk for pitchers.
Furthermore, it is evident that teams will play significantly fewer games than usual. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred previously ruled out a 162-game schedule, and now the expectation is that clubs will attempt to make up approximately half of those if and when play resumes.
Given all of the restrictions players will face this season, Justin Turner proposed that tied games after 10 innings should be decided in the form of a home run derby.
Cody Bellinger revealed that he is open to the idea of extra-inning games ending with a swing-off to decide the winner, via SportsNet LA:
“That’s interesting. If you’re going to try anything, you’ve got to try that this year. That would be crazy. I think the fans would probably enjoy that for the most part. It would be interesting to see it play out and all the rules. But I can be down for that.”
As Bellinger notes, a home run derby at the end of 10 innings would certainly add intrigue to contests — similar to that of a shootout in the NHL.
Turner expanded on his thoughts through Twitter, explaining a coach would throw to the selected batters and they would only get five outs or 10 swings each, under his scenario.
The logic behind this would be to prevent possible injury (particularly pitchers) in the event players face a schedule with an abundance doubleheaders and fewer off days than they are accustomed to.
Like Bellinger, Joc Pederson is in favor of MLB games being decided with a home run derby after 10 innings.
The Los Angeles Dodgers theoretically would be well-positioned for an end-of-game home run derby. They set a National League and franchise record last year with 279 home runs, led by 47 from Bellinger.
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