Major League Baseball and the Players Association were unable to reach an agreement for an economic plan, but all indications point to there being some form of a 2020 season this summer.
Details still need to be decided on, specifically with respect to health and safety protocols. Assuming the two sides agree to terms, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to impose a 60-game schedule.
No matter how many games are ultimately played, the top priority will be making sure players remain safe and healthy. Given the long layoff, pitchers in particular may be at more of a risk of getting injured.
During an appearance on “Off Air with Joe and Orel,” Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Justin Turner explained his idea of replacing extra innings with a home run derby was designed to protect pitchers from being overworked:
“You know what’s crazy about that Home Run Derby thing? I think only like 2% of games in MLB go to extra innings. It got so much traction, everyone was running with it and either hating it or loving it. There’s only a handful of games (that go into extra innings). The point of the Home Run Derby was really to protect our pitchers, not to have a measuring contest for our hitters to see how far they can hit homers. People need to keep in mind it’s a suggestion for this year.
“Ties are definitely a possibility. It happens in other sports, but I don’t think anyone shows up to the field for as long as we do and wants to go home with a tie. So that’s why I had said you play one extra inning — regular, not with a guy on second — and if it doesn’t end there, you have a Home Run Derby.
“And what it does, it brings a Home Run Derby essentially to every ballpark. It’s been 40 years since the Dodgers have had a Home Run Derby or an All-Star Game. Now you’re going to get to see a Home Run Derby at Dodger Stadium, and you’re going to get to see guys like Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Giancarlo Stanton. Guys that you want to see in the Derby that might not be willing to do it every year in the All-Star Game, they’re going to be doing it because they want to help their team win a ballgame.”
The Dodgers went 6-4 in extra innings last season; seven of those went beyond the 10th inning.
A few of Turner’s teammates, such as Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson, have stated they would be in favor of a swing-off deciding games past the 10th inning. Dodgers third base coach Dino Ebel is also behind Turner’s idea, believing it would keep more fans engaged with the added excitement.
That has not applied to MLB, however, as the league and union reportedly agreed to place a runner on second base for potential extra-inning games this year and they also will discuss ties being a possibility.
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