After experimenting with the international extra-inning tie breaker rule last year in the Complex Leagues, MiLB announced today that the rule will take effect across all of Minor League Baseball this season:
Minor League Baseball announces pace-of-play rules for 2018, including starting with a runner on second in extra innings, limited mound visits, pitch clocks: https://t.co/v1qRZGB12n pic.twitter.com/BigyKMpoW0
— MiLB.com (@MiLB) March 14, 2018
The change came about as part of a wider set of procedures designed to speed up the game. The extra-innings rule will see the last out (or a substitute) from the 9th inning begin the 10th inning on 2nd Base. If that runner scores, it will not be charged as an Earned Run to the Pitcher.
The rule is designed to protect minor league pitching staffs. Minor league teams do not have the luxury of calling up a player from a lower level as easily as MLB teams do, which means in the event of an extra inning game in the past, teams were short pitchers in the days after games that went past 9, or they had to put a position player in to Pitch.
Reaction across baseball has been mixed:
Stupid for so many reasons. If they want to shorten extra-inning games and/or worry about the stress on arms in the Minors, just declare them ties after the 10th or 11th inning. Don’t do gimmicky BS stuff that isn’t baseball. What percentage of games go past 11 innings anyway? https://t.co/YXOTh7dA5m
— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) March 14, 2018
Limiting the length of minor league games make sense. It sucks especially in the AAA level when a guy loses a promotion because he pitched in extras.
— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) March 14, 2018
MILB will face a lot of push back on the new extra-inning rules. As a fan, it does make the game less interesting. Less chance of a wild, insane game you remember for your lifetime. Farm directors/organizations will love this as it keeps pitching staffs from being taxed.
— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) March 14, 2018
While the extra-innings rule really isn’t about pace of play, it does make sense this day and age of carefully monitored pitch and innings limits. If the Blue Jays need a fresh bulllpen arm or two after a marathon game, help is available 90 minutes down the QEW. If Lansing needs the same help, it has to come from Vancouver, Or Bluefield, WV. It is somewhat gimmicky, however, akin to the shootout in Olympic hockey games. The good news for fans is that with 40-man rosters, the rule is not coming to MLB anytime soon. If you needed a reminder that minor league baseball is about development over winning, this was a friendly reminder.
I like this Tweet best of all as a way to wrap this post up:
I’m not at all against change. You want change? Take better care of minor league players by paying them more and making sure they eat properly. You want change? Allow fans to enter the ball park early to see batting practice. You want change? Make ticket prices more affordable.
— Bernie Pleskoff (@BerniePleskoff) March 14, 2018