Everything about the 2020 MLB season is shortened. In addition to a 60-game season, the league launched new rules to try and get games completed in even less time.
This year, every inning beyond the ninth starts with a runner on second base, an attempt to increase extra inning scoring and prevent games from going into the 10th, 11th or 12th inning. Additionally, after the start of the season, MLB and players came to an agreement to allow doubleheaders featuring two seven-inning games.
According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, baseball fans aren’t enjoying the rule changes. Fewer than 50 percent of fans said they like the extra-inning rule and only about one-quarter of fans hope the rule stays beyond this season.
Personally, I mind it rather less than I thought I might. The positives include, a much smaller chance of seven-hour monstrosities like this - which, it appears, I inevitably end up recapping! Also: Tim Locastro. So there’s that. And it adds a bit more strategy to the game, and with the DH now in place, that’s something we can use. I was kinda hoping we might see it last night, but Kole Calhoun had other ideas in the bottom of the ninth. I’ll settle for a walk-off win instead.
Results were similar when fans were asked about the doubleheader change. Only 42 percent of fans are in favor of two seven-inning games.
The main reason for baseball’s doubleheader push is an attempt to complete as many of each team’s 60 game schedule as possible. Hopefully, this is something the D-backs won’t have to endure, if they continue to follow protocols and stay as healthy and COVID-19 free as they have. However, it’s not entirely in their hands, of course: if their scheduled opponents were to come down, this could also lead to postponements and rescheduling. I think the potential is perhaps partly why there was an agreement to keep rosters at the 28-man level, rather than reducing them to 26 in a couple of weeks, as originally planned.
With multiple teams already dealing with an extended layoff between games due to positive COVID-19 tests, it’s becoming more likely that, even with doubleheaders, teams will fall short of the 60-game mark. That’s another issue fans have with the season. When asked how many games are needed from a team to enter the playoffs, a plurality of fans said each team needs to complete all 60 games.
There’s something to be said for this. In some ways, a team will “benefit” from having games postponed, if they don’t have to make them up, as this will provide their players with additional rest. Part of the nature of the baseball season is that it IS a grind, and the ability to handle it is certainly one factor in success. But as mentioned, a team can end up with a shorter schedule through no fault of their own. Should they be punished for that? Just another one of the tricky questions posed by the 2020 baseball season...
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