Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers has proposed holding a home run derby to settle extra inning games. This idea probably wouldn’t work.
As much as I enjoy watching baseball, I must admit that super-long, extra-inning games can be frustrating sometimes. Waiting for one of the teams to score as the game goes into five or even six hours also can be tough on pitching staffs and effects can carry over for several days.
Many fans think we should leave it alone. They say it’s part of the game. Teams keep playing until somebody earns a win. However, several solutions to this issue have also been thrown about in recent years, including putting a runner on base to start each extra inning. Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers recently came up with an interesting idea.
His proposal, which he posted on Twitter on Thursday, would allow games to go for 10 innings, and then become the three “best” players on each team participating in a home run derby to determine the winner. Each hitter gets five outs. Turner also said it would only be for the shortened 2020 season.
It’s an intriguing idea. However, there are a few issues that would come up.
It could mess up players’ swings. We’ve heard lots of speculation on how the Home Run Derby that takes place at the All-Star Game messes with players’ swings. Many have denied it, but there’s enough evidence to give it some merit. Imagine players having to do this several times a year, switching back and forth between home run and normal hitting mode. There’s a good chance we’d see lots of slumps from star players.
It would penalize teams that don’t hit for power. Over the years, there have been good teams that don’t hit many home runs, and some bad teams that do. Winning a baseball game requires working as a team and bringing several aspects of the game together. Rewarding one aspect of the game, in order to break ties, would give an unfair advantage to some teams over others.
It would fundamentally change the game. Even though baseball is becoming more of an all-or-nothing game, with home runs playing a bigger role, it’s still a relatively complex game with lots of strategy. We would lose that if we had players swing for the fences at the end of a game.
It would also change how managers use their bullpens, as a team’s depth would be tested less, since the lesser relievers would likely get fewer appearances. Managers also wouldn’t be under as much pressure to use their benches wisely, as they could empty it out in the later innings.
Though this could be a fun way to break ties, I’d be against it. There are too many issues that come up to make it worth it.