LOS ANGELES — It was about the 17th inning during the record-breaking World Series Game 3 between the Dodgers and Red Sox that it hit me.
This is gonna be the impetus for commissioner Rob Manfred to put “pace of play” measures on extra-inning games, isn’t it?
To be clear, I don’t know that Manfred was thinking this nor do I have any information on the matter other than the history here. We know Manfred is constantly pushing for quicker play. We know that ending a baseball game at 3:39 a.m. ET … 2:39 a.m. CT … 1:39 a.m. MT and even 12:39 locally for a World Series game is not necessarily a good thing for growing the game to reach new fans. I simply can’t imagine a non-baseball fan waking up Saturday morning and feeling like he or she really missed out on something special when hearing about seven hours and 20 minutes.
And let’s also face it, during extras, it was mostly a slog. The two runs — one each side — that scored in the 13th inning were due to defensive futility, not great baseball.
Which brought me to my thought. We’ve heard whispers in recent years about possibly putting a runner or runners on base in extra innings in the hope of ending the thing well before the seven-hour mark. Maybe it’s a runner on second and one out. Maybe it’s just runners on second and third. Whatever the measure, it wouldn’t be baseball as we know it.
Generally speaking, I’m very open-minded to many pace of play measures. I think the pitch clock, which is coming sooner rather than later, will be great. I love the limitations on mound visits.
I guess you can call tinkering with extra innings my “get off my lawn” moment, because I really, really don’t want to see that happen.
Now that the dust has settled on Game 3, I think I can safely say we’ll eventually look back on the game with fondness and as an all-time classic. We’ll see highlights of Cody Bellinger’s throw in the tenth inning to keep the game tied, and then we’ll see the Muncy homer. We could discuss Walker Buehler’s gem or what an amazing performance Nathan Eovaldi put together out of the bullpen, pitching in his third straight game.
In the moment, though, it dragged. Commissioner Manfred was here. I’m just worried. I’m worried that this game on a national stage is going to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. I’m speculatively worrying that we might now be headed to starting the inning with runners on base in extras.
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