The Bernstein Brief: MLB’s Surprising Experiment

By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist

(CBS) Here we are just removed from a re-ignited debate over the NFL’s overtime rule, only to find that it’s baseball instead that’s the latest to float an idea to beta test a way to cater to our rapidly shortening collective attention span.

MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre outlined a new rule for extra innings that will be implemented in the low minors and used in the World Baseball Classic, placing a runner on second base with no outs at the start of each half-inning to increase the likelihood of scoring.  His rationale?

“It’s not fun to watch when you go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch,” he told Yahoo Sports.  “As much as it’s nice to talk about being at an 18-inning game, it takes time.  It’s baseball, I’m just trying to get back to that.”

The jokes are easy, with sandlot ghost-runners and beer kegs and and any slow-pitch softball rules now in play, but Torre is putting himself out there on behalf of people all throughout the game who support some kind of plan to make marathon games less likely.

Such long days and nights are stressful and disruptive to both teams and fans, and there’s new consideration of injury risk and travel issues. Before dismissing this as mere folly, it’s worth discussing and observing.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s “Bernstein and Goff Show” in afternoon drive. You can follow him on Twitter  @dan_bernstein and read more of his columns here.

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