MLB, Union To Shift Doubleheaders To Two Seven-Inning Games
MLB and the MLBPA are "expected to announce that they will play doubleheaders as two seven-inning games for the rest of 2020," according to Brittany Ghiroli of THE ATHLETIC. The rule change is "one of several adjustments the two sides are looking at, along with extending the 30-man roster for the entire 60-game season." Players were "polled, first in a text message and later in an email from the union, for thoughts on doubleheaders either as one nine-inning game and one seven-inning game or two seven-inning games." That message said, "If enacted, these modifications would provide significant health/safety protections as we continue to move through the 2020 season." Sources said that the two sides were "making progress on implementing the pair of seven-inning games, with an announcement expected Friday" (THEATHLETIC.com, 7/30). ESPN.com noted there are "no doubleheaders currently scheduled in the majors" after Saturday's Blue Jays-Phillies twin bill was postponed because "two Phillies staffers tested positive for COVID-19." MLB "already had adopted one shortening rule for 2020: Each half of each extra inning starts with a runner on second base" (ESPN.com, 7/30).
WHATEVER IT TAKES: MLB Network’s J.P. Morosi said having seven-inning doubleheaders may “be a way to get enough games in to still have a representative season" (“MLB Central,” MLB Network, 7/30). ESPN’s Buster Olney: “In recent years the players association hasn't been open to a lot of new ideas when it comes to on-field stuff.” ESPN’s Mark Teixeira: “All the rules are out the window this year” (“Get Up,” ESPN, 7/31). WFAN-AM’s Boomer Esiason: “They have to get these games in. We are in a situation we’ve never been in before. They’re trying to keep the games going, keep the league going” (“Boomer and Gio,” CBSSN, 7/31).
MORE EXTRAS! In Houston, Brian Smith writes the commissioner's new extra-innings rule was "even worse in person than I had imagined from afar." Smith, who calls the runner on second base idea "crazy," writes it is "forced and so unnecessary and so ... anti-baseball." It also is "yet another public acknowledgement that MLB believes its audience isn't smart or dedicated enough to sit through a 'normal' extra-innings game." The drama is "manufactured for TV and social-media highlights, since a go-ahead or game-winning walkoff single is always one hit away" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/31).