I have played baseball my entire life – and my experience in the game is deeper than most. I have been mentored by major leaguers and World Series MVPs. I have dueled against NBA All-Stars on the diamond. I love the game of baseball – but the season is long, and some of the games drag on forever. Unfortunately, I live in a city that does not have major league baseball – however, the last two games I have attended (Dodgers @ Giants and Astros @ Mariners) have gone on for 14 innings each.
Baseball can learn a thing or two from other sports in order to make the regular season more exciting. The game has the opportunity to create an atmosphere that is must watch TV.
Replace Extra Innings With A Homerun Derby During The Regular Season
During a long season – nobody wants to play extra innings. Pitching changes are boring. Games drag on. Stadiums stop serving alcohol. Games just need to end at a certain point. In order to save the game from its own monotony I am proposing that we bring baseball their own version of penalty kicks. When a game is tied at the end of the 9th inning – it goes to a homerun derby.
- A player from each team will represent their team in the homerun derby.
- A coach or player from each team will pitch to their homerun representative.
- Whoever hits the most homeruns in 2 minutes gets the win – or HRDV – for their team.
- A player cannot hit a ball until the previous ball has exited the field of play.
- If a ball is hit prior to the previous ball exiting the field of play – the current ball being hit does not count.
- To participate in the homerun derby, the player must already be in the game.
- This creates a new statistic for players as well – a Homerun Derby Victory – or HRDV.
Change How Standings Work
Rather than only allow teams to have a win and loss column – baseball needs to move to total points. Their standings will now mirror that of soccer or hockey. The current N.L. West Standings look like this:
If we change it to mirror that of hockey/soccer – teams will be awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and an additional point if they win a game through the homerun derby (HRDV). Here is what the current N.L. West would look like under that system.
Now let’s remove the extra inning games from the record books and award ties for those games:
- In extra inning games in 2019, the N.L. West teams have the following records: Dodgers 2-2, Diamondbacks 7-6, Rockies 6-4, Padres 2-4, and Giants 4-2.
- With this change, the Diamondbacks fall behind the Padres in the overall standings. The Padres are the only team to gain ground on the division leading Dodgers – everyone else falls further behind.
Now I am going to assume that each team wins 50% of their homerun derbies and award an additional point in the standings.
You can see how important a solid homerun derby participant could be in the final standings. In a closer division it could make all of the difference in the world. If the Diamondbacks had a lights-out homerun derby participant that could be worth 6 more points – or two wins to them.
How Does This Change The Game?
There are a few things this would change about the regular season. Would teams use one of their regular position players, or would they employ a homerun derby specialist?
I imagine a situation where the away team is pitching with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. The game is tied. The manager comes out to the mound – except it is not for a pitching change. This is for a defensive replacement. They remove their right fielder from the game and out strolls a man that resembles The Mountain from Game of Thrones. It is their Homerun Derby Specialist. They have inserted him into the lineup prior to the end of the game to ensure that he can participate in the derby.
Like many people – I love the game of baseball as it is. However, I feel like this is a way to bring more attention and excitement to the game as we drag through the long months of the regular season.