Chicago Cubs: Minor League pace-of-play changes loom large

Rob Manfred / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Rob Manfred / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs /

Baseball means execution and strategy – period

Throughout the history of the game, it’s taken a blend of strategy and execution to win. Extra-inning wins aren’t supposed to be easy. But the league is so hyper-focused on cutting length of games, they’re willing to jettison that out the window.

"At all levels of Minor League Baseball, extra innings will begin with a runner on second base. The runner at second base will be the player in the batting order position previous to the leadoff batter of the inning (or a substitute for that player)."

So, in other words. If your number six hitter leads off the tenth, your number five man will be the runner at second to start the frame. If you pinch run for him, as it has been, he is unable to return to the game.

I get the sentiment and thought here. You get the excitement of an extra-inning win without having to keep fans in their seats for four-plus hours on a weeknight. It makes sense. But I think there’s also a beauty to grinding out a lengthy extra-inning game and picking up a win.

You still have the late-inning drama. Players still have to execute. The more I think about this, the less it bothers me. Which is weird, given I’m a semi-traditionalist. My main issue is that I think it makes it pretty easy to score runs.

Runner at second, no one out. Move the runner over (I know it’s easier said than done), then you have two cracks at driving him in from third. We’ll see how it plays out in the Minors – but I still expect unprecedented backlash from fans and the MLBPA on this.