WBSC-inspired extra-inning rule made impact on MLB 2020 season

WBSC-inspired extra-inning rule made impact on MLB 2020 season
05/10/2020
To help conclude the game in a timely manner, MLB placed a runner at second base to start each half inning beginning in the 10th inning -- a variation of the WBSC international baseball extra-inning rule.

Major League Baseball's new extra-inning rule -- inspired by the WBSC international tie-breaker -- has made an impact on the 2020 MLB season. The shortened 60-game regular season was run through 67 days; therefore, shortening extra-inning games was considered mandatory by the Major League Players Association (MLBPA). Thus the season's protocols included the adoption of the new extra-inning rule.

To stimulate scoring and the timely conclusion of the extra-inning game, MLB places a runner at second base to start each half inning beginning in the 10th inning -- a variation of the WBSC international baseball extra-inning rule, in which each half inning begins with runners at first and second base. The rule is similar to a softball tie-breaker.

Jim Baba, Chair of the WBSC Baseball Tournament Commission and a WBSC Baseball World Cup Tournament Director, recalled: "After introducing the tie-breaking rule for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the WBSC also realised the need for use in our World Championship events because of limited roster size, particularly in events using affiliated players from our professional league partners, and having our games played over a short duration of time.”

Baba added: "It makes tremendous sense within a tournament format to use the extra-inning rule not to tax the pitching staffs of teams by determining a winner within one to two extra innings."

The rule has been tested since the 2018 season in Minor League Baseball (MiLB), and since its introduction, the duration of extra-inning games has been significantly reduced.

The WBSC (International Baseball Federation) tested the extra-inning rule for the first time in 2008 during the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup in Edmonton Canada.

The extra-inning rule is not in effect during the current MLB post-season.