MiLB’s new extra-inning rule follows WBSC international baseball, softball

MiLB’s new extra-inning rule follows WBSC international baseball, softball
16/03/2018

Minor League Baseball’s new extra-inning rule closely follows the lead of the world governing body, WBSC.

ST. PETERSBURG (FL), USA — Minor League Baseball (MiLB) announced an important new rule change aimed at reducing the length of extra-inning games, which follows the lead of World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) international baseball and softball competitions. Across all levels of the minors, MiLB, which drew 41.8 million fans in 2017, will apply a variation of the world governing body’s extra-inning rule and begin with a runner on second base. In WBSC international baseball tie-breakers, extra innings begin with runners on first and second base.

“The impact that lengthy extra innings games have on pitchers, position players and entire organizations was something that needed to be addressed,” said MiLB President Pat O’ Conner.

The extra-inning rule is actually shaped from softball’s tie-breaker, and the International Baseball Federation first tested the rule in 2008 during the U-18 Baseball World Cup in Edmonton, Canada.

Jim Baba, a WBSC Baseball World Cup Tournament Director and Baseball Canada Executive Director said: “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.”

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, says Baba, who is also a member of the WBSC Baseball Tournaments Commission.

“I think MiLB is using the rule in 2018 as a pilot for some of the same reasons the WBSC started to use it. As rules evolve in the game of baseball, it is nice to see MLB considering the tie-breaker as a rule change they want to try as well.”