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After screwing up the All-Star Game, getting roasted by Clay Travis and instituting ridiculous foreign substance checks, Rob Manfred is on the verge of finally getting something right. The MLB commissioner expressed optimism that a number of drastic rule changes put in place prior to the 2020 season are likely to be nixed before next spring. Atop the list of expected changes is a return to traditional doubleheaders.
Commissioner: Seven-inning doubleheaders and starting extra innings with runners on second are likely to be dropped by Major League Baseball after this season. https://t.co/JEHkqMQTn9
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) July 13, 2021
Speaking before Tuesday’s All-Star Game, Manfred addressed the potential changes: “I see the extra-inning rule and the seven-inning doubleheaders as rules implemented based on medical advice. I think they are much less likely to become part of our permanent landscape than some of the other rules that we’ve talked about over time about how the game is being played.”
The wildly unpopular seven-inning doubleheaders were first put in place during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, and Manfred insinuated that they remained this year because the league was unsure of how the season would play out: “At the point in time we adopted seven-inning doubleheaders for this year, we didn’t know that the country was going to look like it looks right now. As a matter of fact, we were really scared that it was going to look very, very differently. If I knew it was going to be like this, might we have done different rules? Maybe.”
He continued by addressing concerns that fans are paying full price for a seven-inning game: “And again, last year when we used (7 inning doubleheaders) because there were no fans, they were traditional doubleheaders. Given that the rule’s in place, it’s hard to change it midstream because of the competitive impacts. And given the demand we have for the tickets that are available, we kind of think splits are making the best out of a bad situation. But believe me, I understand it’s not perfect from the fans’ perspective and we’re worried about that.”
Though changes to doubleheaders and extra innings appear likely, don’t expect pitchers to stop being regularly checked for foreign substances anytime soon: “I think the substance checks have been an important step forward for the game. I think that enforcing our rules is really important. They’re on the books. They should be enforced.”
Now that that’s taken care of, MLB can move onto more important things, like throwing out those atrocious All-Star uniforms.