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MLB rule changes: Home run derby in extra innings?

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The start of spring without baseball has left many of us with ample time to obsess over the game we don’t have. While we devote our attention to watching classic games, reading great baseball books and rewatching favorite films, getting our baseball fix also involves pondering the state of our game.

Revamping extra innings is among the structural changes the league is considering to improve pace of play. Some ideas, like beginning the inning with a runner on second base, have already been implemented at certain levels of baseball. Others, like Justin Turner proposing a home run derby to decide games in extras, are much more drastic.

Below is a list of eight possible changes–tiered by their invasiveness–baseball can make to its extra-innings format to avoid six-hour games and ensure a more exciting product. It’s worth acknowledging every idea is slanted to encourage offense so games end sooner. Apologies to all the pitchers in the baseball universe.  

While I am still partial to the status quo, some of these extra-innings suggestions do sound fun.

O.K., I’ll Listen

1. Batters Start With 2-1 Count

This one is pretty self-explanatory and gives an edge to the offense. Batters begin their plate appearance in a “hitter’s count,” forcing pitchers immediately in the strike zone. This idea also speeds up at-bats, meaning each extra inning should theoretically be quicker.

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