In an incredibly timed announcement following yet another NFL game decided at the mercy of a coin, the independent Frontier League announced it will be trying out something called "sudden death baseball" in 2022.
Frontier League — For any regular season game tied at the end of regulation (nine innings for a traditional game and seven innings for a double-header game), and remaining tied following one inning of play using International Tiebreaker (ITB) rules, a sudden death inning will determine the winner.
Field managers will meet with umpires with the home manager choosing offense or defense. For the team on offense, the player on the lineup card immediately preceding the batter due up will start on first base. The defensive team will have three outs to prevent the offense from scoring. If the team on offense scores they will win the game, while if the defensive team retires the side without scoring a run, they will win. As with the ITB runner, if the runner placed on first base scores, the run will be unearned. The sudden death rule guarantees that no game will be played beyond 10.5 innings or beyond 8.5 innings for a double-header game.
I'm going to be honest: for an independent league trying to garner attention and headlines, I don't necessarily hate this move. It's dumb, but it's just interesting enough to get some people out to a ballpark in need of attendance with the hope of seeing a game get to the 11th inning and play out this wacky fever dream. Whatever, go for it.
But I better not see Rob Manfred or any of his cronies start poking around any of this nonsense. It's stupid enough we already start with a runner on second base, I don't need to watch this baseball perversion played out on a Major League field. It's worth noting the Frontier League is an MLB partner.
This is just another way to try to make baseball appealing to people who don't like baseball. Nobody who doesn't already watch is going to care if games are an average of 12 minutes shorter or if the home team picks if it wants to pitch or hit in extra innings. Play the game the way it's been played for 100 years and I promise everything is going to be just fine.