CFP: I believe it was 23 years ago that I played in a summer softball tournament, and our team’s first game was tied at the end of regulation. Since tournament organizers didn’t want games going on forever, they expedited the likely end of an extra-inning game by having each extra inning start with the bases loaded. Whoever was due up in the lineup would get his regular at-bat, but the three hitters before him would be placed on the bases.The theory was that inning were unlikely to end scoreless when they started like this.
It felt forced, illogical, impure and all that. But what the hell. It was a pickup softball tournament. The baseball record book would not be tarnished by what we did that day. It was not the Major Leagues, where no such apostasy would ever be considered.
Major League Baseball plans on testing a rule change in the lowest levels of the minor leagues this season that automatically would place a runner on second base at the start of extra innings, a distinct break from the game’s orthodoxy that nonetheless has wide-ranging support at the highest levels of the league, sources familiar with the plan told Yahoo Sports.
A derivation of the rule has been used in international baseball for nearly a decade and will be implemented in the World Baseball Classic this spring. MLB’s desire to test it in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Arizona League this summer is part of an effort to understand its wide in-game consequences – and whether its implementation at higher levels, and even the major leagues, may be warranted.