Baseball is changing! The sport that is relatively identical to the sport introduced in 1876 is making a shift to the MLB All-Star Game. Maybe we see it, maybe we don’t. However, beginning with Tuesday night’s midsummer classic, a tied contest doesn’t go to extras after the ninth inning. Instead, the game heads into a home run derby to settle the score.
In an attempt to fix baseball’s pacing issues, Rob Manfred and the league instituted a ‘ghost runner’ rule beginning in 2020. The tenth inning begins with a runner on second base to increase scoring and speed up results. This change marks the most drastic difference to the pacing problem regardless of the fact it only applies to one game.
The All-Star Game – which hasn’t decided World Series home field advantage since 2016 – is purely to the benefit and enjoyment of the game’s fans. It’s a showcase of the league’s greatest talents to fans unable to witness the greatness on a nightly basis. A home run derby in the event of extra innings is the perfect way to cap it off.
Nine swings per team, three different sluggers, one team crowned victorious. It has me yearning for a tie after nine on Tuesday night.
All-Star Game Pits Older Legend Against Youthful Riser
An All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium should feature one of the generation’s greatest assets. Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw – fresh off of a near perfect outing against the Los Angeles Angels – takes the bump for the National League. On the rubber for the American League is one of the game’s best young hurlers, Tampa Bay Rays starter Shane McClanahan.
In his second season in the big leagues, the 25-year-old sports a 1.71 ERA in 18 starts. Tampa Bay sits in the middle of an insanely difficult AL East that the New York Yankees have seemingly run away with. However, with baseball’s expansion of the playoff format to include an extra wild card entrant, McClanahan’s performance plays a major role in the team’s success.
Meanwhile, Kershaw remains atop the league after 15 years of pure domination. The 34-year-old boasts a 2.13 ERA in 12 starts, striking out 75 batters this season. Kershaw allowed just one hit in the eighth inning of a victory in Anaheim last weekend. It’s the second time the nine-time All-Star has started a performance with seven perfect innings.
The pitching dominance on display on Tuesday night makes a 0-0 tie after nine innings certainly possible. And even with a large quantity of home runs on Monday night’s doubleheader, more dingers is all we can ask for.