EVANSVILLE — Behold, another gimmick to spice up America’s pastime: sudden death baseball.
It will soon be coming to Bosse Field and throughout the Frontier League, which announced Monday that it will make another rule change to determine the winner of extra-inning games for the 2022 season.
Any tie after nine innings (or seven in a doubleheader) will play one extra inning with the international tiebreak rule, which calls for a runner on second base. MLB has been using this rule since 2020 and the Frontier League first installed it in 2015, although it started in the 11th inning.
Last season:Evansville Otters tie for most wins, miss Frontier League play-offs
Then there will be sudden death in a half inning if the game remains tied, and the home manager decides whether his team will play on the offense or on the defense. The attack begins with a runner in first place.
If the batting team scores, it wins.
If the pitching team gets three outs, it wins.
“Rather than playing traditional extra innings, the sudden death tiebreak is the best option to determine the outcome of a game,” said Evansville’s Andy McCauley, the Frontier League’s most winning active manager and reigning Manager of the Year. . “With regard to game time, injury prevention and a strategic baseball result, I think the new sudden death rule could be an innovative solution.”
The rule guarantees that no game lasts longer than 10.5 innings, which is an advantage for pitchers who are often stretched. Last season, a tie after 10 innings was decided by a homerun derby.
The Otters came 5-1 in derby deciders, but managers were unanimous against that format. In the derby, each team selected three players to bat. Each saw eight pitches and the team with the most home runs won.
So managers didn’t want their teams to play endless games, nor did they like breaking ties with a home run derby. Instead, they devised another controversial method.
“While sudden death won’t happen every game, we believe that when it does, the fans will be on their feet,” said Kevin Winn, deputy commissioner for the Frontier League. “This initiative has received overwhelming support from our current field managers and rules committee.”
It was first suggested by former Florence manager Dennis Pelfrey, who is now in the organization of the San Francisco Giants.
While there is no publicly available data for the Frontier League, in 1950 to 2015 MLB games in 1950 to 2015 MLB games show that one run is expected to score between 41-45% of the time if there is a man on the first place and no outs.
That’s close enough to 50-50 that the home team has to make a decision, based on where teams are in their lineup and how thin bullpens are stretched.
A new season kicks off at Bosse Field on May 13. The Otters went 57-39 last year to tie the franchise for single-season wins, but they missed the postseason for the first time since 2015. Only four division winners made it to the playoffs in the 14-team league, and the Otters had one. better record than three of them, but no West Division champion Florence.
Chad Lindskog is the sports editor of the Courier & Press. You can contact him by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter: @chadlindskog.