From the 2020 MLB Operations Manual: Extra Innings — During the championship season only (not the postseason), OBR 7.01(b) (“Extra Innings”) will be modified in accordance with Minor League regulations, such that each half-inning following the ninth inning will begin with a runner on second base...”
We’ve described this previously as the sort of rule a father who’s tired of watching his son’s Little League team play would come up with, but apparently Major League Baseball will put a runner on second in extra innings during the 60-game 2020 MLB season.
So what does Davey Martinez, the Washington Nationals’ manager, who played 1,918 games over 16 seasons in his big league career before getting into coaching, and eventually into a managerial role, think of the idea of putting a runner on second in extras?
“You know what, I’m going to be honest, I don’t like it,” Martinez said when he spoke on a Zoom call with reporters on Saturday afternoon.
“I don’t like it because I think it takes away a little bit from the game. I mean, regardless if you’re 0-0 in a game or 1-1 or a tie, whatever, and you’re still working to play that game, and all of a sudden just to throw a guy out there for free, basically, to me it just doesn’t seem right. I’ve been doing this for a long time as a player, as a coach, and now as a manager, I’m kind of old school in that way.
“But you know what, it’s a new era, so we’ll see what happens and we’ll see what transpires.”
Has anyone he talked to in the game said they actually like the idea of starting extras with a runner on second?
“I haven’t met anyone so far that likes it,” the manager admitted.
Martinez also talked about trying to get baseball up and running again after it shut down in mid-March as the coronavirus spread across the country. Had they started the season back in late March as originally planned the Nationals and Houston Astros would have been at it again after meeting up in the 2019 World Series, playing an 11:00 AM game on July 4th in the nation’s capital.
“It would have been a good matchup,” Martinez said.
“Unfortunately it’s not going to happen. It’s kind of sad. The whole thing. We were looking forward to a huge ring ceremony with fans and stuff, we didn’t get that.
“The raising of the banner, we didn’t get that. It’s going to happen, eventually. Not having it kind of stinks. But you know what, moving forward, we’re back, we’re going to play.
“It’s nice to be back, nice to see the guys, and nice to watch the guys actually work out and throw and be together. So, it’s just something nobody anticipated.
“We’ve just got to move on. And I told the players, I said, ‘Hey, we’re going to get our rings here, soon.’ So, you know, and the banner is going to go up, and probably go up when fans are back in the stadium. But just remember it was one heck of an accomplishment. Don’t forget it. Let’s build off of that, let’s move forward.”