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Home Run Derby to decide MLB extra-inning games in 2020?

Justin Turner
Justin Turner has come up with an idea to shorten MLB extra inning games. Pic credit: Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube

With the MLB season currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players and fans alike are just waiting for the word to come down when the action is set to begin.

With the very best case scenario as of this report being June 1 for an MLB return date, the 2020 MLB season will obviously be a shortened one.

That being said, to make games move along a bit quicker, will MLB take a page from the NHL in terms of deciding games that require extra innings?

Dodgers Justin Turner has a plan

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner has a pretty radical idea to shorten MLB games this season. Well, at least the ones that are headed towards extra innings.

Instead of playing extra innings indefinitely, or until someone finally wins, which could be the length of 1-inning or 20 innings, Turner wants tied games to be decided by a Home Run Derby, using a format that is similar to NHL  shootouts.

In the NHL, the overtime period is 5 minutes. If the OT ends and the teams are still tied, then the shootout begins.

Turner’s idea is close to that. In baseball, both teams will have the 10th inning to try and win the game. If neither team scores, instead of moving to the 11th inning, the Home Run Derby would begin.

ESPN indicates that Turner brought up the idea when Turner was interviewed on Access Sportsnet Dodgers.

“This is my opportunity to push for a Home Run Derby in extra innings,” Turner said. “Instead of playing 17 innings, you get one extra inning, you play the 10th inning, and (if) no one scores, then you go to a Home Run Derby. You take each team’s three best hitters and you give them all five outs, and see who hits the most homers.

“You know, you wanna keep fans in the stands until the end of the game,” he continued. “I know when I go to hockey games, I actually enjoy watching shootouts. That keeps me in my seat, so maybe a Home Run Derby will do that as well.”

While Turner does bring up valid points, it also almost brings the game to a carnival level for baseball purists and enthusiasts – and here’s why.

HR derby bad for baseball?

In the NHL, the standings are determined by points. When two hockey teams head into an overtime shootout, the winning team receives two points while the loser earns one point.

Thus, even the losing team could move up in the standings if they are tied with the team ahead of them.

Obviously the same can’t be said for MLB.

While this would avoid a possible scenario of two MLB teams battling it out for what could be hours, it just doesn’t seem like the right way to determine the winner of the game.

Granted it could be exciting, but it would take the team concept out and all of the strategic moves out of the game.

With many pros and cons to this idea, what do you think MLB fans? Would you like to see games end with Home Run Derby or should baseball leave the rules intact?