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Ties In Baseball? We’re Not Having It

Addressing the truth about extra inning games.

The New York Post’s Joel Sherman posed the other day that ties in baseball would be a welcome development.

We’re not feeling that commentary.

The arguments made by Sherman include games being too long, fans being too bored, and players blowing out their arms. On their face, those rationales seem legitimate, but we also need to talk about the tie “justifications” left unspoken.

Why Would Anyone In Media Want Ties In Baseball?

You did not see in the Post article the “D” word. As in, “deadlines.” As in, “this game needs to end because of the deadline for my column.” This may or may not apply to Sherman specifically, but if this ever comes up again with another beat writer, boil it down to this.

Remember all the goings on about “pace of play?” I’m convinced this is why some found it necessary; I’ve been around the block in the sports media game and know the drill. The average columnist isn’t concerned with how bored the fans are. They want to keep their editors happy with quicker games. Extra innings only makes their jobs more difficult. To an extent, it’s understandable.

And As For The Rest…

Fans are bored by extra inning games is what they argue. If they’re bored in the 13th inning when one hit could potentially win the game, they’ll probably be bored in the early innings as well. If it’s getting late and you have to put the kids to bed, then leave. The fact that the game goes beyond 12 innings isn’t hurting the fans, that’s for sure.

To argue that games should stop after the 12th for the sake of the poor, aggrieved paying customers again probably condenses to the self interest of the beat columnist calling for it. The way it was made to sound in the Sherman piece, even going to the damn game is like subjecting the fans to watching paint dry in slow motion. Nobody’s making them go to or stay at the game, you know.

The one argument which has plausible validity is the overtaxing of the players. Here’s the thing: extra inning games are not overabundant. In 2016, the numbers averaged to about 12 per team. Atlanta got involved in 22 of them, or 13.5 percent of their season. On the low end, the Angels only played in four, or just over two percent of their schedule.

Of those extra inning games in 2016, only 32 went beyond the 12th. About 1.3 percent of last season fit this criteria, and some teams didn’t play in any. Now, you might say this makes Sherman’s argument in that it won’t have a big impact to the game. You could also read it the other way: that this “solution” solves a barely-existent problem.

Finally, ties in baseball only happening until the rosters expand in September? Oh come on. Maybe the NFL should eliminate the tie after Thanksgiving as well, then.

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