Welcome to Major League Baseball, where the rules are made up and the tradition doesn’t matter.
Baseball is trying to eat itself alive again, with dumb rule changes getting in the way of the game, in a phony effort to try to speed up games, or end games quicker, or get players home earlier or some such nonsense perpetuated by MLB brass.
MORE: SN staff predictions for the 2021 MLB season
The infamous runner-on-second-in-extra-innings rule — which is longwinded and ridiculous to begin with — was implemented in 2020 after a few years of experimentation in the indie leagues and the minors, and it was totally acceptable to use in a whacky, zany, pandemic-shortened season.
Tradition is fine and listening to someone drone on about the fabric of the game can be nauseating, but in this case, it’s totally worth it.
The rule is back again in 2021 because the MLBPA and MLB couldn’t agree on expanded playoffs among other things, which means get ready for more lame baseball rules to break brains in 2021.
The Opening Day matchup between the Yankees and the Blue Jays went to extra innings, meaning a runner was placed on second to start the 10th inning. Yankee reliever Nick Nelson quickly gave up a double to Randal Grichuk, runner scores, Jays take the lead.
Sure, the Yankees had the same advantage in the bottom half of the inning, and the Yankees had plenty of opportunities to put the game away. But the rule, itself, in a word, a very simple one, is stupid. It’s not baseball, regardless of who’s getting the advantage.
They would hold on to win by a score of 3-2, and plenty of people — Yankee fans and not — were very mad about it.
The runner on second rule is despicable
— Nick Stellini (@StelliniTweets) April 1, 2021
Hi. I don’t like the extra runner on second base rule. Manfred…😒
— Laura Eismont (@laura_eismont) April 1, 2021
MLB’s automatic runner on second in extra-innings is un-American and might be grounds for revoking baseball’s antitrust exemption.
— James Wegmann (@jameswegmann) April 1, 2021
Starting extra innings with a runner on second was fine last year, with all the silliness of that season.
It’s dumb now. This shouldn’t be a thing.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) April 1, 2021
Nick Nelson had a good inning and he’s gonna get tagged with a loss on his record he doesn’t deserve if the Yankees don’t score. Just an unfathomably stupid rule.
— Average Jake (@JakeMHS) April 1, 2021
My team (@BlueJays) won because of this rule today. And I absolutely loathe what this has done to the game.
It’s a rule designed by people that do not understand the game and whose only goal is to make money.
— Brian (@NOfTheBorder) April 1, 2021
Really, if a rule needs more than two words to explain it, then it’s a dumb rule, and it shouldn’t exist, anyway.
If MLB wants to find ways to speed up the game, then there are ways to do it that aren’t about gifting a free runner on second base.
Until they figure out what they’re doing, though, this is what fans are stuck with.