In a baseball season where everything looks different, how about one more? According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Major League Baseball and the players’ union have agreed that all doubleheaders during the 2020 season will now consist of two seven-inning games.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report an agreement was in the works.
Now this news will be met with some of the stop-changing-the-game anger that changes to MLB rules usually give us from fans. But this one seems to be less about tinkering with pace-of-play and more about necessity — we’re a week into a coronavirus-shortened season and the need for doubleheaders is already stacking up.
The Marlins, Phillies, Blue Jays, Nationals, Orioles and Yankees already have games that need to be made up because of the coronavirus outbreak that hit the Marlins this week. That won’t be an isolated incident. Getting all 30 teams to 60 games may take a lot of maneuvering. And probably a few concessions along the way.
Playing shorter doubleheaders might be a way for teams to preserve healthy bodies, beyond just pitchers. Sort of the baseball equivalent of listening to your podcasts on 1.5x speed because you have so many waiting in the queue.
Another question might be wondering whether it’s even worth playing baseball during a pandemic if the league doesn’t think it can play complete games.
Next outbreak, that’s probably a conversation that’s going to happen too.
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