Aaron Boone might think his New York Yankees are savages in the batter's box, but it seems his viewpoint on lopsided games in Major League Baseball is anything but savage.
Speaking to the media before Friday's game against the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees' manager said he wouldn't be opposed to MLB instituting a mercy rule that would prevent blowout baseball games from dragging on and creating unnecessary issues.
Aaron Boone says he wouldn't be opposed to some sort of mercy rule in the regular season for blowouts like last night. Said he thinks it would help cut down on some of the unwritten rule stuff about whether or not to swing on 3-0 in a lopsided game, etc.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) August 16, 2019
If you’ve played or watched Little League baseball, then you’re probably familiar with how mercy rules work. In the kids’ game, if a team is leading by 10 runs or more at the conclusion of the fourth or fifth inning, the game is over.
What the MLB equivalent to that might be is something that could lead to a contentious debate. For now, we’ll just focus on the mere suggestion of it.
What prompted Boone's comments?
More often than not, the Yankees have been on the right side of lopsided games this season. However, Thursday's 19-5 loss to the Cleveland Indians was a different story.
Making matters worse, the Yankees were already going to rely heavily on the bullpen after deciding to use reliever Chad Green as an opener. Green recorded just one out, and was charged with five runs. By inning’s end, the Yankees were down 7-0, and Boone was facing the daunting task of getting 24 more outs without taxing his bullpen.
Come the eighth inning, Boone decided to call on first baseman Mike Ford, who pitched well during college days at Princeton, to get the last five outs.
While Ford’s pitching appearance admittedly lightened the mood, it didn’t go particularly well. He allowed five more runs, and Boone apparently cringed through the entire exercise.
Boone said he knows players sometimes find some levity in a guy like Mike Ford pitching but from his side he worries abour managing smartly but without risk of injury. For what it's worth he said he'd be fine with a mercy rule when his team is up, too.— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) August 16, 2019
Why Boone's suggestion makes sense
To be perfectly honest, Boone makes a lot of sense with his suggestion. While we all understand and accept that baseball is a nine-inning game, we can also acknowledge that completing a game like the Houston Astros’ recent 22-3 victory against the Baltimore Orioles isn’t totally necessary, either.
The longer a lopsided game drags on, the better chance there is for tensions to rise or players to get hurt. Especially when pitching options run thin and position players are forced to pitch. That concept used to be kinda fun when it happened once in awhile. Now that it’s happening almost daily in MLB, it’s a lot less endearing.
A mercy rule would put players’ health first, and it wouldn’t take anything away from the fans. Those few people who stick around through these games have already seen plenty of action.
Why MLB will never adopt a mercy rule
We’ve seen enough big changes in the game to warrant thinking anything is possible. But the truth is, this one is extremely unlikely to ever come to fruition.
While it makes sense on the surface, there are just some things about baseball that will never change. Playing nine innings is one of those things.
Merely determining how the rule would work would be a difficult enough task for it to make headway. Beyond that, we’re guessing fans wouldn’t be all that receptive, either.
Managers might not like it, but the days of 22-3 and 19-5 aren’t going away.
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