Clayton Kershaw: Extra-inning rule ‘fine’ this season, but ‘not real baseball’
Count Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw in the camp of MLB players who are not real big fans of the extra-inning rule the league implemented for the condensed 2020 season.
MLB elected to in institute a rule for the 60-game season where a baserunner will be automatically placed on second base in each half of an extra-inning game. The league stated it was put in place to limit the risk of injury and potentially reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Whatever the reason, Kershaw doesn’t like it.
“It’s not real baseball,” Kershaw said Wednesday after the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks by a score of 6-4 in 10 innings, per ESPN. “But it’s fine for this year, and I hope we never do it again.”
Interestingly enough, despite Kershaw panning the new rule, the Dodgers have actually excelled in extra innings this season. Wednesday’s win marked the Dodgers’ second extra-inning win in as many nights and the team is 5-1 overall this season under the new format.
Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts, in contrast to Kershaw, actually likes how the extra-inning rule has played out this season.
“I didn’t know how it was going to play out and how it was going to be received, but as we’ve had some runs with it, I really like it,” Roberts said. “I think it really shortens the game. It adds strategy for the fans, the managers, the players.
“I think it’s playing out pretty well, and our guys have done a really good job in the situation. I like it permanently. I don’t like it for the postseason.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently bemoaned how fans treated the extra-inning rule, among other changes over the past few years, as a “crime against humanity.”
Kershaw’s untoward opinion of the extra-inning rule obviously is not as extreme as Manfred hyperbolically characterized fan reaction earlier this month, but the Dodgers pitcher isn’t the only one who bemoaned the new rule during the season.
Fortunately for the format’s detractors, MLB is unlikely to ever fully implement the runner-on-second rule for extra innings for the long haul in light of the strong pushback when the minor leagues began enforcing it in 2018.