Over the past couple of years, Robert Manfred and Major League Baseball have been looking into ways to change the game and make it more appealing to younger fans. That pretty much translates into making the game faster, more dynamic, and more home runs.
Several pitchers speculated that the league 'juiced' the new baseballs to make them more home run-friendly; and even though Manfred's office has denied those accusations over and over, the numbers speak for themselves.
Still, the league can't seem to figure out a way to shorten games when they go to extra innings, and it seems like the controversial new rule of a runner on second base on every extra inning isn't going to stay for long.
MLB's Pioneer League Will Try A New Home Run Derby Format In Extra Innings
That's because, according to a recent statement, Major League Baseball will turn to its Pioneer Baseball League to test a new 'sudden death Knock Out' format that's basically a Home Run Derby for extra innings, starting this season.
"To avoid the excessive strain on our pitching staffs, the Pioneer Baseball League will not have extra innings, but rather will employ a first-of-its-kind "Knock Out" rule that resolves tied games with a head-to-head, "sudden death" home run duel. Under the rule, each team designates a hitter who receives 5 pitches, with the game determined by the most home runs hit. If still tied after the first "Knock Out" round, another hitter is selected for a sudden-death home run face-off until a winner is declared," the statement read.
The Commissioner's office continues to find ways to change the game and get the ratings back up. Some may like it, some don't, but it seems like these experiments won't go away any time soon, so we better enjoy the ride.