Dodgers: Justin Turner Has a Plan to Save Pitchers in a Revamped 2020 Schedule
He's a sly one, that Justin Turner. And his heart is in the right place. And I, for one, love the Dodgers' redturn2. Love JT. Think he oughta be the team's captain. Have thought so for years. But a home run derby to end extra inning ball games? Uh, no.
“This is my opportunity to push for a home run derby in extra innings,” said Turner. “Instead of playing 17 innings, you get one extra inning, you play the 10th inning, and no one scores, then you go to a home run derby. You take each team’s three best hitters and you give them all five outs and see who hits the most homers.
“You want to keep fans in the stands until the end of the game. I know when I go to hockey games I actually like the shootout. That keeps me in my seat so maybe a home run derby would do that as well.”
Pass. Hard pass. Why? First of all, you don't want non-players deciding ball games. And pennants. And batting practice pitchers are what home derby participants employ.
Fine, say you're using an actual active-roster major leaguer, a guy who may already have been inserted into the lineup and removed from the game. That creates another problem. And instead of risking a relief pitcher's health, you're throwing caution and a position player's well being to the wind, even if he's just lobbing it in there. More importantly, you can't have a man lobbing it in there with the expressed intention of allowing a big fly -- hit by a guy on his own team, no less. That's pee-wee baseball, and this ain't that.
So the 2020 season will reverse the cliché and be played as a sprint instead of marathon. BFD. And let it be. Because it couldn't be more exciting if you laid it out on a chalkboard in advance, which Major League Baseball will actually be able to do.
Day-night double-headers won't be the problem Turner thinks it could be. Not with 30-man rosters, which I suggested the minute the shutdown started. And certainly not for a contending team with depth. Deep depth. Those are going to be the last teams standing this year, anyway, same as it's been annually going back a century and a half.
Instead of a home run derby, what do you say, for one, we reverse the decision to revert to a minimum 10-day injured list stay, as was the plan going in. Keep those arms a-rotatin'. Keep those frequent flyer miles a-tallyin'. Because what's good for the goose is good for the economy.
For two, how about creating a schedule with the off-days required by the sport's collective bargaining agreement intact as per usual? And a three-day All-Star "break," instead of the now-common four. And a 90 or 100-game schedule that runs no later than mid-October? Don't tell me it can't be done. It can be done. With just a thimble full of initiative by the schedule-makers. Or computers, as the case may be.
Nobody's going to be running on fumes during the postseason. In fact, quite the opposite. I commend Mr. Turner for the creative thinking, and for the suggestion. It's just not one that should be given even the slightest consideration.
And remember, glove conquers all.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.