Two large sporting events happening in these days are the finale of the FIFA World Cup Final Game and the MLB All-Star Game and associated activities, including the Home Run Derby.
Though baseball has become a more international sport in recent decades, especially in Latin American countries and Japan, etc., it still pales in comparison to the massive popularity of soccer.
I am one of those traditional American sports types who struggles to “get” the enthusiasm for soccer, even as I acknowledge its worldwide following and growing support in the USA.
It would seem to me that the sport would be advantaged by more scoring and dispensing with the frustrating off-sides rules. Yes, I know how anathema that thought is to you soccer purists.
Something that is very exciting and climatic in a soccer contest is the final shoot-out at the end—where five designated penalty kickers alternate with scoring opportunities from the 12-yard penalty mark. The best of five of the shooters for each side wins, with a sudden death situation following an additional tie.
What if baseball was to do something of this sort at the end of nine innings with a tied game? Or maybe after a 10th inning continues with a tied game? What if each team were to choose five designated home run derby hitters—each side supplying a pitcher for their own team? The best of five would win the game, and if tied, it would be alternating hitters for each team in a sudden death format.
Even as a baseball purist, I would have to admit that this would be an exciting format! It would also save overused bullpens and interminably long games that extend to the wee hours of the morning with few fans remaining in the stands. Nobody would leave or turn off a close game in the late innings with a possible home run hit-off at the end.
Home runs hit in the “derby hit-off” would not count with the rest of existing baseball statistics. They would rather be their own new category of stats.
So, how about it baseball fans?