The Time Has Come For Major League Baseball to Adopt the Mercy Rule and Save All the Hurt Feelings
The San Francisco Giants beat the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, 13-2. As you can probably guess based on the score and the fact that someone is writing about a regular season baseball game, an unwritten rule was broken. The offending player was Giants shortstop Mauricio Dubon who had the audacity to bunt in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Giants leading by 11-2. The Padres did not like it and it appeared that manager Gabe Kapler had a word with Dubon after the inning ended.
To Kapler's credit, he defended his player and his choice to bunt in his postgame press conference, making good points about wearing out a team's bullpen because the Giants want to win a series and not just a game. Seems reasonable!
Still, the Unwritten Rules conversation was reignited. Enter longtime baseball writer and enthusiast Joe Posnanski. Seeing a team was upset that someone continued to try in the sixth inning of a game, Joe Pos threw his arms up and suggested MLB used a mercy rule.
You know, that's not a half-bad idea. MLB already experimented with 7-inning double-headers and sometimes weather does shorten official games. Some games the home team doesn't even get to bat all nine innings!
By implementing the mercy rule teams still play a full season schedule and get to sell tickets and broadcast rights to 81 home games a year. And yet we save some arms in the bullpen. Players would face less wear and tear. Teams might actually even try harder to score runs and end games quicker. We might never see someone upset that a player was playing baseball with an entire third of the game remaining again!
Heck, last night's game would have ended after the second inning with the Giants up 10-1, thus allowing fans to get home at a decent hour and NBC Sports Bay Area could experiment with some Everybody Loves Raymond reruns or something. There's really no downside.