What if Baseball used ties?
Last week I made a Video talking about ties in baseball. One of the intriguing aspects for my insistence upon ties within a sport that plays 162 games a year is the idea of closer playoff races down the final stretch of the season. Within my reasoning is the idea that utilizing fewer relief pitchers would lower the wear and tear on bullpen arms and prolong their shelf life while allowing fewer injuries. Finally, the idea of ties would eliminate, what I deem, unnecessary innings to decide a game. It would keep the time frame within 9 innings and conclude after the final out of the 9th.
My main reason for ties is that it doesn’t drastically change the standings. Ties would also help to keep teams that have lost more extra inning games than they’ve won a better chance to be in the playoff race. As of 8/6/18, here are the updated standings.
With no ties, the Division leaders are the Phillies, Cubs, Diamondbacks/Dodgers in the NL and the Red Sox, Indians, and Astros in the AL.
Add in the ties and you can see the only real difference is in the NL East where the Braves overtake the Phillies for 1st place. Out in the NL West the Dodgers hold the lead instead of being in a 2 way tie for 1st.
The Wild Card races are the main reason I am a proponent for ties. In theory taking away wins and losses from extra inning games and giving them their own category should squeeze the discrepancy between the fringe playoff teams to allow for a more entertaining and competitive end to the regular season. This is all theory of course and something I’m going to be following until the playoffs come.
As of now the AL Wild Card teams are New York and Oakland as it sits today. The Mariners are 2.5 games back with a significant drop off for any other team who wants to climb back into the mix. The NL Wild Card teams are Milwaukee and Atlanta as of now. The NL Wild Card race has a lot more teams vying for a playoff chance with 7 teams within 5.5 games.
Obviously, if we add ties into the mix the 9 team Wild Card race becomes a lot more interesting as the season progresses. The AL WC looks like 3 team party and ties/extra inning games could end up being the deciding factor. It would be really awful to have lost a game in the 14th inning, depleted of pitching and a position player comes in and gives up 3 runs, and have that be one of the defining losses to keep you out of the playoffs.
Ties would even out the late extra inning game losses where both teams played evenly up until one team beats up on the weakest bullpen link. It would add an extra level of strategy for how teams use their bullpen. Another positive would be spreading out bullpen/reliever appearances similar to starting pitchers and keeping their innings down and health up. Ultimately, the idea is to not mess with the integrity of the game and I believe adding ties, however unfulfilling as they may be to some, improve the integrity of the game over the long haul of the season.
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