It became clear a couple of years ago that Major League Baseball and its commissioner, Rob Manfred, were working toward an inevitable introduction of weird extra-innings rules, and in this space we were pretty harsh to it. "The runner-on-second-with-nobody-out fix is just about the most boring idea to end games you could think of," we wrote.
It took only five games, covering six extra innings, to see how wrong I was. The new rules, introduced temporarily for this anomalous season, work. Rather than force routinized late-game strategies, putting a runner on second base to start each half-inning has created more variety. The most exciting baseball played this week has come in those six innings, which -- in a mere two hours of total baseball! -- included:
A walk-off grand slam.
A rare 3-5 fielder's choice to cut down a go-ahead run.
A rookie doubling home a run on the first pitch of his big league career.
Just one sacrifice bunt.
One strikeout in the attempting of a sacrifice bunt.
A go-ahead runner caught stealing third -- and that call then being overturned.
Home run champ Pete Alonso batting as the tying run, down by three runs.
A pickle involving Shohei Ohtani as the possible go-ahead run.
Two wild pitches that moved the winning run to third base (and two game-saving blocks on impossible-to-block pitches).
Two hit batsmen.