The big follow-up story coming out of last night’s absurdly entertaining Chiefs-Bills NFL playoff game was the way it ended: the NFL’s overtime rules are kinda funky (the first team to score wins unless it’s on the very first drive, unless-unless the first drive results in a touchdown), and in a crazy game like that, you kinda don’t want to see a team walk it off without the other team even getting the ball once in overtime. The flip side is that, strictly speaking, it isn’t that the Bills didn’t get a chance AT ALL – they could still play defense, right? – so it wasn’t like the coin flip fully and completely determined the outcome.
• I mention that all at the top not only because it’s fresh on the minds of sporting folks, but also because it got me thinking about MLB’s adjustments to its own “overtime.” Say what you will about whether you like the free runner or not, but at least it inarguably applies equally to each team. The only difference comes not from the rule, but from which team is at home (they get the benefit of knowing, in advance, how many runs they would need to score to win or tie, and their strategy might change accordingly). And that difference exists in regulation, too. No coin flips necessary. I don’t hate the NFL’s rules, but I do think MLB probably has the better of this one.
• I’ve been pretty transparent that I was not at all about the runner-on-second rule for extra innings … until I saw it in action. When I realized that it wasn’t just going to be a constant string of bunts and sac flies, and the artificially-generated excitement actually did work for me, then I was on board. I am open to folks who want to debate whether it should kick right in for the 10th inning or should be delayed for the 11th or later. But I think I’m pretty much closed on this being a good idea at some point in extra-innings. It is. There’s not really a reason to treat “overtime” as the same as the regular part of the game – the whole point is that you had the full regulation, you played a normal game, and there was no winner. So now you’re in the “extra” part, which is already not normal. Why pretend like it’s exactly the same as the rest of the full, regular game?
• Now we just wait to see whether that rule is continued in the new CBA. We know that rules talk is pretty much not on the table at the moment, and while that makes me dubious that major changes (pitch clock, shifting limits, robo umps, etc.) will be in place for the 2022 season, I still think the ones that we’ve seen before in the last couple seasons – DH in the NL, seven-inning double-headers, and free-runner-on-second – could be settled pretty quickly and easily in Spring Training. I would tentatively bank on all three of those being in place for 2022.
• That connects, by the way, to the other big story coming out of last night for me: while the NFL was staging one of the most entertaining games in recent memory, MLB was … sitting on a lockout. It’s embarrassing, and it could not have been more thoroughly underscored than it was last night. The players are expected to present a counter-offer today in the CBA talks, and here’s hoping the owners are listening with an open mind, Chiefs-Bills fresh in their thoughts.
• Hall of Fame voting will be revealed tomorrow, and it’s looking like it’ll either be David Ortiz or no one (again).
• Noise-cancelling headphones, soaps and shower gels, surge protectors, battery backups, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• The Brewers have lost a lot of front office and coaching talent this offseason, but now they have a reinforcement:
Former Phillies GM Matt Klentak is joining the Brewers as a special assistant, sources tell me and @MattGelb. The Phillies reassigned Klentak to a position as strategy and development officer after he stepped down as GM in Oct. 2020. Had one year left on his deal with the Phils.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 24, 2022
• I cannot speak to Klentak’s ability as a special assistant, but his time as GM of the Phillies was wildly disappointing. Maybe this will be a better fit for the long-time MLB exec.
• That’s just using your posterior wisely:
Finish in a fielding position. 😎 pic.twitter.com/uzpVn02kt2
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) January 23, 2022
• It doesn’t take much for a fanatic to be completely done with a rival organization, so it’s not like it’s some grand pronouncement, but … I am DONE with the Bucks forever:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 24, 2022