Stopping Blowout Wins in Baseball

baseball blowout

This year more than any other than I can remember, we’re seeing more and more blowout college baseball games. I’m not talking 8 to 10 runs, I’m talking 18-20 run landslide victories. I’m not sure why this is, maybe I’ve just been paying more attention this year than I have in others. Either way, I think it’s a problem.

Baseball is not a sport where you can let up in the case of a blowout game. In football, teams can stick to running the clock out. In basketball, teams can use the entire shot clock, and settle for jump shots. Baseball doesn’t have a clock. It’s 27 outs of batter vs pitcher. Each team gets at least 27 chances no matter what. In the case of a blowout, there’s really no way to speed up the game. You’re not going to tell a hitter to give himself up, or bunt. Sometimes teams just have those days where they hit everything in sight. On the contrary, some teams also have days where their pitchers are throwing beach balls.

20 run victories are a problem for many reasons. Nobody on either side of the diamond wants to participate in one of these. Not the winning team, the losing team, the umpires, the fans, or even the coaches. You can learn a lot from a 3-2 loss, but virtually nothing is learned in a 20 run landslide in my opinion.

How do we fix it?

Simple. Maybe lower levels of baseball have a run rule, or a mercy rule. Now I’m not suggesting implementing one of these for the same reason they have it in Little League, to prevent hurt feelings, but to move the game along. Teams are playing 50 game seasons in college, and 162 game seasons in Major League Baseball. Nobody is missing out on an experience by cutting a blowout game short after 7 innings.

If you look at the numbers, in the MLB, a team leading by 8 runs after the 7th inning virtually NEVER LOSES. I’m talking like 1 in 300 chances. I’m all for shortening the length of baseball games to appeal to the masses, but only in ways that don’t change the game. I think we’re safe here. Save arms and save all 50 players from injury. Let’s cut these games short. At least starting with college ball where we all know there are mismatches that can get ugly.