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Manfred rules out a rule to shorten postseason games

Manfred rules out a rule to shorten postseason games
Rob Manfred

On the day after the longest postseason game in major league history, Commissioner Rob Manfred said he had no intention of introducing any rule designed to shorten playoff games.

The Dodgers and Boston Red Sox played for 18 innings, seven hours and 20 minutes in Game 3 of the World Series. The game ended at 12:30 a.m. in Los Angeles — and 3:30 a.m. in Boston.

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It would be nearly impossible for a minor league game to last that long anymore. Under rules adopted for the minor leagues this season, any extra inning starts with a runner on second base.

“Even if you were going to think about a rule change like that, I don’t think you’d want to do it in the World Series,” Manfred said Saturday at Dodger Stadium. “There’s a long tradition of playing your games out in the World Series, and I think that’s a tradition we should respect.”

Manfred dismissed the notion that the league should consider ways to shorten postseason games simply because Game 3 lasted longer than any previous postseason game. “It’s one game,” he said.

Manfred said he would favor extending the extra-inning rule from the minors to the majors for regular-season games, but he said the change would need to be approved by the players’ union and in any case “is not under active consideration.”

Dodgers utilityman Kyle Farmer, who played most of this season at triple-A Oklahoma City, said he likes the rule and would encourage its adoption in the major leagues — maybe not after nine innings, he said, but after 14 innings.

The game might lose the romance of playing all night, Farmer said, but it would add a dramatic strategic wrinkle. In the minor leagues, he said, the visiting team has to decide whether to play for one run (bunt the runner to third, then drive him in), because then the home team could score twice and win.

Steve Garvey, the Dodgers’ 10-time All-Star first baseman, said the gimmick does not belong in the majors.

“I don’t mind tinkering to speed up some things,” Garvey said Saturday at Dodger Stadium. “You can put a clock for 20 seconds between pitches, or two minutes between innings, but once the game is actually in motion and the ball is in play, it is what it is.

“The clock doesn’t run out. That’s the charm of this game.”

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