Morning Briefing: Jeff Samardzija has some points to make

Jeff Samardzija
(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

There were a few new baseball rules announced last week, causing some fans to complain that MLB was messing with tradition.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija doesn’t think the changes went far enough. He told that he would like to see extra innings abolished and for standings to be based on points (like in soccer), not wins and losses.

“I just think you can change to a point system,” Samardzija said. “I don’t think we need to play extra-inning games. You want to keep the game times down. Just end them in a tie. Everyone gets one point like in the Premier League. Winning gets three points and just end it at nine. We’re playing 162 games. Over that course of games, you should be able to tell who the best team is. It makes the ninth inning exciting all the time.

“And really, who wants to go out there and play 15 innings? The relievers don’t want it. The position players don’t want it. The managers don’t want it because then they’ve got to move rosters around the next day. Obviously, every game is important now with the extra wild card. I just think it keeps every game important again and just kind of eliminates some innings that a lot of guys don’t really want to play. But again, that’s a little wild for people, I think.”

His manager, Bruce Bochy, disagrees.

“I think some of the greatest games have been extra-inning games,” Bochy said. “Epic games. That’s, I think, part of baseball. I’m not into the tie deal. I want to play until we finish it.”

Put me in, coach

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield got a taste of major league baseball over the weekend, and he’s fine sticking with football.

Mayfield is friends with Milwaukee Brewers standout Christian Yelich, who invited him to spring training.

In the fourth inning of the Brewers’ split-squad spring game against Colorado on Saturday in Phoenix, Milwaukee third base coach Eddie Sedar gave Mayfield a batting helmet and told him to take over as first base coach. Mayfield said Sedar told him to “pay attention and watch out for guys ripping one down the line.”

Mayfield grabbed a hard-hit ball that ricocheted off the Brewers’ dugout in the fourth, then got out of the way of a line foul by Yelich in the sixth.

“I don’t know why they have it painted right there,” Mayfield said of the coach’s box. “It’s not regulation-size, and it’s too close. I’m looking over at Eddie at third base, and he’s in the outfield.”

Mayfield also took batting practice before the game.

“I thought he did great,” Yelich said. “It was a lot of fun. He’s got a pretty good swing.”

Brewers manager Craig Counsell was also impressed.

“He’s a professional athlete,” he said. “He looks like a ballplayer. We played a game [Friday] in batting practice, a points game, and he was in it until the final round. He acquitted himself very well defensively, offensively for sure. And in the clubhouse. He did a nice job.”

Judge not swayed

One of the changes MLB made is that it will award $1 million to the winner of the All-Star Home Run Derby. The thought is that having a large cash prize will encourage big-name players to enter. But it apparently won’t work on Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who told reporters: “The money doesn’t matter. For me, I did it once. I had a blast with it. But I’m more worried about winning games.”

Wish upon a star

After the Pistons beat the Lakers while LeBron James sat out, Detroit coach Dwane Casey was asked whether he wished his team had been able to face a Los Angeles squad that was closer to full strength.


“I wish we could play G League teams or high school teams,” Casey said.