Minor league extra-innings rule has helped shorten games

On the second day of the major league baseball season, the Chicago Cubs beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 in 17 innings. The teams combined to use 14 pitchers, and the game took 5 hours, 18 minutes to complete.

Minor league baseball has taken steps to make marathon games of that nature obsolete.

In March, the major and minor leagues combined to announce a new rule throughout the minors: Starting with the 10th inning, a runner would be cheap jerseys stationed on second base to begin each inning. While controversial at the outset, the rule has been warmly received by many fans and club personnel. Amid widespread skepticism that it could ever translate to the big leagues, the positive response has exceeded the expectations of even its most ardent supporters.

Statistics have shown the change is having its desired effect:

Through July 1, only eight minor league games this season have lasted 12 innings or more. During the 2016 season, 183 games lasted that long. In 2017, 162 games went 12 innings or more.

A total of 71 percent of extra-inning games have ended in the 10th inning this season. In 2017, 49 percent of games ended in the 10th.

Minor league extra-inning games are ending 28 minutes later than the average nine-inning game. That’s down from 45 minutes in 2016 and 43 minutes last season.

As Davison points out, Doctson hasn’t had a 100-yard receiving game, and he hasn’t caught more than four passes in any one game. He had 502 receiving yards last season, with a single-game high of 81 yards, against the Saints.

But 2017 was still definitely better than 2016, given that he appeared in only two games as a rookie. Last year, Doctson appeared in all 16 games, with 14 starts. And he’s hoping for a fresh start with new quarterback Alex Smith.

It’s been amazing, Doctson said regarding working with Smith. It’s been fun. It’s just been a fun OTAs and minicamp. I’ve been there for two years, but this year stands out to me much more than the previous two just because I’m getting older and moving toward the veteran group. And just the guys, the chemistry with both offense and defense, we compete our butts off every day.

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