The IBAF, the International Baseball Federation (doesn't IBF make more sense?), has started motions to change the rules of baseball for the Olympics.
Under their new system, if the game goes into the 11th inning, the team at bat will have the option of starting their lineup in any position, and having the two players ahead of that position in the lineup start on second and first base. For example, if these rules were intact, the Mets could have started the bottom of the 11th inning with Endy Chavez on second and Carlos Beltran on first, with Carlos Delgado at bat. They could have done the exact same thing in the 12th inning, and beyond. Now if MLB had that rule, I'm not sure if would have helped the Mets because they were a putrid 1-16 with runners in scoring position, but we will never know.
Anyway, I have a question that wasn't answered in the article: If those runners score, who are they charged to? Does it go to the pitcher that started the inning, even though he really didn't let them on? He would be getting screwed if he lets up one hit, and a run scores just because he was the unlucky bum to get tabbed for the 11th inning.
It's kind of like college football's overtime system, where you pretty much dare the other team to score by starting them on the opposing team's 25-yard line. One hit could easily score one, or two runs, as opposed to having to string together a few in a row, something the Mets simply could not do last night.
This new rules works in international baseball, but it would ruin marathon games in MLB. It might save pitchers, not forcing a guy to throw nearly 60 pitches in relief when his previous high was in the 30's (Aaron Heilman), but it would also destroy the marathon game. Games were it's the 17th or 18th inning and each team simply refuses to give up. Managers have to pull out every trick in the book to make the team work, and both teams go punch for punch, taking the game long into the night.
I love games like that, just like I loved last night's Mets game. Jerry Manuel and Tony La Russa were each managing their team full tilt, and the players were doing everything they could to try and score runs. Unfortunately, La Russa's team came through in the end, but due to the Mets tenacity and fight, I, like most Mets fans today, don't have that bitter taste of defeat in our mouths. The team battled long and hard, they just came out on the short end of the stick.
I support instant replay in MLB, but please, don't bring on this rule anywhere near America's pastime.