Team Japan won a very convincing 14-2 victory over Team Korea in the first game of WBC action today [March 7, 2009] at 5:00 a.m. ET, before an overflowing sold out crowd at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.
The crowd was really into this game, as Japan took a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first; and, then, Korea battled back with two runs in the bottom of the inning to cut Japan’s lead to 3-2.
But, Japan broke the game wide open in the top of the 2nd inning, scoring five runs, giving them an 8-2 lead. Korea still had eight innings to make a comeback in this game, or did they?
Well, this is the World Baseball Classic, and for some reason the rules of our great American Pastime have been changed to include a “so-called” Mercy Rule that states …
If a team is ahead by at least 10 runs after seven innings, that team is declared the winner, and the game is “over”.
Even better, if a team is fortunate enough to score at least 15 runs in the first five innings of a game, then, the game is stopped at that point, and that team is declared the winner.
Now, this may sound merciful to some, but as our great American philosopher, Yogi Berra, once said, “the game ain’t over, ’till it’s over”.
Baseball is the perfect game because it is not limited by “time” or a “time clock”.
Theoretically, a baseball game can be played for an infinitive amount of time, into infinity.
The rules of the game state: Two teams play for nine innings each. A winner is declared when one team scores more runs the other team over nine innings of play; and, also, gets the other team “out” 27 times [of course, unless there is a rain-out, in which the team leading the game after five innings is declared the winner. I am also opposed to this rule, as I think the game should be resumed at the point of the rain delay the next time both these teams play].
Anyway, in the World Baseball Classic, a five inning victory means the winning team will only record 15 outs in their win; and, in a seven inning victory, only 21 outs are recorded by the winning team.
The point of all my annoyance with the”Mercy Rule” is, I think the whole spirit of the game of baseball is ruined.
Baseball is a game of dreams and hope and redemption. The possibility of any team making a comeback, in any game that they are behind in, by any amount of runs, is one of the many fun things about our great American game of Baseball. There is always “hope” that our team will win every game it plays, even when the score may look out of reach.
Down by three runs or five runs or seven runs or ten runs or twelve or more runs. What difference does it make?
As long as our team has the full 27 outs to out-score the opposing team, there is always hope.
It is unmerciful to deny any team all of its 27 outs in a baseball game.
And, it is unmerciful to deny the fans of any team, “hope”; and, the chance of seeing its team make an exciting comeback and win the game — no matter how many runs their favorite team may be behind.
The game of baseball is not dictated by “time”; and, it should not be dictated by rule changes, that change that way the game is played.
Just ask Yogi Berra.
— Jimmy Curran, “Baseball, The Yankees, and Life”