Podcast: SUDDEN DEATH and other new baseball rule ideas

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The Frontier League is introducing SUDDEN DEATH extra-inning rules in 2022. Enter the 11th inning (or 9th inning of a 7-inning game); the home team manager will get to pick if his team will play on offense or defense. If the offensive team scores, they win the game. If the defensive team holds, they win the game.

It’s a crazy idea, but it intrigues Josh and Jim to see if it would work better in MLB than in Independent Leagues. They also receive new rule ideas from the audience and judge which changes they like best.

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I really like BeefLoaf’s roster proposal. It would have to be Dodger-proofed to prevent day-to-day manipulations the way Andrew Friedman’s teams use the injured list.

How about this? Every Monday by 11:59am Eastern, each team submits to the league office the list of ten eligible pitchers they will use for the next seven days.

Yes, only ten eligible pitchers. If anything will divert baseball from compelling its pitchers to throw harder and harder for shorter periods, it’s mandating that a smaller number of pitchers throws more innings. If you set your roster on a Monday and have two pitcher injuries by the end of Tuesday night, you had better be able to have a serious innings-eater or two on your roster. This mandate would incentivize having someone like Bueherle or Moyer, and could well lead to a development push for knuckleballers across the game.

Limiting the pitcher roster to ten would also expand the benches. Want a Manny Mota-type pinch hitter? You can have one from each side of the plate. Billy Hamilton could play 20 seasons as a pinch-runner without clubs worrying about sacrificing a utility infielder. (And good-fielding utility infielders would probably be more important if soft-tossing pitchers became more common.)

The obvious downside is the potential for injuries at the start of implementing the roster rule. What other consequences might it have?

Last edited 2 years ago by asinwreck

Would they adjust the rules for pitchers to go up and down from AAA to MLB? The 2 or 3 pitchers that would normally be on the MLB roster would need to be able to pitch in games for developmental purposes.


The ten could come from the 40-man roster, which would make shuttling a handful up and down possible. Either the option rules could be adjusted, or this rule could incentivize having more journeymen who are older on each roster.

Joliet Orange Sox
  1. I’m surprised you chose the Schaumburg Boomers as the example of a local Frontier League team when the Joliet Slammers and Windy City Thunderbolts both seem to be more in the Sox fandom footprint. I’ve been to several Slammers games based on going every time one of my kids was in a band playing the national anthem before the game.
  2. I envy Jim his traffic warning luck. My first speeding ticket in the 1980’s was in Maine for going 61 mph when the speed limit was 55 mph.
  3. My serious question is about annual vs. monthly support for Patreon. I have left my support at monthly since I figured that if I switched to annual and saved 9% that Sox Machine would get 9% less and my goal in doing the Patreon support was to give Sox Machine money to keep up the good work. However, every podcast seems to end with a plug for annual support. Am I missing something and Jim and Josh would benefit from me switching my monthly support to annual support even though I’d give less money?

I’ve had the same question on annual vs monthly pricing. I’ve stuck with monthly for the same reason you have, but wouldn’t have any problem changing to annual either.

Jim Margalus

Copying and pasting my answer from another thread:

In theory, we benefit more from monthly plans for the reason you mention. If everybody supported us annually, we’d be receiving 9 percent less.

In practice, there are advantages to us offering annual plans. If a monthly supporter’s credit card expires or is otherwise taken out of circulation, then that’s counted as a lost supporter after the next billing cycle. Some (most?) people update their information and pick up where they left off, but others may decide it’s an opportunity to try doing without. As a result, we’re not guaranteed to receive 100 percent of an intended 12 months of support for one reason or another.

The idea/hope is that one month free generates additional enthusiasm to somebody on the fence, and the one easy payment, even discounted, offsets the unintended gaps/drops over the course of a 12-month period. It’s been beneficial to us so far. The test will be when the annual payments come up for renewal later this year.

The model is reliant on support big and small, so all levels help, and we’re especially honored by those who support us with this kind of intent. Hopefully we’ll continue to make it worth your while!


I believe I was the one that brought up the idea of multiple bases after the first hit by pitch to a player or team. I can’t seem to find where my comment was though.

I did like the idea of all runners moving up a base on a hit by pitch. That would make an HBP with first base open less of a “free” mistake. That also makes me wonder if HBPs are more frequent with bases open. Bases loaded HBPs would seem to show whatever the floor is for frequency of HBPs, as there are few times when that would be used to send a message.