New doubleheader rule
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New doubleheader rule is official: games will be seven innings long

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It’s official: baseball has a new doubleheader rule for whatever is left of the 2020 season: games in twin bills will be seven innings long.

That rule, hinted at yesterday, was formally announced by Major League Baseball a few minutes ago. In the release, the league noted the necessity of the rule, saying, “[g]iven the frequency of doubleheaders, the effects of doubleheaders on rosters, and the need to reschedule games due to dynamic circumstances, both the Clubs and the Players have determined that this step promotes player health and safety.”

“Dynamic circumstances” is one heck of a euphemism for “a pandemic which has wreaked havoc on our schedule and has us at its mercy,” but I suppose MLB has PR people on staff whose job it is to soften such things.

The new doubleheader rule reads as follows:

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in Official Baseball Rule 7.01(a) (“Regulation Games”), a regulation game in both games of a double-header shall consist of seven innings, unless extended because of a tie score.  In this respect, the “Extra Innings” rule contained in Section 5.1.2 of the 2020 Operations Manual shall apply to each half-inning following the completion of the seventh inning. 

 Please note that OBR 7.01(c) shall still apply, such that if a game is called, it is a regulation game (1) if five innings have been completed; (2) if the home team has scored more runs in four or four and a fraction half-innings than the visiting team has scored in five completed half-innings; or (3) if the home team scores one or more runs in its half of the fifth inning to tie the score. 

Given recent disruptions in the schedule, some teams are looking at playing a handful of doubleheaders throughout the season to make up for lost time. Reducing the length of doubleheaders to seven innings would put less strain on pitchers and wouldn’t require as much roster preparation. Most importantly, during a pandemic, this would reduce the total amount of time players spend in enclosed areas like clubhouses where COVID-19 is more easily spread.

Hey, it’s 2020. Nothing is normal. Why should doubleheaders be spared?

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”