After the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokio, when baseball will be part of the Olympic program, baseball games in international tournaments will last seven innings instead of the nine we are used to. President of the WBSC, Riccardo Fraccari presented that idea during a visit to the Cuban capital Havanna.
With this draconian move, Fraccari wants to please the International Olympic Committee in an attempt to make baseball an Olympic sport again. By playing seven innings the games will last about an hour less so it will fit better into the schedule of the Olympic Games. The attempt to get baseball back at the program of the Olympics is laudable but to cut the game by two innings is ridiculous. Sure MLB is also experimenting to make the game go quicker, but at least that body is not touching the number of innings and making a kind of softball game of it.
Another reason for the idiotic move is to make games more dynamic. In this way, the power differential between teams is getting smaller, which makes games more attractive according to Fraccari. Making the game more attractive….? By doing this, you favor the weaker teams. If Fraccari really thinks that is good for the game, you can wonder why he is still the president of the WBSC. If he really thinks that fewer innings will make games more attractive because the weaker teams and the stronger teams will be more evenly matched, perhaps he should look to the World Cup Baseball for ladies. The games in that tournament last seven innings and still the weaker teams are beaten up by the stronger ones. Likewise with U16 tournaments.
In January of this year, the WBSC announced similar rules for the U23 World Cup. We could not have imagined that this idiocy would even get a step further.
If this is the cost of getting the sport back to the Olympics, I rather see that baseball isn’t an Olympic sport at all. If you want to get more attention, just promote the sport instead of mutilating it, Mr. Fraccari. Baseball was made to be played in nine innings. If people do not like it the way it is played, they are not fit to be a baseball fan.
And as you claim you have received mostly positive comments regarding these plans, I really wonder who made them. Perhaps those yes-men in the WBSC itself? I thnk it is time the WBSC gets a new president, someone who cares about the sport instead of ruining it.