NY Sports Day
Matt Mankiewich

Karpin’s Korner: Win Without Scoring, ‘Board Watching, NYM Class Link

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Dodgers infielder Justin Turner has suggested an idea to complete a tie game without going into extended extra innings. Sound crazy? I have my own “crazy” idea.

Turner is proposing the use of a HR derby to decide the outcome. Turner’s idea is to play a tenth inning and if the game is still tied, then use a HR derby to decide the winner.

Turner said he goes to hockey games and actually enjoys “watching shootouts,” so that’s where his idea comes from. I agree with the cynics who say a HR derby would provide an edge for teams that were stacked with more power hitters than another club.

I’m an ol’ school traditionalist and I wouldn’t want to see this on a full time basis but MLB will need to be creative in a shortened season. It wouldn’t be blasphemy to try some innovative ideas, but only for 2020.

So while I’m staying at home and while we all deal with this health crisis, I came up with this “crazy” idea.

Turner’s plan calls for just a tenth inning and then the derby. I propose playing three innings and if the game is still tied, use a point system, where even if no runs are scored, a team can “win the inning” and win the game.

So how would a team “win the inning,” and win the game. You put a point value on reaching base. A walk or a single would be worth one point, a double would be two while a triple would be three points. A home run is an automatic run so points would not be awarded for a round tripper. Even if runs are scored, the point system could act as a tie breaker.

In a HR derby, pitching would become inconsequential. With my plan, you would still need to pitch and get outs.

Here’s how it would work. In the “so called” 13th inning, the visiting team gets a walk and a single but no runs. That would be worth two points. The home team gets a walk but fails to score a run as well. That’s one point for the home team so the visiting team would be declared the winner and the final score in the books would be a one run decision. You could have a walk off hit without a run being scored.

Imagine the top of the 13th and the visiting team goes out in order. The home team would only need a walk or a hit to win the game. Like Turner’s proposal, the idea is to keep the game from going to an extremely extended length of innings and time.

Of course, there would be logistical problems with some statistics that would need to be worked out (i.e. final scores and how they got there) but like I wrote earlier, this is only a “crazy” idea and maybe one that could provoke an educated and intelligent discussion.

If and when the season is played, there are likely to be some innovations.

If there’s one thing that has captured my fancy during these replays of classic baseball games, it’s hearing the out of town scores during the broadcasts. That made me think about my younger days, when I was scoreboard watching from the stands of the original Yankee Stadium.

When I used to go to games at the original Yankee Stadium in the 60’s and early 70’s, one of the fringe benefits was getting to monitor the out of town scores on that huge scoreboard in right centerfield. There was no internet, no “available at all times” score outlets that we could get from a smart phone.

The board had gone through a number of alterations by the time I started attending games. What I saw during my time was a scoreboard that was made up of four columns.

From left to right, the first column was horizontal with a top and a bottom. At the top was the actual linescore. After Runs Hits Errors was a “1G” that was used to designate the score of the first game of a doubleheader while the nitecap was in progress. The bottom line featured the lineups with the visitors on top and the Yankees lineup right below. The players’ positions were listed below their numbers

The second column was vertical from top to bottom, broken down into three parts. At the top portion was the Yankees’ logo. Below that was the upcoming home schedule, and at the bottom was a digital message board where stats and other announcements were displayed.

The two columns on the right showed the American League and National League scores. The innings were shown to the left of the team’s names, which were usually displayed in red lettering. Then, the score and the respective pitcher’s number.

I don’t know how many times I was “scoreboard watching” during any particular game but it was a lot and it was one of the joys of actually being at the game.

From the 1920’s through the mid-1960’s, the Yankees had a “link” of impactful players. It began with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, In the late 1930’s, it was Joe DiMaggio’s time until Mickey Mantle’s era beginning in 1951. That “link” spanned over 40 years. Except for Ruth, all those other players were homegrown.

A “link” has begun with the Mets and it started with David Wright. David was one of the top players in Mets franchise history, not to mention one of the classiest. His last year was 2018. Now comes Pete Alonso, another homegrown player, who, in 2019 showed he’s the next “link” in the “chain.” Last year’s NL Rookie of the Year displays the same classy demeanor as the Mets former third-baseman.

Alonso looks like he has the goods to become the next franchise player in Mets history and he’s just as classy as Wright was. Alonso has already captivated the Mets’ fan base with his on-field achievements and his class by reaching out to Mets’ fans during the Corona Virus pandemic.

Wright helped the Mets reach the post season two of the three times (Wright was injured in 2016) that they qualified, including a National League Pennant and a home run in game 3 of the 2015 World Series. Alonso is just getting started and has a chance to challenge Wright’s career marks. Like Wright, Alonso’s individual numbers are not what motivates him. Like Wright, who came up short in his quest, Alonso wants to play on a World Championship team.

Speaking of class, kudos to Yankee pitcher Gerrit Cole and his wife, Amy. The 29-year old righthander has not even thrown a pitch in a Yankee uniform and he’s already giving back to the community.

The couple is using their Foundation (The Gerrit and Amy Cole Foundation) to donate (“a significant investment”) to Direct Relief, a non profit organization that provides “personal protective equipment and essential medical items to health workers” who are heroically battling COVID-19.

A very heartfelt welcome to New York. We’ve got some “good eggs” on the Mets and Yankees. Hopefully, we get to watch them do their thing.

STAY SAFE

Karpin’s Korner appears every Friday on nysportsday.com


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