Is Major League Baseball Only Playing 7 Innings?

5 January 2022

Major league baseball had to ensure the safety of the players and the crowd that was gathered around to watch the game during the pandemic last year. So they made a few changes in the rules to make sure that the game ends faster than regular. They had to take these measures due to COVID.

One of the rules that major league baseball changed was to shorten baseball 9 innings to baseball 7 innings apiece. Including this, extra innings will have a free runner on the second base. All this was done to shorten the time of the game to a minimum.

Was the new rule temporary?

The rules changed by major league baseball to shorten the game seems to have continued in 2021. But baseball’s 7 innings rule is liked to get replaced in the coming future and COVID is not a matter of concern. Soon baseball 7 innings will be replaced by the same old 9 innings rule. Also, the free runner rule that was implemented with the 7 innings rule will get replaced in the coming future. These rules were only implemented because of the pandemic and we won’t be seeing them again.

The major league baseball commissioner Rob Manfred came out and talked about the future of these new rules that were implemented during the pandemic. He told that this was just a temporary stop to ensure safety during the pandemic and these rules won’t be the part of baseball major league in the coming future. So, baseball 7 innings and free runners were just temporary solutions for the pandemic, nothing more than that.

Was this rule getting popular among fans?

These rules that major league baseball implemented were not liked by most of the fans and they were looking forward to when the game would return to its old glory. After finding out that these rules were just temporarily placed precaution for the ongoing pandemic and won’t be permanent, most of the fans, eager to see the game with the old settings are excited by this news.

It was clear that the baseball 7 innings and free runner rules were not liked by most of the fans who had a habit of watching the game with old rules. The changing of the rules changed the setting a game had, it changes the entire nature of the sport. Shortening baseball to 7 innings brings down the use of true starters and the need for a middle relief crew. Extra innings used to make the game more dramatic but that was interesting to watch, that was what the fans loved. Cutting down and making the game shorter ( although it was for a good reason) changed the complexities of the game.

Changes the new rules brought

The new rules that were implemented during the pandemic brought many changes in-game and scoreboard. Due to the free runner rule, the games were shortened to a great extent. Seventy-seven games with extra innings held that were implementing 7 innings rule. Out of which 44 ended just after one inning. This is a 75 percent mark which was 45 percent in 2018-19.

Not only that but 92 percent of games ended that went to the second extra frame, which was just 69 percent in the earlier seasons. Therefore we can say that these rules that were implemented did manage to make the games shorter which was a great need in the pandemic.


Now that the pandemic is brought under control and everything seems to be getting back into its original form, slowly but steadily, it is time that major league baseball brings back the old rules that makes baseball what it is. All the measures that were taken in the pandemic to shorten the game can be understood. The health of the players should be the number one priority, but now that things are in control maybe it is time to bring back the glory of baseball.

When the rules change, the ways and forms dictating sport change. The strategies, the players, the positions, etc. Have to be calibrated again and again. The fans eagerly wait for the older game to come back so that they can watch it again with the same excitement that they use to.