It wasn't all that long ago that MLB and the MLBPA agreed to make seven-inning doubleheaders and second-base runners to start extra innings part of the 2021 season.
Now, commissioner Rob Manfred says the new rules don't have a lasting future in the league.
Rob Manfred tells the BBWAA: “I don’t think 7-inning doubleheaders are going to be part of our future going forward.”— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) July 13, 2021
Manfred also said the runner-on-second in extra innings rule is also much less likely to become a long-term rule post-pandemic.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 13, 2021
Both rules were introduced ahead of the truncated 2020 season as the league tried to get games in at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The "runner-on-second to start extra innings" rule was put in place to help make games shorter, while the doubleheader idea was put into place to help schedule makeup games.
As the Associated Press pointed out back in February, the new rules resulted in only two games not being made up due to COVID and cut down on how long extra-innings games went. Some players and coaches were quoted as liking the rules enough in 2020 to want them back in the fold this season.
While the elimination of the doubleheader rule makes some sense for post-pandemic baseball, the elimination of the second-base rule — especially at a time when the MLB is still trying to make games shorter — isn't readily clear.
This isn't the first time this season Manfred has set out to change up the rules of the game. Just last month, the league started cracking down on pitchers using foreign substances to help them grip the baseball better.