What's next, a TV time out?
Extra innings during Beijing Olympic baseball games will have something extra.
The rules will stay the same for the first 10 innings, but if a contest stretches into an 11th inning, each team would begin its next at-bat with runners on first and second. Managers also will be allowed to start the 11th at any point in their batting order.
Here's how it would work, according to the Associated Press: A manager who chooses to lead off the 11th with the club's No. 3 hitter would have to put the No. 1 batter on second base and the No. 2 hitter on first. If there's a 12th inning, it would begin wherever the previous lineup left off -- again with two batters on base and one at the plate.
The changes announced Friday by the International Baseball Federation will go into effect in time for the Beijing Games that begin on Aug. 8.
The changes were made to save time, said federation President Harvey Schiller: "We must demonstrate to the International Olympic Committee [that] not only does our game belong alongside the other great sports of the world, but our sport is manageable from a television and operational standpoint.”
AP reports that USA Baseball executive director Paul Seiler initially opposed the change, but he gradually came around.
"The traditionalist in me says, 'no way,' " Seiler said. "But you know, in the Olympics, where you have [a] finite amount of time to get your program finished [and] the early game goes 15, 16, 17 innings, then what does that do? Television is affected, transportation is affected — a lot of logistical things that we don’t have to worry about on a Friday night in Durham. It’s a domino" effect.
-- Greg Johnson
Photo: The Beijing Wukesong Sports Center Baseball Field and the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium are ready for the Games. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images