Current Problems Ignored By MLB Officials In a very clear way, the 2018 All-Star game in Washington D.C. last week was representative of the current state of the sport of baseball. The ten home runs hit set an all time record for the Midsummer Classic, almost two times as many as the previous high of six. That long ball manufacturing is indicative of the season, which is on pace to see more home runs than any other year in baseball’s long history. That statistic is not the only record which will be eclipsed in 2018, and the All-Star game reflected that as well. Players are striking out twenty five percent of their time today, a frequency which will lead to a record amount of strikeouts in 2018. It came as no surprise then that the pitchers in the Midsummer Classic fanned twenty five batters in total. As that highly encouraged contest highlighted the game’s reliance on the homerun and the attack out, it was another game a week before that served as a microcosm of some of baseball’s most important problems. Commissioner Rob Manfred and the officials around the game would rather ignore that match, which would be simple to do considering how few people actually saw it. The Tampa Bay Rays played the Marlins in Miami on July Third, an intrastate battle that should have generated all types of excitement in the home of Spring Training and three pennants. The game itself went sixteen innings, dragged on nearly six hours, and featured forty four different batters between the two clubs. Eighteen unique pitchers took the mound, in addition to the three others who were called on to pinch hit and or perform a position at some point during the Sunshine State Bore-a-thon. When it finally ended, an estimated two hundred fans remained in the chairs. A better present for them, and most other baseball fans, are for the sport to accommodate the extra innings rule started in the Minors this season. If tied after nine innings, each team begins the extra frame with a runner on second. That situation would practically guarantee that a match would be decided long before the innings it took before Tampa Bay finally beat Miami. Besides reinforcing the fact that games are too long, that night also exposed another dilemma that plagues the sport. It has to induce the National League to adopt the designated hitter rule. Since they were playing at Miami, the Rays had to allow their pitchers to strike. This stipulation might not be a new issue for the starting pitchers, that have been accustomed to getting at least one plate appearance in an inter league game on the road. However, having to bat poses a real problem for the multitude of relievers on the staff, for most of them never swing a club all season. What can happen when they are forced into such a function, is exactly what happened to some Tampa reliever that night. Left hander Vidal Nuna injured a hamstring while running to first base after hitting a grounder, causing him to be put on the ten day disabled list. The injury would not have happened had baseball enforced a universal DH rule, and it also might have been avoided had the extra innings rule been used in the Big League level instead of just the Minors.