There has been much written about home field advantage and strategy when it comes to the Wild Card play-in game. There are some very good articles on this very site, in fact. And while the addition of the second Wild Card team allows us to sit in the dark and contemplate a few more strategies and what-ifs, I shoot for quality over quantity. It’s not how many situations you have to consider, it’s how stupid-crazy those situations are.
That being said, here are four situations from which the owner of home field advantage SHOULD be allowed to choose.
IF YOU WIN HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE FOR THE WILD CARD GAME:
- You can choose to play the game as-is. A traditional, meat and potatoes baseball game.
- You can play a sudden-death game (i.e., if any team is leading after the bottom of ANY inning, they win). However:
- Your entire roster must consist entirely of pitchers (that is, players that have pitched a minimum of, say, five big-league innings this season).
- You can pinch hit a regular position player if you wish, but if you do, you lose a defensive player (the pitchers playing the field), and that pinch hitter cannot play defense in the next inning. The lost defensive player is never gained back.
- You get to have four outfielders. One of them does not get to hit.
- You can play a regular nine-inning game, however:
- You are allowed to bat any player as many times as you want. If the Pirates want Andrew McCutchen to bat twice in the lineup, they can choose to do that. BUT…
- For every extra at-bat a player gets, he has to make up for it by pitching the following inning. Three outs, no exceptions. To avoid tomfoolery, this rule is negated in the ninth inning, unless the player banked an extra inning pitched prior to the ninth.
- If the game goes extra innings, and a team hasn’t employed this rule yet, they get to designate an “all-time batter” for an inning. If the Reds go nine innings without using the loophole, they can bat Joey Votto three times in a row, allowing for pinch runners should the first or second trip allow him to reach base.
- Another sudden-death type game, but
- The first team to hit for the cycle (as a team) is the winner.
- If a team accomplishes this in the top of an inning, the home team has a chance to counter in the following half-inning. If they succeed, then the sudden-death rules switch to traditional scoring, not unlike situation 2.
If a video game company wants to shake up the “same game, updated rosters” routine they’ve seem to fallen in lately, this would be a good start — being able to pick different rules, roster limits, etc. Silly? Yes. Something to ponder while waiting for the postseason to start? Sure.