Chelmsford, MA— The 2017 season for the Futures Collegiate Baseball League is set to be an historic one as Commissioner Chris Hall announced that the league will be the first in the country to adopt a home run derby format to decide extra-inning games. The new rule will take effect in regular season games that are tied after the 10th inning
“We wanted to make sure that we could come up with a way to protect our pitchers,” said Hall. “Each year, our teams struggle to find pitching that can last the whole summer due to the number of innings that each pitcher would have to throw. The ‘Derby’ will help alleviate the number of innings our pitchers will have to throw while reducing the pressure placed on our coaches in using pitchers on short rest.”
The change comes after a season in which the Futures League saw an historic level of extra-inning games. In 2016, there were 26 extra-inning games, of which 15 were longer than 10 innings. That number included a marathon 21-inning game between the North Shore Navigators and the Bristol Blues.
“Another key factor in making the change to a derby style tie-breaker is to ensure our games end at an appropriate time of night,” continued Hall. “Eliminating the possibility of marathon games will ensure our players can travel home at a safe time while providing our fans with an exciting finish that will entice more fans to stay until the end of the game.”
University of Oklahoma Head Coach, Pete Hughes, is a fan of the new format “I love this new format. However, I am not surprised. Commissioner Hall and the Futures League have the welfare of the student athlete and the fan experience at the forefront of every policy.” Coach Hughes added, “We can send our players out and know they will be protected, developed and have blast doing it! The Futures League and Commissioner Hall are on the cutting edge of amateur baseball.”
The new extra inning format is very similar to professional hockey. If the score is tied after the 10th inning, the game will be decided by a timed home run derby. Like hockey, the new extra inning rules will also be accompanied by a move to a point system that will be implemented to determine league standings. After ten innings of tied baseball, each team will automatically receive one point toward the league standings. The team that wins during the home run derby will receive an additional point (two points total) for the win.
“This new format will not only help alleviate the strain on our pitchers, but it will also become a tremendous source of excitement and entertainment for our fans,” concluded Hall.
The full rules of The Futures League Home Run Derby can be found on the Futures League website by clicking here. It is important to note that the new extra innings format will be in place for the regular season only— not for the playoffs.
The Futures League regular season runs from Thursday, June 1 through Sunday, August 6 and will be immediately followed by the Futures League playoffs. On July 18th, the Bristol Blues will host the 6th Annual Futures League All-Star Game at Historic Muzzy Field in Bristol, CT.