(ATR) The World Baseball/Softball Confederation (WBSC) president explains the reasons for the "revolutionary" measure to reduce nine-inning international games in all baseball categories to seven innings.
Riccardo Fraccari met with IOC President Thomas Bach on Feb. 27 to discuss future of baseball/softball (WBSC)
"Our goal is to globalize this sport and that is why we take this measure. So far everyone is excited. It will be favorable for the permanence of this sport in the Olympic Games because quotas are a problem, and now fewer athletes will be needed," Riccardo Fraccari told reporters during a visit to Havana.
He said that the slowest part of games occurs between the seventh and ninth innings, so that new rule will also cut the length of games by at least an hour.
While opponents of shortening the games to seven innings say it will detract from the essence of baseball, the truth is the sport needs to change in order to stay relevant at a time when the world of sport is becoming more and more dynamic.
Baseball is in a minority among sports in that you know what time a game begins but never when it ends.
He said that the measure to reduce the games to seven innings, approved in January, will be adopted after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic tournament.
The WBSC implemented the seven-inning rule at the Women's Baseball World Cup in Viera, Florida, last August.
Women's Baseball World Cup games in August were seven innings (WBSC)
During that event, the WBSC underwent other modifications such as the use of video replay for managers' challenges to umpire rulings, the 12-second time limit between pitches and 90 seconds between innings. In addition, no pitches were necessary for an intentional base on balls.
Major League Baseball in the United States has installed some measures to shorten the length of the games but the reduction of innings seems unthinkable for the MLB at present.
Playing seven innings modifies tactics and strategy so the decision could result in the national federations also adopting the measure in their local championships.
For its Olympic reappearance in Tokyo, the WBSC also proposed the design of a short, five-day tournament as a way to comply with the IOC on the reduction of athlete quotas that is limiting the event to six teams.
On the exclusion of baseball from the Olympic Games in Paris 2024, Fraccari said that in Tokyo the additional athletes quota is 500 but for Paris only about 100, which negatively affected the team sports.
"Even stronger than the exclusion of baseball was that of karate, in which France is a world power," he said.
Written by Miguel Hernandez
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