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Seven-Inning Doubleheaders and Automatic-Runner Extra Innings Are the Surprise Glories of the MLB Season

The more I watch and listen, the more fond I am of the seven-inning double-headers (two games, both under three hours, and the crucial late-innings come earlier) and automatic-runner extra innings, which put an accent on strategy (are you bunting, trying to hit a ground ball to the right side, or swinging away as usual?). I think of the automatic runner as comparable to three-on-three overtime in the NHL — gimmicky but enjoyable, and it can always be abandoned in the postseason for a purer way of settling games. Such has been the success of these experiments that Joel Sherman of the New York Post is floating an idea for a 174-game season, with seven-inning doubleheaders and eight-inning games.

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