An All-Star Game tie would be decided by a home run derby


Major League Baseball will employ a novel technique to end Tuesday night’s All-Star Game if the score is tied after nine innings: The game will swivel to a home run derby to supply a (hopefully) quick resolution.

Managers Dusty Baker of the American League and Brian Snitker of the National League have chosen their derby “lineups,” just in case. Three players from each side would take three swings apiece to determine the winner, a process that caught some players by surprise.

“That would actually happen?” New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton said (via the Associated Press). “This is news to me.”

Snitker, the manager of the defending champion Atlanta Braves, chose the New York Mets’ Pete Alonso, the Braves’ Ronald Acuña Jr. and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber. Baker, of the Houston Astros, chose the Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez and Ty France as well as the Astros’ Kyle Tucker. Rodriguez blasted 63 home runs in the first two rounds of Monday’s Home Run Derby but lost to the Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto, who hit 19 homers to Rodriguez’s 18 in the finals.

“I’ll be your guy,” Alonso said (via the AP) he told Snitker when the manager called to see if he would be willing to give it a go. Like Stanton, he was unaware of the format. “I think it’s fun. I think it’s going to be a great event if that does happen.”

The Midsummer Classic has gone to extra innings 13 times since its inception in 1933. The previous two times it happened, the game lasted 10 innings — in 2017 in Miami and in 2018 in Washington.

The game has undergone a number of changes over the years and in 2002 notably ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings when both teams ran out of pitchers. The plan for games that were tied after regulation briefly called for playing extra innings with a runner on second base at the start of each half-inning, as regular season games are now.

The provision for this change can be found in exhibit 13 of the memorandum of understanding that settled the lockout March 10.

Here are the official rules, according to the AP:

“[T]he manager of each league’s All-Star team shall select three players on his team’s active roster who have agreed to participate in the All-Star tiebreaker, if applicable; one alternate player from his active roster who has agreed to participate in the All-Star tiebreaker, if necessary due to injury to a tiebreaker selection; an All-Star team coach who will throw batting practice during the All-Star tiebreaker; and an All-Star team bullpen catcher who will catch during the All-Star tiebreaker.”

There would be a brief pause after the ninth inning so the grounds crew could reconfigure the field. In the tiebreaker, “each player can take an unlimited number of pitches without it counting against their swing total. Players on each team may hit in any order during the All-Star tiebreaker; provided, however, the batters from each team shall alternate.”

The AL team is the visitor in Tuesday’s game at Dodger Stadium and would go first in the competition.

“Once all six tiebreaker selections have completed their swings, the team with the most home runs shall be declared the winner of the All-Star Game,” the rule says. “In the event the teams have the same number of home runs following the tiebreaker, each manager shall select one tiebreaker selection to participate in another round in which the tiebreaker selection from each team takes three swings to break the tie. The aforementioned head-to-head format will continue until the tie is broken.”

The three batters picked for the tiebreaker cannot be replaced unless there is an injury or to protect a player’s health.

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