Scott Van Pelt Scott Van Pelt at the Dick Vitale Gala in 2021.

If you aren’t a fan of Major League Baseball’s automatic runner rules for extra innings, you have an ally in Scott Van Pelt.

The rule that saw an automatic runner be placed on second base after the conclusion of the ninth inning in a tied contest was initially implemented in 2020 as a health and safety protocol during the pandemic-shortened season. Despite its unpopularity, the rule didn’t become a permanent fixture until 2023, when the Joint Competition Committee voted to make it indefinite. That was after it was implemented in 2021 and 2022 with little fanfare.

While the rule expedites games, preventing marathon contests exceeding five hours, it’s not universally loved. A central point of criticism has seen those argue for a few additional innings in the regular season, perhaps with the rule kicking in after the 12th inning. Notably, the rule is tossed aside altogether for the postseason.

The popularity of the extra-innings runner rule likely stems from its appeal to baseball writers facing a grueling 162-game schedule. Few would fault them for wanting to avoid staying at the ballpark until the early morning hours. While widely accepted after four years of use, Van Pelt appears to be a lone voice in the media, dissenting from the apparent consensus amongst his colleagues.

The SportsCenter host thinks it’s plain “stupid.”

Van Pelt made these remarks while showing highlights of the first game of a doubleheader between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets. A 2-2 game went into extra innings, and on the first pitch in the top of the 10th inning, Mookie Betts made it a 3-2 game with an RBI single.

“We still do that stupid thing where there’s a runner on the base,” said Van Pelt. “Why do we — it’s just stupid. It’s not a word that (I use on-air). Kids aren’t supposed to say that word in elementary school. Well, I’m saying it’s stupid.”

And based on the replies in Awful Announcing’s mentions, many are in lockstep with SVP.

[Awful Announcing]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.