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Late rule change puzzles Hoshino

Kyodo News

National team manager Senichi Hoshino and Japanese baseball officials showed their displeasure Saturday with a decision to introduce a tiebreaker format at the Beijing Olympic baseball tournament.

Hoshino said protests should be lodged after the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) notified the Japan Amateur Baseball Association earlier in the day that an extra-inning tiebreaker format will be implemented officially at next month’s Olympic tournament.

“Changing a format just two weeks before the opening of the games is an extremely odd thing to do and I’d like to lodge a protest over it,” Hoshino said.

Under the new rule announced by the IBAF, all games that are tied after 10 innings will compete under a new format and runners will be placed on first and second base with no outs beginning with the 11th inning and each inning needed thereafter.

“There are only eight teams taking part in the Olympic tournament and it’s strange to see such a change take place without any discussions among the parties involved,” said Kazuo Hasegawa, secretary general of Nippon Professional Baseball.

“If they insist that the change is aimed at making things easier for TV broadcasts, it should have been proposed much earlier,” Hasegawa said.