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Dodgers' Turner wants Home Run Derby to decide extra-inning games

Greg Fiume / Getty Images Sport / Getty

It's safe to say that Justin Turner is not a baseball traditionalist.

The Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman is using MLB's hiatus to make his case for implementing a radical change to the sport. Instead of playing extra innings indefinitely, Turner wants tied games to be decided by a Home Run Derby, using a format that sounds similar to hockey's shootouts.

"This is my opportunity to push for a Home Run Derby in extra innings," Turner said during an interview with Access Sportsnet Dodgers on Wednesday. "Instead of playing 17 innings, you get one extra inning, you play the 10th inning, and (if) no one scores, then you go to a Home Run Derby. You take each team's three best hitters and you give them all five outs, and see who hits the most homers.

"You know, you wanna keep fans in the stands until the end of the game," he continued. "I know when I go to hockey games, I actually enjoy watching shootouts. That keeps me in my seat, so maybe a Home Run Derby will do that as well."

While MLB's extra-inning rules have hardly ever been significantly altered - teams play an indefinite number of extra innings until the tie is broken, occasionally resulting in marathon contests that reach 18 or even 20 frames - some levels of the sport have played with the format.

In 2018, Minor League Baseball started placing a runner at second base to begin each extra frame, putting its own spin on the variant used in most international tournaments, such as the World Baseball Classic. In Asian leagues such as Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, a maximum of three extra innings are played before games end in a tie.

Even if Turner's proposal isn't accepted, the slugger hinted that some form of revision could come to extra innings in the event of a shortened 2020 MLB season. The 35-year-old said that "nothing (is) off limits" in discussions between players and owners about how to ensure that as many games as possible are played this season.

"It could be multiple doubleheaders a week, it could be seven-inning doubleheaders, there could be some new extra-inning rules being implemented," Turner said. "That's all conversations that will be had when we get a better idea of when the season's gonna start."

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