The 2020 MLB season was unlike anything that came before it in any number of ways. But it did influence at least one season after it. Runners starting on second base in extra innings, minimum batters faced rules, and seven-inning double headers all migrated from the 60-game season while the universal DH and geographical play - regardless of league - did not.
We already know that seven-inning games don’t count for no-hitters and that in the eighth inning of these games a runner show up on second base. What we don’t know: when, if ever, is Sweet Caroline played? With the Red Sox returning to full capacity at Fenway Park beginning May 29th this is a Boston tradition that will roar back to life as crowds sing alone every eighth inning. But in a seven-inning game, should we experience bad weather that calls for rescheduling (which could very well happen this weekend), what then?
Let’s start with the eighth inning. There are doubtless Sweet Caroline purists who will insist this is an eighth-inning tradition and that if there is no eighth inning there is no Sweet Caroline. Given how iconic this singalong is to Red Sox Nation it is unlikely the Sox take this stand. While it is certainly possible for a seven-inning doubleheader game to go into a modified form of extra innings it is by no means guaranteed. The eighth-inning purists would likely hear a chorus break out regardless should the song be saved, like a closer on the road, for an opportunity that never arrives.
The seventh inning. At the half-inning mark the game may be over. At the end of the seventh the game may also be over and if not, you’re heading into the eighth inning anyway taking us back to the previous paragraph as to why that’s not ideal. To say nothing of the seventh-inning stretch!
The sixth inning. Push the seventh-inning stretch back two innings to the fifth inning and follow it up with Sweet Caroline in the sixth. The cleanest modification to keep everything in tact, even if it seems far to early to “Ba! Ba! Ba!”
When should Sweet Caroline play in a 7-inning game?
This poll is closed
8th inning (extra innings)
6th inning (one inning before scheduled end of game as normal)
Never (there’s no ‘real’ 8th inning in a doubleheader)
7th inning (because reasons)