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This is a question regarding a somewhat hypothetical situation, but one I have been thinking about quite a bit and can't get my head around.

In Cricket, a team can 'Declare' an innings at any time, ending the innings and allowing the other team to come to bat. This is generally done during test matches, as any game that reaches 5 days in length without both teams completing 2 innings would end in a draw - this means that it is not to a teams advantage to carry on after they have already achieved a heavy lead - it is more important to get the other team in so that they can be bowled out.

In Baseball, however unlikely, it seems to me that it would be possible for a team to just keep batting around the order, hitting a potentially infinite number of runs within an inning if the other teams pitchers were so inept that they just couldn't record any outs.

So my question is: Can a Baseball team choose to end an innings? Is there any law in place that would allow an umpire to step in and end it? In fact, is there anything at all that can end an innings other than three outs being recorded?

  • Since baseball doesn't have any limit to the length of the game, there's no strategic reason to do so - and while "possible" to score infinite runs, it's not likely to happen. I've seen innings go well into double digits and the batting team still trying as hard as possible to score - remember, you're judged on your individual performance; see Wilson Ramos, for example, those two home runs he hit off of position players last week in a blowout certainly count when he goes for a new FA or arbitration deal. – Joe Jun 24 '15 at 20:58
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In major league baseball, the only thing that could end an inning other than three outs would be a "walk-off" situation.

From wikipedia

As in the case of the ninth inning, a home team which scores to take a lead in any extra inning automatically wins, and the inning (and the game) is considered complete at that moment regardless of the number of outs

In other leagues (mostly kid's leagues) there is sometimes a rule that says an inning is finished if a team reachs a certain number of runs.

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To my knowledge, there is no rule that allows for this at any level. However, teams can intentionally make outs. At the top ranks, this would probably be frowned upon.

On the other hand, in youth leagues it is not uncommon to intentionally "give away outs" in games where one team is many runs ahead, but some sort of rule might create a situation where a won game is nullified (for example a league might have a rule that the game must end after two hours or when it gets dark (on an unlighted field), but also a rule that some minimum number of innings must be played for the game to be official; otherwise the game must be replayed from the beginning). A few ways managers of youth baseball have "declared" an inning that I've seen: have batters strike out intentionally (rare); have batters swing at every pitch they see - regardless of whether the pitches are strikes or not - until their at bat is over, the batter doesn't have to strike out and can get a hit, but they must not take a pitch (or else they face the wrath of the manager); if a batter reaches base, have them lead off their base until they are tagged out, making no attempt to get back to their base or advance to the next one.

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