Designated hitters like the Red Sox J.D. Martinez have only had a home in the American League. That could have changed if MLB and the MLBPA had agreed to discussed rule changes for a shortened season, including implementing the DH in both leagues. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Major League Players Association voted not to accept the 60-game proposal from Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday. That left us all waiting for Manfred to announce a season, and a schedule, answering the “tell us when and where” question the players have been demanding.

The back-and-forth negotiations have been frustrating for everyone. There was hope a deal could be worked out. There still is hope for a last-minute meeting of the minds, but that’s highly unlikely after the last announcement.

We’ve heard enough about the money at stake. There is little sympathy for squabbling over money in the midst of a pandemic that has sent some 40 million Americans to unemployment. The unfortunate part of the no vote was that there were some interesting tidbits in the proposal that would impact the game on the field.

One was the implementation of a universal designated hitter is long overdue. We have raged at the absurdity of the American and National leagues playing with different lineup structures for years. This has become even more evident as interleague play has proliferated, with American League teams playing National League teams from the start of the season until the end.

It’s no surprise that the universal DH has been front-and center in these discussions.

So has the concept of limiting extra-inning games that drag on into the wee hours of the night. Baseball has always been played without a clock, but life has sped up around the sport. Our attention spans have never been shorter. It seems baseball might finally be catching up with the times.

Discussions surrounding ways to increase scoring in extra innings, or even having games finish in a tie, have been important elements of these discussions. There’s no doubt something needs to be done in a truncated season – with fewer days off teams cannot afford to blow out pitching staffs with long extra-inning games.

Normally, after a game that goes more than 12 innings, a phone call is made and a pitcher is summoned from AAA to step into the next day’s staff. There will be no minor-league baseball this summer, and no one standing by to help the big club.

That’s why the idea of ties have been floated out there. It’s also why there’s talk about putting a runner on base in extra innings to spur offense and a winning run.

Purists have been outraged by these ideas, screaming that those who run the game are using a worldwide pandemic as a way to undermine the very structure of the game.

That’s what hockey purists said when the shootout was introduced to the NHL in 2005. And in many ways they were right. A one-on-one battle isn’t hockey, it’s a skills competition. Looking to avoid shootouts, the NHL eventually implemented 3-on-3 overtime. It’s far more entertaining than a shootout, a frenetic overtime with wide-open space and end-to-end action. It’s not the game as originally intended, but it’s a great way to end a game before the shootout. And the shootout looms over OT, forcing the action to pick up at an even more hectic pace.

Putting a man on second base might seem like a gimmick. Even so, it would create instant excitement and force strategy decisions with the game on the line. Extra innings will mean extra action and excitement. That’s not the case right now.

In the end, it’s hard to think about ending games quicker when the two games can’t figure out how to start a season. But it would be nice to talk balls and strikes instead of dollars and cents.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column runs on Tuesdays in the Portland Press Herald.

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