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Commish for a day

By | November 04, 2009 | Sports (4)

I love baseball. I grew up rooting for the Atlanta Braves. Watched them on TV almost every night (I have their starting lineup from their 1995 World Series team memorized, as well as Greg Maddux’s earned run average that year). Never gave up on the game, even through all the controversies.

But, there are quite a few annoyances in the game of baseball.

So, let’s play a game called “I’m Commissioner For A Day” (yes, I just made it up). If I was made Major League Baseball’s Commish for one day, here’s what I would do:

One, scrap interleague play. Yes, this was cute when it first was introduced in 1995. But now? It’s just plain unfair. For instance, the Atlanta Braves (86-76) played the Boston Red Sox (95-67) six times and the New York Yankees (103-59) three times, while the St. Louis Cardinals (91-71) played the Kansas City Royals six times (65-97) and the Cleveland Indians (65-97) thrice. You’re telling me that doesn’t make a difference in each team’s record?

Two, remove the divisions. I’m sick and tired of horrible teams making the playoffs just because they won their crappy division. Here’s what I’d do. Move the Milwaukee Brewers back to the American League where they belong (so that each league will have 15 teams) and have every team play each squad in their league an equal amount of times to make the schedules fair. The top four teams will then advance to the postseason in the National and American Leagues.

Then, we won’t have to have a situation like 2006 again where an 83-win Cardinal team wins the World Series because they got hot at the right time. The best teams should be in the postseason, regardless of where they play their games.

Three, eliminate the designated hitter. This is the single-dumbest innovation in the history of sports. An equivalent would be if in the NBA’s Eastern Conference instituted a designated three-point shooter who got to stand in the corner and shoot three pointers if his teammates passed the ball to him. It’s just plain ridiculous. Have the same rules apply for each league.

Four, stop the All-Star game from deciding who gets home-field advantage in the World Series. It’s an exhibition game that means nothing. Starting pitchers go three innings max, hitters are lucky to get one at-bat in before they’re taken out and no one tries all that hard. How’s this for a novel idea — the team with the best overall record gets home-field advantage. Difficult to imagine, I know.

Five, never, ever, EVER, institute replay into baseball. Games are long enough already. And so what if an umpire makes a mistake. Guess what — nobody’s perfect. Players make errors. Pitchers throw balls. Managers make mistakes (quite often actually). Major League Baseball does not need replay to see if a ball actually went over the fence, or if a sliding player made it to the base under the tag, or if a pitch was on the corner or just off the plate. The human component makes it like real life.

Baseball is a great game for the weird quirks it has. Each stadium is a different size. There’s no salary cap. Coaches wear the same uniforms as the players do (imagine Phil Jackson sporting a Lakers jersey, or, better yet, Wade Phillips with pads on).
But these five things must go.

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9 Responses to Commish for a day

  1. Wunderkill says:

    good stuff—-but trouble with two 15-team leagues is that an interleague game would have to be played every day of the season in order for all teams to be in action on given days—-The MLB loves the 15 game Fridays and Saturdays-i think a decent proposal would be to add two teams and get to the NFL standard of 32. Maybe a Portland, Oregon or Vegas team to even out the west, and a Nashville, Charlotte or New Orleans team to add to the gulf or southern region. Then rework the league into four 7 team divisions and have division winners (4) and four wildcards (2 per league) round out the playoff field.
    Charlotte Dragons and Las Vegas Silver Sox anyone?

  2. Wunderkill says:

    good stuff—-but trouble with two 15-team leagues is that an interleague game would have to be played every day of the season in order for all teams to be in action on given days—-The MLB loves the 15 game Fridays and Saturdays-i think a decent proposal would be to add two teams and get to the NFL standard of 32. Maybe a Portland, Oregon or Vegas team to even out the west, and a Nashville, Charlotte or New Orleans team to add to the gulf or southern region. Then rework the league into four 7 team divisions and have division winners (4) and four wildcards (2 per league) round out the playoff field.
    Charlotte Dragons and Las Vegas Silver Sox anyone?

  3. Wunderkill says:

    good stuff—-but trouble with two 15-team leagues is that an interleague game would have to be played every day of the season in order for all teams to be in action on given days—-The MLB loves the 15 game Fridays and Saturdays-i think a decent proposal would be to add two teams and get to the NFL standard of 32. Maybe a Portland, Oregon or Vegas team to even out the west, and a Nashville, Charlotte or New Orleans team to add to the gulf or southern region. Then rework the league into four 7 team divisions and have division winners (4) and four wildcards (2 per league) round out the playoff field.
    Charlotte Dragons and Las Vegas Silver Sox anyone?

  4. Wow, I had no idea someone so young could be so backwards thinking. I thought that was saved for old, crotchety columnists who think the internet is a blight upon our civilization and should be irradicated. To address your ideas:
    1. When would the Atlanta fan get to see Jeter or A-rod play or CC pitch, and when would the Indian fan get to see Pujols play in person? Not everyone can afford to travel out of town to see these great players play. Interleague play affords that. In addition, the attendence and ratings for interleague games is always higher than if the Indians or Royals would be playing each other or the Orioles. It’s a money maker, and thus, won’t go away.

    2. 15 team leagues don’t work if interleague play isn’t instituted. Scheduling would become a nightmare with teams with 4-5 day stretches off. The Brewers are fine in the NL. If you get rid of the divisions you can have entire regions (like the midwest in 04 when the division winner was 83-79) not watching baseball. Divisions allow for more exciting play, and thus keep fans interested longer.

    I agree with you on 3 and 4

    5. You’ve seen how terrible calls that are missed reflect on the game. Replay can go really quick since there already are 4-6 cameras filming the game. This gives you plenty of angles, and can be done quickly IF the final call belongs to a replay official in the booth and can communicate quickly (perhaps throught these magical new piece of 70 year old technology called walky-talkies) to the crew chief on the field. As long as there is a finite amount of challenges in the early innings and official’s challenge in the late (similar to the NFL) and a specific list of calls that can be challenged (fair of foul, homer or not, and out or safe at a base), then it can be a very good working solution.

    It seems your early argument has to do with game pace. It would speed up the game a ton if you limit the amount of times Jorge Posada can go speak to a pitcher during an inning (he made 13 trips one time, delaying an inning a good 5 mins).

    The human element is not what makes this game great. If a call is wrong, then it can ruin a fan’s experience, which should be on the main consideration since it is the fans that produce the majority of revenue.

  5. Wow, I had no idea someone so young could be so backwards thinking. I thought that was saved for old, crotchety columnists who think the internet is a blight upon our civilization and should be irradicated. To address your ideas:
    1. When would the Atlanta fan get to see Jeter or A-rod play or CC pitch, and when would the Indian fan get to see Pujols play in person? Not everyone can afford to travel out of town to see these great players play. Interleague play affords that. In addition, the attendence and ratings for interleague games is always higher than if the Indians or Royals would be playing each other or the Orioles. It’s a money maker, and thus, won’t go away.

    2. 15 team leagues don’t work if interleague play isn’t instituted. Scheduling would become a nightmare with teams with 4-5 day stretches off. The Brewers are fine in the NL. If you get rid of the divisions you can have entire regions (like the midwest in 04 when the division winner was 83-79) not watching baseball. Divisions allow for more exciting play, and thus keep fans interested longer.

    I agree with you on 3 and 4

    5. You’ve seen how terrible calls that are missed reflect on the game. Replay can go really quick since there already are 4-6 cameras filming the game. This gives you plenty of angles, and can be done quickly IF the final call belongs to a replay official in the booth and can communicate quickly (perhaps throught these magical new piece of 70 year old technology called walky-talkies) to the crew chief on the field. As long as there is a finite amount of challenges in the early innings and official’s challenge in the late (similar to the NFL) and a specific list of calls that can be challenged (fair of foul, homer or not, and out or safe at a base), then it can be a very good working solution.

    It seems your early argument has to do with game pace. It would speed up the game a ton if you limit the amount of times Jorge Posada can go speak to a pitcher during an inning (he made 13 trips one time, delaying an inning a good 5 mins).

    The human element is not what makes this game great. If a call is wrong, then it can ruin a fan’s experience, which should be on the main consideration since it is the fans that produce the majority of revenue.

  6. Wow, I had no idea someone so young could be so backwards thinking. I thought that was saved for old, crotchety columnists who think the internet is a blight upon our civilization and should be irradicated. To address your ideas:
    1. When would the Atlanta fan get to see Jeter or A-rod play or CC pitch, and when would the Indian fan get to see Pujols play in person? Not everyone can afford to travel out of town to see these great players play. Interleague play affords that. In addition, the attendence and ratings for interleague games is always higher than if the Indians or Royals would be playing each other or the Orioles. It’s a money maker, and thus, won’t go away.

    2. 15 team leagues don’t work if interleague play isn’t instituted. Scheduling would become a nightmare with teams with 4-5 day stretches off. The Brewers are fine in the NL. If you get rid of the divisions you can have entire regions (like the midwest in 04 when the division winner was 83-79) not watching baseball. Divisions allow for more exciting play, and thus keep fans interested longer.

    I agree with you on 3 and 4

    5. You’ve seen how terrible calls that are missed reflect on the game. Replay can go really quick since there already are 4-6 cameras filming the game. This gives you plenty of angles, and can be done quickly IF the final call belongs to a replay official in the booth and can communicate quickly (perhaps throught these magical new piece of 70 year old technology called walky-talkies) to the crew chief on the field. As long as there is a finite amount of challenges in the early innings and official’s challenge in the late (similar to the NFL) and a specific list of calls that can be challenged (fair of foul, homer or not, and out or safe at a base), then it can be a very good working solution.

    It seems your early argument has to do with game pace. It would speed up the game a ton if you limit the amount of times Jorge Posada can go speak to a pitcher during an inning (he made 13 trips one time, delaying an inning a good 5 mins).

    The human element is not what makes this game great. If a call is wrong, then it can ruin a fan’s experience, which should be on the main consideration since it is the fans that produce the majority of revenue.

  7. Tony says:

    Wow it’s a good thing you’re not commissioner.

    Your point against interleague is legit but an easy way to fix that problem is make sure that teams in each division play the same interleague opponents the same number of times. That would be an easy fix to interleague play that would still allow teams with legit interleague rivals (ie. A’s Giants, Dodgers Angles) to continue with these exciting mid-summer matchups that seem to draw a larger number of fans.

    Don’t understand why you are against even limited instant replay in baseball which would allow plays to be reviewed to get calls right. A fast review for plays like that foul ball call in the Angles Yankees series just seems to make to much sense. How long would that really take for an umpire to radio down to the crew on the field and reverse that wrong call?

    Finally, I don’t see the problem of having division and the rivalries created by divisional play (i.e. Mets Braves, Giants Dodgers, Cubs Cardinals). This is also a way to limit travel for the teams as they play a large number of road games closer to home within their division.

    As for the All-Star game I completely agree. That game does not need to “mean something”. It should be for the fans, which is why it was created in the first place.

  8. Tony says:

    Wow it’s a good thing you’re not commissioner.

    Your point against interleague is legit but an easy way to fix that problem is make sure that teams in each division play the same interleague opponents the same number of times. That would be an easy fix to interleague play that would still allow teams with legit interleague rivals (ie. A’s Giants, Dodgers Angles) to continue with these exciting mid-summer matchups that seem to draw a larger number of fans.

    Don’t understand why you are against even limited instant replay in baseball which would allow plays to be reviewed to get calls right. A fast review for plays like that foul ball call in the Angles Yankees series just seems to make to much sense. How long would that really take for an umpire to radio down to the crew on the field and reverse that wrong call?

    Finally, I don’t see the problem of having division and the rivalries created by divisional play (i.e. Mets Braves, Giants Dodgers, Cubs Cardinals). This is also a way to limit travel for the teams as they play a large number of road games closer to home within their division.

    As for the All-Star game I completely agree. That game does not need to “mean something”. It should be for the fans, which is why it was created in the first place.

  9. Tony says:

    Wow it’s a good thing you’re not commissioner.

    Your point against interleague is legit but an easy way to fix that problem is make sure that teams in each division play the same interleague opponents the same number of times. That would be an easy fix to interleague play that would still allow teams with legit interleague rivals (ie. A’s Giants, Dodgers Angles) to continue with these exciting mid-summer matchups that seem to draw a larger number of fans.

    Don’t understand why you are against even limited instant replay in baseball which would allow plays to be reviewed to get calls right. A fast review for plays like that foul ball call in the Angles Yankees series just seems to make to much sense. How long would that really take for an umpire to radio down to the crew on the field and reverse that wrong call?

    Finally, I don’t see the problem of having division and the rivalries created by divisional play (i.e. Mets Braves, Giants Dodgers, Cubs Cardinals). This is also a way to limit travel for the teams as they play a large number of road games closer to home within their division.

    As for the All-Star game I completely agree. That game does not need to “mean something”. It should be for the fans, which is why it was created in the first place.

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