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 Madduxâ€™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, letâ€™s play a game called â€œIâ€™m Commissioner For A Dayâ€ (yes, I just made it up). If I was made Major League Baseballâ€™s Commish for one day, hereâ€™s what I would do:
One, scrap interleague play. Yes, this was cute when it first was introduced in 1995. But now? Itâ€™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. Youâ€™re telling me that doesnâ€™t make a difference in each teamâ€™s record?
Two, remove the divisions. Iâ€™m sick and tired of horrible teams making the playoffs just because they won their crappy division. Hereâ€™s what Iâ€™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 wonâ€™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 NBAâ€™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. Itâ€™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. Itâ€™s an exhibition game that means nothing. Starting pitchers go three innings max, hitters are lucky to get one at-bat in before theyâ€™re taken out and no one tries all that hard. Howâ€™s this for a novel idea â€” 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 â€” nobodyâ€™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. Thereâ€™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.