I have many ideas on how to improve baseball. My suggestions will make baseball more fun for the fans who watch and attend baseball games, more competitive for teams, and provide better opportunities for many players around the league! You may not receive this in good faith though if you consider hiring Joe Torre for President of Baseball Operations, which in my opinion is a horrible choice.
Here I give you 9 issues to take to the plate.
Issue #1: Eliminate the East Coast Bias.
If you draw a line down the center of the country, you will find 22 teams on the eastern part of the United States and a mere 8 teams on the west coast. I propose the solution to this is EXPANSION. The following areas I recommend should have a baseball team:
- Sat Lake City, Utah
- Portland, Oregon
- Des Moines, Iowa
- Yellowstone, Montana
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Mexico (yes the country)
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
Issue #2: Realignment
This offseason we all witnessed the Tampa Bay Rays team get completely dismantled thanks to free agency. I ask myself why is the Rays, a small-market team, in the AL East where they will never win a championship if they are unable to retain the cose of their team longer than 5 seasons?
Solution? The Tampa Bay Rays need to go to the National League East and the N.Y. Mets need to go to the American League East. Yes allow the big money markets to do battle with each other if there will be no salary cap. This may include dumping the Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers in the AL East as well and moving the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates to the National League East.
Now this brings up the next issue ...
Issue #3: Year-Round Interleague Play
It is time to catch up with the other major professional sports known as the NBA, NHL, and NFL where teams get an opportunity to face every team in the league. Some of us fans would love to see teams from the opposite league on the opposite side of the country come into town. If our team can take a trip to Cali to face the Dodgers and Giants, then why not have an extra series against the Angels or Athletics?
Issue #4: Eliminate the Designated Hitter
Notice I have not brought up a "salary cap" yet. Really baseball does not need one with the current revenue sharing in place. The elimination of the DH eliminates the need to pay a guy $10 million if he can't field his position anymore. Plus it aint baseball if the pitcher doesn't get a chance to bat or run the bases like everybody else has to.
Issue #5: Not Every Team Needs Representation
Since the All-Star game is now worth something -- winning league gets home field advantage -- how about we put the players who deserve to be there. In Issue #1 I suggested expansion which means not every team will be represented. Not every team needs to be represented anyway.
The All-Star Roster needs to consist of the best 30 guys in the game. Not a crippled DH who can't field his position. Not some random guy from 19-year loser a/k/a the Pittsburgh Pirates. We want the best and the game needs the best. Those teams who want to be represented have another option to be represented, it is called the homerun derby which really is MEANINGLESS to the game. Sure it is fun to watch, if you're a kid, but it no longer has the value it once had.
Issue #6: Shortened Season
Baseball should be shortened to 144 games. Teams should play just as many games against other divisions as they do against their own division, not double like the amount is currently. By shortening the season, sure stats will go down and players will seem overpaid, but aren't players being paid grossly for one thing -- to win championships? Yes they are and it is about time teams get their bang for their buck which brings me to how they do it.
Issue #7: Playoff Expansion
I proposed 4 divisions in Issue #1, and #2. With 4 divisions, let there be 4 division winners and 4 wild card teams. This become spossible with a shortened season. The format becomes similar to that of the NBAs old format where the first round is best of 3, and each round after is a best of 7.
Issue #8: Penalties Based on Precedent
MLB needs to set penalties that every team will be aware of. If a player goes on a rampage such as what Nyjer Morgan did last season then he needs to be suspended appropriately. Players who charge the mound need to know they will be suspended 3 games with no appeal. What is there to appeal really? The act was committed and it embarassed baseball and your team mates in front of millions.
There also needs to be penalties issued to Major League Teams. The Florida Marlins 2 years ago got hit by the MLBPA for failing to use revenue sharing money to sign ballplayers. As a result they got put on probation and could lose draft picks. This offseason and last they were forced to spend. Now here is the question, what about those other teams? The Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, and Kansas City Royals. When are they going to be penalized for not spending?
Issue #9: REPLAY REPLAY REPLAY
We need more of it. We need it for questionable calls on balls hit down the line, foul-tip pitches rules as no-tip wild pitches causing a runner to advance, runners thrown out while stealing, runners thrown at at first base, and trapped-ball catches.
The Don Rey