Friday, September 27, 2013

In the Best Interest of the Game

With Bud Selig's announcement on Thursday that he is retiring as Commissioner after the 2014 Major League Baseball season, I would like to announce my candidacy for that position.  My grassroots campaign for the position is based on a number of fan-friendly initiatives and some radical ideas that I believe will make the game stronger--both competitively and financially. 

  • Dump the Designated Hitter--It has been forty years now that Major League Baseball has been played under two sets of rules.  I believe that if you play in the field you should have to hit as well--so the DH is done.  Hopefully this change will filter down to all levels of the game--including Little League and high school ball.
  • Get rid of replay--The game is played on the field by humans, it should be decided on the field by humans--not an anonymous official sitting in an office in New York looking at a TV screen.  If our umps can't get it right consistantly, we will find people who can.
  • Expand the strike zone--There is absolutely no reason why a pitch three inches above a batter's belt is a ball.  Especially when a ball thrown in the same exact spot two pitches later is crushed 450-feet for a home run.  The zone will now be from the middle of the chest to the bottom of the knees.  This should also help speed up play--as more strikes will be thrown (except by Brewers relievers) and hitters will go to the plate looking to swing early in the count.
  •  More doubleheaders--I will keep the 162-game regular season, but there is no reason that fans in Chicago, Minneapolis and Cleveland should be freezing their butts off in late March to watch games.  Regular weekend doubleheaders will shorten the calendar length of the season and allow us to start in the second week of April and finish in mid-September so the World Series won't be played in November anymore.
  • Correct the historic record of the game--Hank Aaron will be restored as the rightful Home Run King.  Barry Bonds' career numbers will be listed in a special sub-section "Records set under the suspicion of illegal drug use" (which would be an entire coffee table book unto itself).  In addition, Shoeless Joe Jackson will be made eligible for the Hall of Fame--as his ban for the Black Sox Scandal was for "a lifetime" and he has been dead for 52-years now.
  • Daytime World Series games--At least two of the seven games will be played in the afternoon--allowing kids and those who get up very early in the morning in the eastern half of the US to actually see the end of the game.  With the proliferation of streaming video on computers, tablets and smartphones, I don't think we have to worry about people at work not being able to watch.
  • ESPN and Fox are limited to one Yankees/Red Sox game per season each--Believe it or not, there are 28-other teams in Major League Baseball.  Some of them could be shown on national TV every once in a while.  In addition, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are banned from doing games ever again.
  • Contract the two Florida franchises--Attendance at Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays games are embarrassing.  And most of the fans who do go are from the Northeast US and are coming to root for the visiting teams.  Florida baseball fans can get their fix every spring when 18-franchises come down for training.  As a bonus, by getting rid of these two teams, there is no reason to play interleague games all season long as well.
  •  Realign the leagues by payroll--This will be put into place if a salary cap is not instituted.  Big market, big spending teams can continue to sign whatever free agents they want, but their competition for the playoffs will be teams dropping just as much money as they do.  Small market, lower spending teams will compete in their own league--with just as much shot of making the post-season as the New York and LA squads.  Teams in the middle will likely move back and forth each year--depending on how contracts expire or players are traded.
 Major League owners, you have a full year to review these proposals and realize that they are truly in the best interest of the game.  I'll wait patiently by the phone for your call........

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