Eight Ways to Make Baseball Better

Some serious, and some not-so-serious suggestions about how to make
baseball better…

1.   
Contract the
Orioles

That is to say, delete them. They have no
hope in the foreseeable future of climbing above fifth spot in their own
division and they play like it. Same goes for the Blue Jays and fourth place –
they just don’t know it yet. Call it a mercy killing. We could use the
opportunity to correct the nonsense that is the four-team American League West
by adding them to that division. Sacramento Orioles, anyone?

2.   
Ban the DH

It is the root of the unfair advantage the
American League has every World Series. The American League team, in home
games, has a full-time hitter go up against whatever bench player their
National League counterparts temporarily promote to the starting lineup. Sure,
the DH rule means we get to see a few more at-bats from overweight ex-first
basemen, but I think we’d all survive with a little less of that.

3.   
Get rid of fan balloting
for the All-Star game

At least until such a time as writers stop
measuring the success of players’ careers by the number of All-Star appearances
they make. The All-Star game rewards popularity far more than excellence.
Giving everyone the chance to vote 25 times makes this transparently more about
getting clicks on mlb.com where they can sell you merchandise, and not about
who are the best players.

EITHER the All-Star game is an exhibition
of the best players from each league and a yardstick of a player’s status in
the game. OR it is about giving the fans an opportunity to see whomever they
want. By trying to have both, baseball achieves neither.

4.   
Revoke Scott
Boras’s agent’s license

He has made a lot of players a lot of
money through hard negotiation. That’s cool.

He also has a habit of holding entire
franchises to ransom and actively pushing players away from their existing
teams if it will earn him more money, regardless of whether it is in the
player’s own interests (e.g. A-Rod, JD Drew, Manny Ramirez). Even instructing
teams not to draft a client of his, under threat of refusing to strike a deal
(e.g. JD Drew, Mark Texeira). That’s not cool.

5.   
Move the World
Series up two weeks

Do whatever it takes: shorten spring
training or start it earlier. Eliminate some postseason off-days. But playing
the most important games of the season in conditions that occasionally make
both hitting and pitching next to impossible, does nothing for the integrity of
the sport. Can you imagine what it would be like for the Minnesota Twins in
their new open-air stadium if they make it to the World Series?

6.   
Instant replay

Close calls for home runs, plays at the
plate and at first base could be referred to the TV booth for adjudication on
appeal. NFL-esque limits on the number of appeals could keep the time delays to
a minimum, and virtually eliminate the blown calls that threaten to devalue
results.

7.   
Reinstate Pete
Rose and put him in the Hall of Fame

Or ban Barry Bonds – either would be fine,
but we need some consistency here. Both of them did bad things but what Barry
did was more cheating than anything Pete Rose has been accused of. The double
standards involved in treating these two so differently are so obvious it’s
almost funny. Clearly Pete Rose has consistently bitten the hand that has
occasionally considered feeding him. However, his stubbornness and lying is not
an excuse for baseball to exclude from the Hall of Fame one of the best hitters
in the history of the game, whose numbers would be exactly the same whether he
placed bets or not. Barry’s home run numbers on the other hand would be
radically different without the help of steroids, yet whenever the Baseball
Writers Association of America decides to forgive and forget, he will
eventually make it to the Hall of Fame.

8.   
Give home field
advantage in the World Series to the team with the best regular-season record.

i.e. reward achievement, following the
example of the NHL and NBA. Home field advantage is currently awarded to the
team from the league that wins the All-Star game, which will have nothing to do
with the team in the World Series. This is a Bud Selig gimmick only a few years
old that has already past its sell-by date.

Best guess here is that instant replay is on its way within a year or
two, for first base and home plate disputed calls. Sadly though, short of a coup d’etat I may be out of luck with my
other suggestions.

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