Posted April 01, 2013

20 ways to improve baseball right now

JAWS, Opening Day, Vin Scully
Opening Day has long been a ritual in Cincinnati, where professional baseball began back in 1869. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Opening Day has long been a ritual in Cincinnati, where professional baseball began back in 1869. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

By Jay Jaffe

The new season that begins on Sunday night will usher in yet another major change to a sport that has seen its share over the past 20 years. Houston’s switch to the American League leaves two leagues of 15 teams apiece, broken evenly into three five-team divisions, necessitating year-round interleague play. On the heels of last year’s major development — the addition of a second wild-card team in each league and an extra postseason game between them — we know more big changes are in store (expanded instant replay chief among them). With first pitch just around the corner, it’s time to take stock of where baseball is, where it’s going and, perhaps more importantly, where it should go. Here are 20 ways the national pastime could be made even better.

For more of SI.com’s 2013 Major League Baseball season preview coverage, click here.

1. Make Opening Day a national holiday. The return of baseball after the frigid misery of winter should always be celebrated, and as it remains the national pastime, the date should be recognized accordingly. Return the privilege of officially starting the season to the Reds, since Cincinnati was the birthplace of professional baseball. Send the President to Nationals Park to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Pair the previous season’s pennant winners in a matchup, since interleague play is now a daily occurrence. Schedule a quadrupleheader to be divided among the national broadcast partners, and make sure every American (and Canadian) has the day off to enjoy it all.

2. Revamp the television blackout policy. The technological revolution that has enabled fans to watch games in other markets via MLB.tv and Extra Innings, and on devices such as tablets and smartphones, is a wonderful thing. But MLB could do an even better job of building its audience by scrapping the arcane blackout rules that prevent fans from watching their local nine — or several not-quite-local nines — via such packages in real time. It’s not like they’re unwilling to pay for the privilege of watching crucial at-bats from the bus stop or the bathroom.

3. Name a new commissioner. For a former used car salesman installed during a coup that led to the worst work stoppage in the sport’s history, Bud Selig hasn’t been that bad, particularly when compared to his predecessors or heads of other major sports. Innovations such as interleague play and the wild card may offend purists, but their introduction has coincided with incredible revenue growth via increased attendance and rights fees, and the game now enjoys a hard-won labor peace as well as the strongest drug policy in major professional sports. Even so, Selig is 78 years old, and it’s time for a younger commissioner to usher in a new era, whether it’s a well-respected executive like Sandy Alderson or Derrick Hall, a media star such as Bob Costas or actor/minor league tycoon Bill Murray.

4. Adopt the designated hitter in both leagues. The rule has been around for 40 seasons, and the players’ union isn’t about to let it be rolled back at the cost of high-paying jobs. With season-long interleague play, NL teams will be at a competitive disadvantage if they don’t cultivate their own DH options. Besides, nobody needs to see pitchers risk injury or parade their ineptitude by flailing at a .129/.162/.166 clip, as they did last year.

5. Expand instant replay. This one’s on its way, but after experimenting with two technologies for aiding fair/foul and caught/trapped calls late last season, MLB has decided to spend another year researching a more all-encompassing solution that could handle outs at every base. As with the late-2008 introduction of the technology to handle boundary calls, it should be possible — and preferable — to get a new system in place in time for the 2013 postseason, instead of waiting for 2014.

6. Cull the umps. For too long, a handful of troublesome arbiters — Angel Hernandez, Joe West, C.B. Bucknor and Bob Davidson among them — have done their best to make the game about their authority instead of the actions of players. As tempting as it may be to replace them with robots, at the very least, MLB needs to institute a process via which all umpires are held more accountable for their actions — including enforcement of a uniform strike zone — and disciplined with transparency, with the worst of the lot vulnerable to losing their jobs, and only the best receiving the prestigious postseason assignments.

7. Keep the World Baseball Classic spirit going by sending regular season baseball overseas. The international tournament has its inherent limitations — particularly due to the need not to overtax pitchers — but the game’s growth outside of North America was on full display this month, as teams from Brazil, China, Italy and the Netherlands made their presences felt, and the Dominican Republic took home the WBC title. With four years until the next Classic, MLB should maintain the momentum by scheduling series abroad in Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, Asia, even South America, perhaps as many as one a month. Implement it in time for next season, so each team gets at least one trip overseas before the next tournament, and so that once or twice a year, we in the United States can wake up to baseball being played in far-off lands. The revenue would more than offset the loss of a few home dates for the participants. Plus we’d all get to say “HONKBAL!” more often.

8. Banish Jeffrey Loria. With Frank McCourt out of the picture, the Marlins’ owner is the game’s worst by a country mile, and not just for his repeated roster teardowns and crimes against good taste. Loria conned local taxpayers into footing 80 percent of the bill for a $634 million ballpark, triggering a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. Force him to sell the team and reimburse taxpayers for every last cent via the proceeds and his private fortune, then send him to Antarctica to live out his days discussing 20th century art with indifferent penguins.

9. Expand to Montreal, and Puerto Rico as well. It’s tempting to uproot the Marlins, but the ballpark is built, and Florida fans deserve the sunshine of a better ownership group. Instead, baseball should add two more teams, with one stationed in Montreal, where the Expos played from 1969 through 2004 and produced Hall of Famers Gary Carter and Andre Dawson as well as Tim Raines (more on him momentarily), Vladimir Guerrero and Youppi. To round things off at an even 32 teams, the Portland, Charlotte and New York/New Jersey markets may have their merits, but San Juan, Puerto Rico makes for a compelling choice, too. Though making its residents subject to the amateur draft has taken its toll, baseball has a rich tradition on the island, and fans have demonstrated incredible enthusiasm while flocking to aging Hiram Bithorn Stadium to support the World Baseball Classic or the occasional regular-season detour. Though small by MLB standards, the market could become a tourism magnet for baseball-crazed fans from other Caribbean countries as well as the U.S.

10. Sell the Mets. Even after being cleared of further liability in the Madoff scandal, the Mets are drowning in red ink, as nearly a billion dollars worth of loans to the team and its television network comes due in the next two years. The need to service their debt has left the team padding its roster with Quad-A filler and undead retreads such as Marlon Byrd. Meanwhile, the public relations gaffes continue; how tone-deaf do owners implicated in a Ponzi scheme have to be to allow Amway to open a storefront at Citi Field? MLB and Mets fans need to be rid of the Wilpons, putting the franchise in the hands of an owner who can afford to rebuild in a manner befitting the majors’ largest market.

11. Build new ballparks for the A’s and Rays. Since the opening of the Blue Jays’ Skydome (now Rogers Centre) back in 1989, every major league team except the Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Royals and A’s has gotten a new ballpark. Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium and Kauffman Stadium have received substantial facelifts, and plans are in the works to renovate Wrigley Field well. Oakland’s rent-a-name Coliseum is a dilapidated mess ill-suited for baseball, a big reason why the team has ranked in the AL’s bottom three in attendance in each of the past seven years. The expansion Rays, mired in the gloomy Tropicana Dome (est. 1990), haven’t done much better at the gate. Smart management has brought some success on shoestring budgets to both teams, who deserve better ballparks via which they can slug it out with the financial heavyweights.

12. Open the books. To far too great an extent, the bill for the aforementioned stadium boom was footed by taxpayers, not the owners profiting from those upgraded venues. Baseball teams are privately run businesses, but their reliance on public money — not to mention their antitrust exemption — should be accompanied by greater financial transparency. Knowing how big an annual profit the next Loria-wannabe is raking in, and how much money he’s paying himself, could help prevent future stadium scandals.

13. Penalize performance-enhancing drug use via stronger suspensions. MLB and the players’ union have come a long way in beefing up the game’s drug policy to the point that it’s by far the best in professional sports. While some worry that the increasing number of suspensions — seven last year, more than in the previous four years combined — reflects a new epidemic of cheaters, the stronger likelihood is that it reflects the program’s enhanced ability to detect users. As a means of bolstering public confidence that players and owners want a cleaner game, the two sides are discussing stronger penalties. At this point, a 100-game ban for a first offense, and a full-season ban for a second one — accompanied by ineligibility for All-Star honors and awards in the season(s) of the suspension — isn’t unreasonable.

14. Suspend players for DUI and domestic abuse. In contrast to their progress on the PED front, baseball has done nothing to penalize far more dangerous and destructive behaviors such as driving under the influence of alcohol or abusing wives and girlfriends. The league may be content to let law enforcement handle such offenses, but it could have far more impact if it took additional action in such cases by suspending guilty players without pay for similar lengths of time as PED violators, and donating their salaries to programs oriented towards awareness, treatment and prevention.

15. Reform the Hall of Fame voting. The Hall is not a church, it’s a rogues’ gallery reflecting a bumpy history that includes segregationists, spitballers, Prohibition-era alcoholics and numerous other brands of miscreants — an honest reflection of the men who have played and run the game. The misguided impulse to sanitize it, largely as a protest against an infiltration of PEDs for which players, owners, commissioner and media all share responsibility, is the result of writers leaning on the ballot’s antiquated and selectively applied character clause. Ditch it, and while we’re at it, reform the voting body by relieving voters no longer connected to the game — the ones covering figure skating or golf — of their privilege. Expand the rolls to include broadcasters and more members of the electronic media with the requisite 10-year tenure.

16. Induct Marvin Miller and Curt Flood into the Hall of Fame, as well as Tim Raines. As executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to 1982, Miller revolutionized the game, overseeing its biggest change since integration via the dismantling of the reserve clause and the dawn of free agency. Petty politics prevented him from receiving proper recognition during his lifetime, but as an honest reflection of the game’s history, the institution is diminished without his inclusion and that of the also-deceased Flood, a seven-time Gold Glove winner who sacrificed his career to battle the reserve clause. As for Raines, thanks to an appreciation of advanced metrics such as WAR and JAWS, a growing share of voters understands that he was every bit as great as contemporary Tony Gwynn; his speed and plate discipline helped him produce as much value as the eight-time batting champion. Raines finally crossed the 50 percent threshold on the 2013 ballot — a strong indicator that he’ll eventually be elected — but he should have his bronze plaque yesterday.

Vin Scully

Vin Scully should return for one more World Series. (Chris Williams/Icon SMI)

17. Let Vin Scully call the World Series. The beloved dean of baseball broadcasters has been calling Dodger games since 1950, but hasn’t worked a World Series on either TV or radio since 1996. Now 85 years old, he has scaled back his travel significantly, but it would be a sheer delight to hear him call at least one more Fall Classic. Even Fox Sports play-by-play man Joe Buck is open to the idea.

18. Enhance the stats on every scoreboard and broadcast. Though our collective understanding of statistics has increased, many ballparks and broadcasts display only the simplest statistical information — the Triple Crown stats of batting average, home runs and RBIs — when a player comes to the plate. In our perfect world, we’d love to see on-base and slugging percentages, and even Wins Above Replacement included. Strikeout and walk percentages, and batting average on balls in play for pitchers, too, please.

19. Stop the war on advanced statistics. In the decade since Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball, virtually every major league front office has incorporated advanced statistics into its decision-making processes. Alongside that, a growing faction of fans and media has come around to the idea that metrics such as Wins Above Replacement, Fielding Independent Pitching and Defensive Runs Saved — not to mention the flood of data produced by PITCHf/x — can free us from hoary, incorrect assumptions, increasing our knowledge and appreciation of the game. Yet a false dichotomy exists, whether framed as old media versus new, insiders versus outsiders, or scouts versus statheads. Particularly in the media, the dialogue is shrill, the narratives tortured beyond recognition. We all love baseball, and there’s more than enough room for everyone to coexist peacefully.

20. More tacos at ballparks, and better beer, too. This is basic common sense — baseball with beer and tacos is the three-run homer of combinations. Every ballpark should spice things up by featuring an abundance of quality taco options for meat-lovers, vegetarians, even vegans, because unlike the mystery meat in those scary, processed hot dogs, you can see what’s filling that tortilla. Accompany that by putting better beer on tap as well, ideally, locally produced brews reflecting the craft beer revolution. The Giants’ AT&T Park, which features local Anchor Brewing Co. stands as well as an all-star lineup at the Public House bar, is an exemplar befitting a World Series champion.

This article has been updated to include Kauffman Stadium in item 11.

112 comments
Yossarian
Yossarian

The union might accept phased elimination of the DH rule in return for expanding major league rosters to 26 or 27 players....   C'mon, DHers are just old beer-league sluggers who clog the bases.

Paaven
Paaven

No possible way you could expand instant replay and speed up the game. HR and fair/foul only. And don't have the ump go hide in a booth for 5 minutes either.

MaxPower0102
MaxPower0102

DON'T adopt DH in both leagues. get rid of the DH completely. Don;t let the union run (ruin?) the sport. In the OFFICIAL RULES OF BASEBALL, 1.00—Objectives of the Game. 1.01 Baseball is a game between two teams of nine players each, under direction of a manager....... So waht the hell are they playing in the American League?

UMJM13
UMJM13

People always say it, but strategy without a DH is no more or less complicated than with one.  It's usually entirely obvious what a manager is going to do in both cases, and in both the choices when they don't go by the book aren't any easier.

jeffd7
jeffd7

Baseball only needs three improvements 1. Speed up the game 2. Speed up the game 3. Speed up the game There are so many things baseball could do if they wanted to. No game should ever take more than 2.5 hours max.

nodon7
nodon7

You adopt the DH in the National League and I say goodbye to baseball. It is that simple.

JMikeCondreay
JMikeCondreay

1.  Baseball should greatly lower it's ticket prices, and in doing so, ban 3rd party ticket brokers from pricing families out of an enjoyable evening at the ball park.  $400 to see the Red Sox play the White Sox in Chicago.  That's 4 upper level tickets, parking, 4 dogs, 3 sodas and 1 beer! 

1a.  Premier pricing should also go away.  Don't upsell Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, or Cubs games simply because their fans are everywhere. 

2.  Keep the DH rule the way it is.  It isn't hurting the game, and as evident by the NL taking some recent titles, it isn't hurting their chances. 

3.  Can't say the NHL has done a lot of good, but I do like the salary cap, and the salary floor.  Put it in place and close the loopholes. 

4.  Standardize the seating capacity of MLB ballparks.  This will also go towards fixing #1. 

SteveAllen
SteveAllen

The first one is definitely a bad, bad idea. We don't need another excuse to pay government workers (the only workers who always get holidays off) for another day of not working. The only possibility would be to replace another holiday with it. Get rid of "Presidents' Day." As someone who's company only grants us New Year's Day, Memorial Day. the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, all other holidays mean nothing to me.

patrick.h.martin
patrick.h.martin

What about guaranteed contracts??? Shouldn't that be numbers 1, 4, 7, 12, and 18?

yahzooman
yahzooman

Interesting discussion.

 

1.  The games are too long.  Enforce the 20-sec. between pitch rule.  Get in there and hit!  Stop futzing with your batting gloves.  Additionally, when a ball is in the dirt, the catcher immediately exchanges it for a new ball from the umpire.  No need.  The little darlings can play with a ball that has a little dirt on it.  Just play ball.  (Pitchers who can manipulate a scuffed ball are an honored tradition anyway.)  Make the pitcher's 7 warm-up pitches between innings move right along.  When the TV people return from commercial break the pitcher should be winding up and delivering the first pitch of the inning.  Too much lag time now.  If we viewers miss the start of an inning, it's not a big deal; that's why God invented instant replay.

 

2.  Ditch the DH.  National League teams are much more fun to watch because of the strategy involved in pinch-hitting for the pitcher or using him to advance runners.

 

3.  Strengthen anti-PED rules. 

 

4.  Just two inter-league series per year, per team (one home, one away).  Obviously, Mets/Yankees, White Sox/Cubs, Nationals/Orioles, Angels/Dodgers and a few others have appeal.  Keep those natural rivalries and rotate all the other  teams.  (Sure, some teams will get screwed playing powerhouses every year.  Competitive balance may suffer.)   I'd prefer to do away with all of them actually.

 

5.  Keep replay out of baseball.  Replay challenges have only slowed down other sports, most notably the NFL.

 

6.  Having lived in Milwaukee, I actually bought a used car from Selig Ford.  It was a Mustang and a clunker.  It's time for Bud to go.

 

7.  Pair Vin Scully with Bob Uecker in the World Series booth.

AndrewEden-Balfour
AndrewEden-Balfour

With regards to number 9, that may be almost impossible with Montreal. The only stadium that is able to host a MLB team is the Olympic Stadium, and everybody is aware of how awful it is, and how run down it has become.

 

The only chance for Montreal to get a team is to build a brand new baseball stadium, and considering they only just finished paying for the last one only six years ago -30 years after it was built- they can't rely on taxpayer money. 

Mag533
Mag533

What a tool.  The only suggestion worth considering is Vin Scully calling a World Series.  The rest of the items come from a baseball uninformed dimwit.

MarkHanson
MarkHanson

I don't understand how eliminating the DH will take away jobs. Sorry, but if some 35+ hanger-on like David Ortiz should be allowed to play taking a spot away from a 25 year old with one option left, that is not saving a job, it is wasting money. NO DH PERIOD!. I get to hear from poor GM's how it is risky to have a pitcher get injured trying to bunt or run the bases. Oh no, we have to worry about a professional athlete making huge jack getting hurt doing a normal athletic activity. Stop the whining. Time for the blithering idiot Bud Selig to go and get Costas in as the new Commissioner. Guaranteed the DH is gone. Oh, and also end the practice of having roofs closed on domed stadiums unless the weather is really not good. Baseball is meant to be played outdoors. Yes Tampa, get a new stadium, there is money down there.

cbinmd
cbinmd

The DH takes away much of the strategy of the game, which is a large part of why I enjoy baseball.  

 

As for PEDs.  Put the burden on the group responsible for player well being, the players union.  The owners would be to go to the players union and tell them as a business we don't care what the players take.  However, we understand the health risks involved.  Therefore since the players union is to protect the players, the owners agree to pay for any PED testing and will implement any punishment you impose.  

DiegoMartini
DiegoMartini

Speed up the game!  It's like watching paint dry.

Tsinky
Tsinky

Mostly great ideas. A few thoughts from an old guy:

 

The DH really does diminish the game and needs to go away. If you make the pitchers hit, many of them will figure it out. They are good-to-great athletes with exceptional hand-to-eye coordination. A pitcher who can help himself at the plate and on the bases – thinking here of Tom Glavine, Don Gullett, Bob Gibson, among others – is entertaining to watch and valuable to his team. In a recent panel discussion, Tony LaRussa said he preferred managing in the National League, where managing a game is much more complex than in the American League.  He recounted the time when Sparky Anderson told LaRussa, while he was manager of the A's, how much he would love managing in the NL – and that Sparky was right.

 

The major leagues don't need more teams. If anything, they need to relocate failing franchises into promising new markets. Candidates? The Pirates, Royals, and Astros. I'm sure there are others.

 

The length of the games isn't the problem. Look at the NFL. With instant replay, the games are now 3 1/2 hours long and up – and people can't get enough of it. They do need to cut down on visits to the mound and time between pitches. The biggest problem is too many strikeouts. Management – on and off the field – have to address this and reward players who make contact and get on base.

 

On the subject of instant replay, MLB has to be careful of the problem that the NFL and college basketball have encountered: bringing the action to a dead stop for several minutes while the officials review a call. In an NCAA Tournament game Friday night, an instant replay stoppage in effect gave one of the teams a time out it didn't have and could have changed the outcome of the game. Have an actual umpire dedicated to replay, and authorize him to make the call – instantly if possible, but as quickly as he can.

 

Great post with a lot of food for thought.

Theo
Theo

WAR represented on scoreboards? Just stop kid.

Ben20
Ben20

Grew up in an AL city, but spent most of my adult life in an NL city. There is no comparison between AL ball and NL ball. NL ball is far more exciting to people that understand the game, as opposed to waiting for 3 run homers, running the bases station to station, and overlooking porr defense and baserunning thinking that the hitting will make up for it. In most NL games every position player gets in them  - be it as a pinch runner, pinch hitter or defensive replacement (and sometimes a pitcher is called upon as a PH or PR) . This not only makes the strategy more fun to follow, it makes the bench a part of the outcome.

 

For years I have subscribed to MLB.COM. The NL games are always more fun for me. Each run counts. Each runner moving up a base counts. Each OF hitting the cutoff man counts. Catchers that call a game, handle a pitching staff and play D count. 

 

I recently read a book written about 4-5 years ago. It was an oral history of 10 major changes in MLB. One chapter was on the DH. They spoke about the vote and how the NL would have gone along if Ruly Carpenter of the Phillies was available. But in retrospect, after talking to many of MLB's higher-ups, the authors ended by saying that if  the DH were put to a vote today and the players union was left out of it, MLB would take the DH out of the AL.

MichaelBoyle
MichaelBoyle

The "Open the Books" item is interesting, because it stands behind several of the others. The author writes about it like it's a bug - but it's a feature (in software lingo). A primary business goal of MLB since the last "work stoppage" has been for MLB franchises to generate value by extorting cities and states to build taxpayer-supported stadiums for the benefit of private citizens (the owners).

 

More than any other reason that's why the Expos are no longer in Montreal and also why Jeffrey Loria will always be welcomed warmly by other owners - he knows where the bodies are buried because he was the hand-picked executioner when it became clear that Canadian or Quebec tax dollars were never going to build a new stadium in Montreal.

 

MLB doesn't want to prevent future stadium scandals - that's one of the most important parts of its business plan.

Sportfan
Sportfan

Black Out Conditions are such a  terrible idea in these times, because as the article mentions there are other ways to see the game. Yes Bud Selig needs his butt kicked out of Baseball and have someone who is more open, Loria deserves to be banned from baseball and please bring a Montreal team back!

lyonbb
lyonbb

How about the two most important items: (1) shorten the games (2) find someway to appeal to anybody under the age of 35. 

annoyingfan
annoyingfan

This may be the worst article I've ever read on SI.com

morejunk
morejunk

Okay, baseball newbie here.  Why all the hate for the DH?

wlewisiii
wlewisiii

21) Make it a federal crime to use any taxpayer money to build a stadium for a privately owned sports team. 

 

22) Forget the fantasy that baseball is anything but a ponzi scheme being perpetuated upon generations of suckers who have been brainwashed into thinking standing around all day is some kind of sport.

 

 

billcraft1941
billcraft1941

Imbue field management with the concept that baseball is supposed to be entertaining. Stop encouraging deep counts; endless throws to first;too many pitching changes; slow working pitchers. Please realize that 4 hr. games are damaging to the sport. You have the strongest union in the history of labor....salary cap ain't going to happen.

ericjam25
ericjam25

How about a salary cap, that would greatly improve baseball for everyone

natikid513
natikid513

how about no. if the american league is so worried about it get rid the the DH and get back to real baseball

lobo9
lobo9

Great article Jaffe, a few things I'm not totally on board with, like the DH in the NL idea and the expansion of replay.  Call me old school but I believe baseball is 9 vs. 9 and poor calls are part of the game, for better of for worse.  Take it from a Braves fan who saw Chipper Jones' final Braves game be forever branded by an untimely, questionable umpiring call.  Keep the human element in baseball.  Honestly, I'm readily inclined to think people who blame umpires for outcomes of ballgames don't know much about the game itself.  To end on a positive note, opening the books would be fantastic and I've always thought San Juan would make a great market, although I'm not sold on any more Canadian teams.  Keep up the good work!

rar5331
rar5331

The gripe that a DH in the National League removes strategy and somehow makes it easier for professionals to manage a game that is played by professionals is false.  In the NL, pitchers mostly bat 9th and the statistics cited by Jaffe indicate that batter hits .129.  Adding a DH that hits better than .129 doesn’t make the game any easier for the pitchers who must now contend with a lineup that boasts players who hit better than .129. That change would definitely impact how pitchers, catchers, and managers respond to the lineup. Second, how does it remove strategy?  Will managers now cease paying attention to statistics (advanced and traditional) all because they have a DH?  That’s not going to happen. Managers would still need to make the decision of whether to pinch hit for the next-weakest player on their team, who may be a superb defensive player or specialist (just as they would a pitcher).  In that case, will trading-off a subpar hitter/good defensive player for a good hitter/subpar defensive player always be worth the risk? Sure, that answer could be easy in the situation.  But what about the second and third-order effects?  Do I have another capable defender at the position I am replacing?  If I replace the bad hitter with a better hitter, does the other team have a pitcher who negates this advantage? So, if the things which  change are a better hitter joins the lineup and a weaker hitter is removed, a pitcher is able to focus on just pitching, and the lineup decisions remain the same, then the game neither weakened or diluted.

mcgriddle
mcgriddle

Screw the DH, watered down baseball for children that don't understand the real game. Pitchers can't hit? Oh no, now there will be at least one at bat without the possibility of a home run, I better just leave the game right now.

 

Seriously, every time some writer trots this idea out it just devolves into a clusterfcuk, it's like bringing up abortion in a crowded room--there will immediately be two distinct sides, neither one willing to reconcile with one another. If the only compelling reasons to adopt the DH are it would cost players/teams money, and that pitchers are easy outs--I just don't see enough there to make such a sweeping change. The DH adds nothing to baseball for me, I would much rather watch smart managing lead to a win than an old washed up player that is allowed to stick around because he still hits halfway decent. Baseball is the only major sport that rewards aging stars by giving them cushy positions in the game itself--it offends me and I consider the American League to be inferior regardless of any stats you'd like to show me--it isn't real baseball.

UleNotknow
UleNotknow

Adding the DH would most certainly NOT improve the National League. It WOULD take much of the challenge out of managing.

Redwings1926
Redwings1926

Why does Montreal need another baseball team? Did this guy ever watch an Expos game? 90% of the fans were disguised as empty seats!! What makes this guy think that Montreal and Puerto Rico would be any better markets than Miami and Tampa are? 

 

And why do we need more interleague play, or have both leagues adopt the DH? Why not just leave well enough alone? Part of what always made the MLB interesting is how it pretty much operated as two separate leagues. 

AnthonyPelaia
AnthonyPelaia

I agree with most of what you want...especially about the umps that are easily angered. However, the advance stats for the most part are lousy. WARP is not a good stat on its own and the defensive metrics are simply EXECREBLE. Number 21 should be anyone that uses WARP twice in an article should be beaten with a slide rule in Central Park.

CarlinBeirne
CarlinBeirne

@JMikeCondreay How do you standardize capacity? No stadium bigger than the smallest one? Fenway, for example, is basically out of room. No more places to put seats to make it big enough to match to 4/5 of the league. Some teams rely on the large crowds when the name teams come in.

$400 though, y'all get jobbed. Would cost less than ~300 for that in Seattle, including gas from  Vancouver

MichaelUrciolo1
MichaelUrciolo1

 @yahzooman Disagree with #4 - they should schedule Interleague play with cities that don't have two clubs (or two clubs that are close in distance). When Montreal had a team, a fan once wrote that he loved interleage play because he had a chance to see Cal Ripkin Jr.

6. Agree. Bud isn't bad, but he's too old.

7. I would love to hear Vin and Bob in the world series! What a great suggestion!

 @0clc 

 

Brett_Buck
Brett_Buck

 @Mag533 Not really uninformed. Like all internet "sports journalists" they get paid, directly or indirectly, based on page hits. Just like any other internet trolling, you throw in asinine ideas like universal DH (which just about no one other than aging power hitters actually want) and then watch the hit counter spin. No one ever responds to something they agree with. 

doohan
doohan

 @DiegoMartini And easy to do. Don't let the batter step out of the batter's box unless he makes contact. No more pulling at gloves, scratching, knocking dirt from cleats. This would take 1/2 off of every game.

John NoLastName
John NoLastName

 @Tsinky What "promising new markets" would that be? All the markets large enough to support a Major League franchise are already taken, unless you consider someplace like Mexico or Puerto Rico.

The only available North American markets of at least 2 million population are Montreal and Portland, OR. Montreal we know about. Portland would be smaller than all but three other existing MLB markets, so do you really want to go there?

So where else are you going to put a team?

BDF3
BDF3

 @Tsinky First the DL isn't going anywhere just for the reasons of the article.  While I don't like the DH either I know it is an inevitability that it will be adopted in the NL some day.

 

Second, relocating the Astros because if is a failing franchise...Sigh.  Don't talk about things you don't know about.  The Astros until very recently enjoyed massive fan support and if they put a quality product on the field the fans would return again.  Houston can't help it if an owner destroys his own farm system, signs over the hill players, and follows lock and step with Selig on paying players in the draft to the detriment of the team.  Houston has been a great baseball city for many years and with the size of that market it makes no sense to relocate.  I don't know as much about KC or Pittsburgh so I won't comment.  You should follow suit in the future.

UMJM13
UMJM13

 @Ben20 That has nothing to do with the DH, or the NL.  You just described more than one AL team.

anonymousbin
anonymousbin

 @morejunk Real baseball should require players play both offense and defense. Having a special role for pitchers and a DH screws that up.

Bolshevisky
Bolshevisky

 @morejunk

 It's not baseball, the pitcher gets to have a goon hit for him. Just think about it, every position on the field hits - except the pitcher for some reason. Of course, it's not "no" reason, the reason is more HR's, excitement, you don't have an "automatic out" every time around. You could argue that offense has increased to the point where this is no longer necessary, the problem is that now the players unions will never let the DH go - it means more jobs for baseball players.

 

So, we're stuck with it in the AL, for better or worse.

Bolshevisky
Bolshevisky

 @wlewisiii

 I bet you're pretty good at standing around all day - why aren't you on a ML roster?

MattBugaj
MattBugaj

 @ericjam25 The luxury tax system does no worse for the competitive balance on the field than the NFL or NBA salary caps. Those two are so fraught with exemptions that they do little to help anyway. With the new television deals coming, everyone will have the opportunity to spend more, so that only poorly-run teams will be at a true disadvantage. The salaries will start to cap themselves the more we see players ceasing excellence in their early 30's.

MattBugaj
MattBugaj

 @lobo9 If the ump doesn't call infield fly, does the shortstop run out of the way thinking the left fielder had it?

tonydmtl
tonydmtl

 @Redwings1926 You obviously have the faintest idea on the actual history of the Expos and how the fans endured countless firesales and a stadium not even the Yankees would fill seats in. Inform yourself - then talk.

anonymousbin
anonymousbin

 @BDF3  @Tsinky Actually, Astros aren't considered a failing franchise. Many people in baseball would *love* to be able to do what the Astros are doing, which is being able to blow it up if it's so messed up to fix it, instead of being cursed is being no better than mediocre for the next 15 years.

 

What's pissed me off more is that Selig screwed Houston fans to line his pocketbook. The Astros would still be in the NL Central if The Shrugger didn't move his Brewers there.

 

 

Bolshevisky
Bolshevisky

 @MattBugaj  @ericjam25

 Not a bad explanation from Matt but the real reason is the MLB Players Union opposes salary caps and they are far stronger than players unions in other major sports.