:Baseball-If I Were King”
The All Star Game was about big plays, Home Run Derby, the Futures Game, and the leaders of the game sounding off.
Tony Clark, head of the Union, and Commissioner Rob Manfred both had lots to say yesterday about the state of the game.
I will have my say now about what they’re saying.
DESIGNATED HITTER…..Makes alot of sense to me to have the DH in both leagues. Some will argue same rules in the game for both the NL-AL. I say there’s no excitement in having National League pitchers, with a combined batting average of (.077) coming to the plate eight times a game. The DH allows you to keep great players in the game (Albert Pujols) to do one thing hit, even if they cannot do other things, fielding, very well. Why not add 15-quality veterans to NL rosters. Makes the game better?
THE SHIFT…..Alot of barking about what analytics have done to the game, never more so than the defensive shift. Five years ago, it was employed 2,400 times in a season. This last year, the shift was employed 36,000 times bymajor league managers. And hitters, against the shift, hit a combined (.234) last year. It’s taken some of the electricity out of offenses.
HOW TO CHANGE IT…Do you ban it completely, I would, but baseball is talking about allowing a 3rd infielder to stand behind 2nd base, and the 1st and 2nd baseman cannot be on the outfield grass. Maybe all three fielders have to be on the dirt, and no one in the outfield. This will be debated, unless you outlaw it completely.
PACE OF PLAY….The :20 pitch clock is coming. The new rules to speed up the game, linmiting mound visits, cutting time between half innings, has worked. The games, that were at (3:05) last season are at (2:59:30) this year, and the games seem quicker. Adopt the minor league pitch clock, that is working down there, up here and further refine the game.
PITCHING CHANGES…Cannot tamper with anything that interrupts the strategy of the game. You cannot outlaw the Bruce Bochy rule (use 3-relievers in an inning)…just like you shouldn’t outlaw pitching matchups (lefty-vs-lefty) things like that. Managers have only so many arms in the bullpen, don’t tamper with how they use them.
25 MAN ROSTER….With the injury factor growing, especially with pitchers injuries, shouldn’t baseball consider a 26-or-27 man roster for the entire season. It helps with the wear and tear factor for sure. especially with staffs likely to go to twelve pitchers for team. And the Union should be happy, two more major league roster jobs per club, that’s 60-new jobs a year.
40 MAN ROSTERS….Who cares how many are on your protected list. Expand it to 50 players on the protected list, so therefore you can call up and send out players, without the juggling act of putting guys on waivers. It halps GMs do their job, and gives managers more access to players. Look at the DL list, (Angels have 17-on theirs) and tell me it wouldn’t make the job better for front offices and players.
EXPANSION….It should come, but building stadiums have to come before expansion comes. MLB needs to be in the stadium construction business like the NFL. Pro football’s G-3 loan funds have helped alot franchises get stadiums built. MLB needs to be a partner to solve the A’s-Rays crisis in Oakland and Tampa, the expand to 32-teams..
EXPANSION CITIES…..The economy and life is different in Quebec now, and Montreal would be an ideal city. So possibly would be Portland and Charlotte. Now everyone wants to pile into Las Vegas. Mexico City seems a long shot, but it is a huge market. But the economy, the culture, and the safety issues all need to be evaluated. And of course (see last paragraph) the prospective cities have to get new stadium. Nobody wants to go back into Olympic Stadium in Quebec, and Azteca Stadium does not work in Mexico.
DRAFT PICK TRADES…..MLB is different than the NFL-NBA-NHL. You cannot trade draft picks. You can legislate laws, you are trying to legislate intelligence in baseball? Why not allow picks to be traded for veteran players? Makes the game more interesting. Helps teams that want veteran players. Allows others to stockpile young talent, that may or may not develop.