Playing the God of Baseball

I am not the god of baseball. But you already knew that. I don’t want to be “Commissioner for a day.” What’s the fun in that? I mean, after all, if I’m Commissioner then I have to deal with Michael Weiner and the MLBPA. No, I want to do whatever I please without anything getting in the way.

So, if I had the powers to do whatever I please, what would I do? Here’s a sampling:

Abolishing the DH

Let’s get the easy one out of the way: I’m killing the DH. It’s time for the NL and AL to play by the same rules. Yeah, you’re going to get more bunts than before and guys like Thome and Manny have shorter careers, but it’s time to put a fork in it if for no other reason than to keep AL pitchers from looking like fools in the postseason when they come to the plate.

Expanded Instant Replay

If there are boundary calls for homeruns, let’s go one step more and say that instant replay should be used for foul balls. It’s not going to go as far as some would like, but at the very least the gaffe that Phil Cuzzi made in Game 2 of last year’s ALDS doesn’t happen anymore. When you look at how bad that call was, it’s an easy decision to make. I’m sure Joe Mauer agrees with me.

The Luxury Tax in Reverse

I can’t take credit for this one, but in a lengthy discussion with ESPN’s Jayson Stark, I came to really respect his idea of using a scaled tax at the bottom of the revenue scale, much like the Competitive Balance Tax at the top. In this instance, there’s a minimum payroll threshold to which clubs must adhere. You can opt to go below it, but if so, you get taxed for every dollar below. The change would keep clubs such as the Marlins from pulling in such high levels of revenue sharing, while fielding low player payroll year after year. You could do – just as is the case with the Luxury Tax – increased tax rates for those that go below the threshold in consecutive years.

Teeth in the Luxury Tax

While we’re at it, I’m tired of the Yankees thumbing their nose at the Luxury Tax and busting through the thresholds each and every year. It’s time to make it so painful that they throttle back. If I have my way, the tax rate starts at 50%, escalates to 70% for breaking the threshold a second consecutive time, and 90% for each consecutive time thereafter. I think I just heard Hank Steinbrenner faint… either that or punch a wall.

Loria, the Nuttings, David Glass, and Frank McCourt

Gentlemen, thanks for playing… you’re all fired. Time to get some owners in position that either want to be competitive instead of getting fat on Luxury Tax dollars, or (as is the case with McCourt) realize that coming into ownership leveraged deep and then going up to your gills in debt isn’t good for the best interests of baseball. Go ask Tom Hicks what I think of him.

Giving Mark Cuban a Chance

I’ve written repeatedly that Mark Cuban will never be allowed to be part of the ownership brethren during the Selig tenure and likely with his successor. Since Bud and the owners don’t have any say in this fantasy, I’m letting Cuban buy the Pirates after the Nuttings are removed. I have a stipulation, however… Cuban has to wear a shock collar, and if he gets any closer to the field than lower bowl concourse during a game, he gets hit with high voltage. I figure this will put an end to any notion that Cuban goes all “NBA on the umpires” like he’s done with the refs at Mavericks games. Come to think of it, this in-game entertainment might be more fun than the Sausage Races. I imagine that given time, Cuban couldn’t help himself and would take the volts rather than bite his tongue.

Putting a Limit on Mound Trips

Watching the postseason last year, I think Jorge Posada spent nearly as much time on the pitching mound as some of the relievers. I’m putting a cap on the number of trips a catcher can make to the mound at 4 during a game. The number likely gets you two trips for the starter, and two for the relief staff. That should be plenty.

Balancing the Divisions

As baseball god, I’m giving this one to the people. But no matter how you realign the league, the AL West has to go from 4 to 5 and the NL Central from 6 to 5. Make the league 6 Divisions of 5. I’m sure you’re creative. Let’s hear your comments.

Postseason Games On Sat. and Sun. Have Daytime Starts

FOX will pitch a fit, but I don’t care. This is about growing the game for the next generation. I’m will to compromise and give you weekdays for prime time, but on the weekends, 3pm ET starts allows the youngest of baseball fans to catch 9 innings, and maybe a couple more if extra frames are needed before hitting the rack. You’ll thank me when kids that have become more in-tune with other sports start getting hooked on MLB again.

Using a Clock for Exhibition Games

The game needs to pick up the pace, but I’m not ready for a “pitch clock” for games that count, and that includes Spring Training. But, the SEC added not one, but two play clocks in tournament play this year, and I want to see how big league players would react. It’s a good thing Nomar’s retired.

No More Home Field Advantage with the All-Star Game

If the league wants to allow fans to vote up to 25 times for All-Star selections, then I want no more of the winner of the Mid-Summer Classic having home field advantage in the World Series. Pure and simple, the team with the best regular season record gets it. Figure out another way to incentivize the players. Here’s something novel… The winning team gets a hefty bonus. Make the “purse” a selling point. Start with $1 million and escalate the amount each year to the winners. That should redefine, “This time it counts.”

Adding 2 More Teams Into the Postseason

MLB has the fewest percentage of their clubs advancing to the postseason of any of the other Big-4 sports. I say, add in two more Wild Card teams. To keep owners that have teams missing the playoffs from pitching a fit about lost games, the regular season will be compressed on the calendar by adding a novel suggestion: Bring back more day-night double-headers.

Death to Blackouts

There’s certainly more that could be monkeyed with here. I’m sure I’ve missed something (I never addressed Tim McCarver or Joe Morgan). But of all the things I’d change, I end with the most important of the lot: I’m killing off MLB’s television blackout policy with the exception of the postseason. There are so many regular season games played in MLB that the idea that blackouts will drive fans to the ballpark is bordering on lunacy at this stage. When you throw in the arcane and often times expansive broadcast territories, there’s nothing beneficial for the fans with the blackout policy. And if the league would catch a clue, you grow your product by making it readily available to the masses, not by restricting consumers, which should made dissolving the blackout policy a win for the owners, as well. Oh, and FOX and ESPN… Sorry, your days of national exclusivity deals are history. To baseball fans, I am releasing you from bondage.

Finally… What would you change?

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Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for freelance and looks forward to your comments.

158 Responses to “Playing the God of Baseball”

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  1. Dusty Baker says:

    “but it’s time to put a fork in it if for no other reason than to keep AL pitchers from looking like fools in the postseason when they come to the plate.”

    NL pitchers this season have an OPS+ of -1. I don’t think it’s the lack of reps making AL pitchers look like fools. DH for both leagues.

    +32 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Piccamo says:

      I agree. There is nothing fun about watching a pitcher pull a muscle trying to stretch a single to a double, getting beaned on the hand or leg, or be an automatic out.

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    • Handwasher says:

      Besides, the argument works the other way too. Not letting them hit is as effective at keeping them from looking like fools as making the AL pitchers learn to hit. DH all around!

      Get rid of the left-handed balk/pickoff move! Step of the back of the rubber and come up with a better move.

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    • Bill says:

      Men with the talent to hit major league pitching are extremely rare. Also, men with the ability to get major hitters out are extremely rare. It’s absurd to expect the latter to also be the former. Pitching and hitting are distinct skills. I don’t want to see a pitcher trying to hit any more than I want to see a defensive tackle or a point guard trying to hit. When I go to a MLB game I expect to see MLB hitters and MLB pitchers. MLB pitchers are not MLB hitters, so don’t force me to watch them attempt to be.

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      • TK says:

        Men with the talent to field at the major league level is rare, too. How about 9 players for offense and 9 for defense? And why not let the manager let the guy he wants to hit do so as many times as he wants? Pujols strikes out. Put him up there again!!! Holliday drives in Pujols. Don’t take that helmet off just yet, Machine, grab your bat!!!

        It’s baseball… only it’s not.

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    • Everett says:

      Abolish the pitcher hitting. There’s no reason to keep having miserable hitters go up to the plate.

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      • Tim in Springfield says:

        I hate the DH…but you know what I hate more: seeing Chris Carpenter pull an oblique on a swing or seeing Josh Beckett injuring himself before the start of a May 10 game against the Toronto Blue Jays by taking practice swings. Let’s not even get into all the pitchers who have hurt themselves on the basepaths.

        Does it hurt the history of baseball by not haveing pitchers hit? Sure. Would I rather not risk Chris Carpenter? Absolutely.

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      • Nick says:

        Chien Ming Wang was the most drastic one, I think, Tim… His career has simply been in straight freefall since he hurt his leg on the basepaths. From a sub 4 ERA and an 18 game winner (a.k.a. ACE for 2 years) to a DL, minor league contract guy.

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    • phoenix says:

      definitely agree. with the way pitching is looking these days, lineups need more punch, not less. pitching has looked much more dominant the way that hitting did during the steroids era. power numbers are down across the board and era’s are getting better. i want to see more than one player with over 40 homers in a season. now the biggest power bats in the league are getting closer to 30 homers than 50 like they used to. i say give both leagues a DH and make the pitchers have work against 9 real hitters in a lineup. also a team drafts a pitcher for their ability to pitch, not hit. why should they have to worry about hitting when its so not their job? give DH to both leagues.

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    • Tigerdog says:

      Implement the DH in both leagues to cut down on pitcher injuries, and abolish pitch counts!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ken says:

      Anyone who does their job at the park without a glove isn’t a baseball player.

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    • Mike B. says:

      Yes. It’s time to have DH for both leagues.

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    • Max says:

      – No, watching pitchers “hit” is so much fun. Get rid of the DH! Or, switch interleague games so the away-team’s rules are used. Then I (a Seattleite) get to see my pitchers try to hit without having to travel to other cities. And DH’s would be used when AL teams visit NL parks.

      – Balancing the divisions in the way you specified doesn’t work because there would have to be an interleague game or two teams with a day off, every day.

      – I agree with more playoff teams. But how would it be structured?

      – And definitely no more all-star game deciding WS home-field advantage. It’s an exhibition game!

      – One more thing. Reinstate Joe Jackson!

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  2. Dan V. says:

    I agree. Make the NL have the DH and get on with it.

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    • Kevin R says:

      What I came to post. I agree the NL and AL should play by the same rules, but the way to do it is move the NL out of the 1960s and have them adopt the DH.

      Also, if each league had 15 teams, at least one team per league would have to have an off day every day. They made it 14/16 on purpose. Now, if we’re adding more day/night doubleheaders, then maybe that would make up for the extra off days.

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      • Evan Kirkwood says:

        Unless each league has the same rules and then you would have interleague matchups all season long, similar to the NFL.

        +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Locke says:

      I think it’s a better game with the DH.

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      • brownra2 says:

        Electronic ball/strike calls. And the most important part of this would be restoring the top of the strike zone.

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      • markdash says:


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      • Dan says:

        Definately – the fact that umpires can have such a dramatic effect on the game, either through their own inflated egos or through incompetence is ridiculous. Why the hell should veteran SP get an extra inch or two off the edge of the plate than a rookie? Because they have earned it? Please. A generic strikezone is needed and it is not like the technology isn’t there.

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  3. N00bious says:

    I would somehow like to see a system of relegation and promotion like they have in European football leagues. That way you don’t have teams like the Pirates and Royals getting 60 wins every year and benefiting from revenue sharing.

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    • Piccamo says:

      So you want to get rid of the farm system and completely redesign minor league baseball then or do you just want to penalize teams for stockpiling young talent?

      “The Durham Bulls look pretty good. Orioles down, Durham up. Sorry Tampa Bay, your players are now property of another franchise.”

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      • Matt K says:

        agreed. I like the idea but it doesn’t work.

        But, I was thinking with the “balancing of divisions”, you can have the two suckiest teams play against AAA teams. and each year, the two suckiest teams go down, and the two teams that were down, go back up (can’t play against AAA teams two years in a row).

        if both leagues are the same on the dh rule, then you can shift teams between al&nl while penalizing the two suckiest teams each year (they still get their top draft picks, but they have to suffer a year in the gates – incentivise winning).

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      • Piccamo says:

        @Matt K:

        I’m not so sure your idea would work, either. Teams rely very heavily on gate revenue and season ticket sales to run the franchise. If losing teams take an even bigger hit at the gates they might never be competitive. Generally that system is fine as is and even the teams that have been bad for a long time (Royals, Pirates, Orioles) are on their way back to being competitive.

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      • Vinnie says:

        It would obviously have to be independent league teams making the jump. Heck, I wouldn’t mind seeing the St. Paul Saints and Newark Bears replacing the Pirates and Royals.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt K says:

        @Piccamo: Since we’re playing gods here, how about this. Allow the team that moves down to dump one contract (screw the mlbpa), and also get an extra sandwich pick in the draft.

        It gives them extra cheap talent, and a little bit extra financial flexibility.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Mitch says:

    I am 100% certain that Mark Cuban will not be an owner during the tenure of Bud Selig’s “predecessor”.

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  5. grandbranyan says:

    15 team leagues are fine, there’s just one interleague series at all times.

    Two wild cards play a 3 game series, followed by a 5 game DS and 7 game CS.

    I for one enjoy the DH discrepancy. If only because watching Braun in the field gives me sick pleasure.

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  6. YankeesJunkie says:

    There is no reason to abolish the DH. Watching pitchers hit is just ridiculous and it has hurt the NL during the 15 years.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. don says:

    Any umpire who uses his position to promote bad country or bluegrass music has to box Kyle Farnsworth.

    +28 Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. DH Both Leagues says:

    Pitchers pitch, hitters hit. Fielders field? Nah, DF (designated fielders) would be an awful addition. Let’s not forget the Twins wouldn’t even be in the playoffs if not for a blown call on the Brandon Inge HBP.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Zach says:

    Move the Astros to the AL West, creating a new intrastate rivalry.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. John says:

    Baseball absolutely needs a “clock.” Pitchers don’t need to wander off the mound, rub the ball and look at the birds…If you have to “gather” yourself after every pitch, don’t make the rest of us suffer. The same goes for batters. Unless you’re bleeding, no stepping out. Buy gloves and jocks that fit correctly, stop adjusting them and swing already! AND put a limit on pitching changes in an inning. Let’s call it the LaRussa Rule. I don’t know if he’ll be in the managing hall of fame, but he’ll surely be in the over-managing hall of fame. Stop the madness.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jamie says:

      I’m against adding a clock, but absolutely agree with the sentiment. How about this: if a pitcher steps off the mound during an at-bat, it’s a ball. If the batter steps out of the box after the first pitch, it’s a strike. They can call a time out if they really need to, but there has to be a valid reason (dirt in their eyes or something).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Chris says:

        Then what about lame half-assed pickoff throws to 1B? Gotta limit those too. Oh, and bring back the foul out. Watch those OBP’s start inflating while the AVG’s plummet.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Tim in Springfield says:

        I remember a Bob Gibson interview where he was asked about the batters nowadays stepping out of the box on every pitch. His response (paraphrased): “If I was on the hill and the hitter stepped out of the box I’d let him do it once. If he did it again I’d give him a real reason to get out of the box…by diving out of the way and into the dirt!”

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. joeiq says:

    I like the All star game change the best. Play for money.

    I don’t like adding teams to the post season. In baseball there is too much luck, you’re just adding the amount lesser teams that could go on a hot streak.

    I’m more in favor of adding a new york team than getting tougher on the luxury tax. I would say move the Marlins to the area.

    I agree with balancing the divisions and reverse luxury tax also. Maybe move a team to Oklahoma?

    DH’s are tricky. I would probably leave it like it is. Ok in one league but not the other. I definitely would not expand DHs.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. JWTP says:

    Instead of the 3 division winners and a Wild Card making the playoffs, make the 4 best teams make the playoffs. This may be rarely relevant, but in every case it is, it would be a case where a division winner in a weak division, feasting off the unbalanced schedule, beats out a second team in another stronger division. The NL this year is a good example: no team in the Central is over .500 against the West and almost every team in the NL is over .500 against the Central, and the Rockies, Giants, and Padres have all reached good records playing many games against one another while the Reds have reached a good record killing the teams in their weak division and going .500 against everyone else. This has a lot of the effects Jayson Stark looked to in adding a 5th team to the playoffs without wondering what to do with a 5th team e.g. giving the 3rd team in the AL East a greater incentive by giving them a chance to make the playoffs ahead of the AL West/Central winner. In a season so long, a team with a better/competitive record in a stronger division has to be rewarded with a playoff spot.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike says:

      Yeah, I think you need to include Atlanta/Philly. I think those 5 teams deserve to make the playoffs over Cinci, but only 3 of them will.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Joe Twinsfan says:

    A few minor points and one big one. 1. Do something to limit the number of throws you can make to first. I don’t care if its 2 throws per batter or drawing a line the dirt past which our can’t lead off and abolishing pickoffs altogether but nothing kills the suspense like a lame pickoff attempt.

    2. No batters’ timeouts if you haven’t taken a swing.

    3. Pitch timer. I watched a Mark Buehrle-Carl Pavano game in under 2 hours in July and it was fantastic. Get the ball back, get the sign, throw the ball. its that simple.

    And the big change I’d make is related to your weekend day game playoff idea: kill MLBAM’s stranglehold on highlights. The NBa does this. you can go to YouTube and watch endless fan-edited highlight reels of Lebron and Kobe, why can’t I see that with Pujols home runs or Torii Hunter home run thefts at the wall or Elvis Andrus’s mastery of shortstop?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Aaron/YYZ says:

      Amen! Nothing spreads the game like fan enthusiasm and just having the images of the game out there for people to see.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Tim in Springfield says:

      But then the Kip Wells of the world wouldn’t have a job…What am I saying?!! Thats a great idea!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Josh says:

      On point 1. As obnoxious as multiple throws to first base is, limiting it gives a severe advantage to the runner. Using a fake move, then your good move, now the runner knows you can’t throw to first and can make as big of a lead-off as he wants. Might as well give the guy second base.
      You can’t limit how far someone can lead off, that is part of the game, some guys take huge ones, some take next to none.

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  14. Zack says:

    Is that what they think about blackouts? I just want to be able to watch games on my iPod from time to time. Sometimes I’m at school where they broadcast Mets games but I’m still about 3 hours away from the stadium…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Bill says:

      When you root your phone, you will be able to mask/change your location. At least, you can do this with Android.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mike says:

        If you jailbreak the iPhone you can really easily.

        Do you know why it’s so much easier to mask your location with phones, than it is to do that with a computer?

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  15. lexomatic says:

    I would return to a balanced scheduled. none of this forcing rivalries stuff.
    give everyone the same # of games against the good and bad teams in the league & the revenue drawing teams. it’s the ONLY fair thing to do.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Dan says:

    Remove divisions, top four records in each league reach the playoffs.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. MikeS says:

    I don’t think MLB is worried about Cuban’s exuberance or even his mouth – they can always fine him. I think they are afraid that he would be the one doing thingas like leaking the Marlins financial reports and that they can not tolerate.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      MLB is worried that Cuban will actually spend money and drive up player salaries.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Kevin S. says:

        Which, by the way, is why they hate the Yankees – has nothing to do with competitive imbalance. A more punitive luxury tax would be employed to suppress salary, not promote further competitive balance.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Mitch says:

        Kevin, why do you care if the Yankees drive up player salaries? Would you prefer to have you money line the pockets of Peter Angelos, David Glass and Frank McCourt?

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      • MikeS says:

        He didn’t say he was against higher player salaries. He said the other owners are. He’s probably correct in that statement. Most of them would probably prefer Jeffrey Loria’s business model toHank Stienbrenner’s.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        As I am A) a Libertarian and B) a Yankee fan, I am most certainly not in favor of a punitive luxury tax. MikeS is right – I’m simply calling it how Bud and his cronies see it.

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  18. Paul says:

    I forget where I saw this, but instead of voting for the All-Star starters, why not vote for the All-Star finishers? Let the mandatory players get their time in and pinch hit for them in the fifth. That way, instead of the game hanging on a marginal All-Star from say Kansas City up with two outs in the ninth, you see a guy like Ichiro.

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    • Mike says:

      I’m not really sure it makes that much of a difference. Ichiro will get 2 ab’s and the KC guy will get one. I don’t think it matters if the KC guy gets it in the first (vs. the best starter) or in the 9th (vs the best closer)

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  19. skyjo says:

    No more blackouts!

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  20. Greg Gallagher says:

    “……it’s time to put a fork in it if for no other reason than to keep AL pitchers from looking like fools in the postseason when they come to the plate.”

    Consider this point fully from every angle and the only logical conclusion is the NL needs a DH……..!

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  21. NBarnes says:

    The owners are ecstatic at this list. Luxury tax with teeth, but nothing done to keep player salaries in line with revenues, and draftees and minor league players are still OMG teh fuxxored.

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  22. Bronnt says:

    I don’t agree with limiting catcher visits. I mean, I just don’t want to see situations with a runner on second in the 9th inning where the catcher clearly doesn’t know what the pitcher is about to throw, but he can’t visit the mound without suffering a penalty, so he just closes his eyes throws his mitt up. Certain times the pointless delays in a game are really annoying, but there needs to exist free communication between the two players touching the ball the most.

    Speeding things up can be done other ways. Limit the batter to one time-out per AB, barring injury. You can put a timer on the pitcher, but make it longer than seems necessary. 50 seconds is more than enough, but I’ve seen certain Yankees pitchers repeatedly take a full minute between pitches. In 50 seconds you can go to the rosin bag, wipe your brow, get back on the rubber, step off and look to first, look back in, shake off a sign, and deliver a pitch easily. You can throw over one or two times in that span.

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  23. Ricky says:

    Allow teams to trade draft picks…. overhaul the Elias rankings, arbitration system, and system of draft compensation… add a 5th umpire in the booth to immediately correct clearly blown calls without lengthening the game… hold umpires accountable for mistakes (get rid of “Cowboys” and similar attitudes) and make the evaluation process more transparent… add the DH to the NL rather than getting rid of it from the AL… require that Scott Boras always reveal the name of “mystery teams” who have supposedly entered the bidding for one of his clients

    +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. GTStD says:

    I’m gonna side with you on this one and say abolish the DH. I’m a purist… everyone plays the field, everyone hits the ball. Starting pitchers don’t pitch every 3rd day anymore. If you don’t like that they can’t hit, why not have pitchers spend a couple of hours during one of their 4 days not pitching actually learning how to hit. Or at least, not forgetting how to hit… most pitchers in the MLB could hit pretty well in their youth… its the fact that the DH has prevented them hitting throughout the minors that they suck at it… maybe if the DH was abolished throughout professional baseball, someone on the coaching staff would be responsible for making sure pitchers aren’t automatic outs.

    I’m also tired of the “I don’t want to see pitchers look stupid” argument for the DH. I’m tired of seeing it too, but I’m even more tired of seeing players like David Ortiz make the all-star team, when they don’t ever play in the field. He’s a baseball player, and thus should have to play baseball… on offense and defense. Same for pitchers.

    Plus, I just can’t get over the beauty of the symmetry of NL Baseball. 9 guys vs. 9 guys.

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    • Tremont says:

      The reason we have a DH in the first place is that pitchers were awful at hitting in the olden days. The DH is not the cause of pitchers not being able to hit. It is a reasonable solution to the problem.

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      • GTStD says:

        Well, its a solution to be sure.

        Situation: Pitchers can’t hit.

        Solution A: Let’s just replace them with someone who can hit by changing the rules so pitchers don’t need to.

        Solution B: Make the pitchers better at hitting or live with the fact that they are bad at it.

        I’m always a fan of trying to make a team better within the context of the rules rather than changing the rules of the game to avoid the problem. The DH does make the lineups tougher, and does avoid the problem of watching pitchers look silly swinging at crappy balls, but it does so by changing the rules. Why not just have an 8-man lineup, and leave that spot out of the lineup entirely? Why not allow pitchers to hit off a tee? Or let them have a bigger bat? I much prefer solution B, which, in my opinion, maintains the purity of the game better.

        Plus, I personally like the situations that arise as a result of having the pitcher hit. For instance, when you have 2-down, runners on 2nd and 3rd, and the 8th spot up in a tie game… unless you are playing a La Russa team, you get to ask questions like: do you walk him and pitch to the pitcher, allowing your counterpart a chance to beat you in exchange for the higher likelihood that you can get him out? Do you go ahead and pitch to the guy, knowing that if you get him out, you get the pitcher leading off the next inning? If you pitch around the 8th spot, will the opposing manager pinch hit and knock their starter out of the game? Who would they send up in that case? Who’s in the bullpen if they send in a power lefty to hit? Does the starter matchup well against him? If the DH is in, your 9th spot hitter is probably better than any of the bench players (unless he’s just a phenomenal fielder), and your starter can just keep pitching, and so there really isn’t a situation at all.

        Baseball is about situations and the strategy the manager uses to attack them. For me, its not about how many runs are scored or how hard the ball is it… its more subtle and complex. The DH takes away from that; the situations are much less interesting, and as far as I’m concerned, makes for a much less entertaining game.

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  25. Vinnie says:

    I agree mostly everywhere except the suggestion to add more playoff teams. I vehemently come down on the opposite (less popular) side of the argument. I would far prefer going back to 1993, and I would even prefer 1968 to the current format. Like someone said above, the Wild Card has added too much luck to the process. I find it impossible to think of the World Series winner as any more than the champion of a four-week tournament, not of the entire season.

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  26. Tom says:

    For realignment, we can forget about a team in Las Vegas. That was my hope when the Nationals’ franchise moved from Montreal. Instead, how about this:

    The Texas Rangers play in the AL West, despite being in Texas? So why can’t the Astros play in a western division too? Now, this gives two options:

    1. Move the Astros to the AL West and create a natural rivalry between the two Texas squads. For the Astros, this would make their chances of making the playoffs increase sooner. But it might not make sense to have your only two clubs from Texas in the same division.

    2. Move the Astros to the NL West. You would then need to move a team from the NL West to the AL West. The Dodgers and Giants both have history of rivalries and being in the senior circuit. Both teams also already reside in a city where an AL club plays. Therefore, the options would be either the Padres or the Rockies. Considering how Coors Field is such a hitter-friendly park to begin with, leave them in the NL and move the Padres to the AL West. They can develop a natural rivalry with the Mariners.

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    • Everett says:

      “natural rivalry with the Mariners”

      Yes, nothing causes a rivalry like sharing a spring training complex. The Padres-Mariners “rivalry” in interleague is about the silliest thing around.

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    • Andross says:

      On 2, I’ve always thought this was a good idea. My thought was to move either the Rockies or D-Backs to the AL, since they have the least ties to the NL, being the newest NL teams.

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    • baty says:

      “Balancing the Divisions”
      This imbalance might be the most embarrassing in professional sports.



      Go back to a league balanced schedule and eliminate divisions leaving MLB with 2 15 team leagues competing for the top 4 records in each league. 8 teams playoff through only the 7 game series elimination format.

      At this point divisions don’t make sense. MLB can still develop travel plans that reflect the divisional organizations (if they refuse to eliminate divisional play, then I would use what I have above.

      I would also be happy with eliminating inter-league play, unless the inter-league schedule is completely balanced. Switching divisional opponents each year and having a “rival series” is way too ridiculous. If you need to add the DH in the NL because of the Players Union, then do it. MLB needs to equalize league structures completely.

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      • Scruffy says:

        I like all the ideas of realignment, (especially baty’s which finally lets the Mountain Time Zone into the AL) but there’s still the issue of an odd number of teams. 15 teams can’t all play at once. So, at any given time, there will be one team in each league not playing.

        UNLESS! we change the Inter-league system. Instead of playing four straight series against teams from the Senior/Junior Circuits in mid-June teams would be tossed into the inter-league mixer at more random intervals. Basically, while 14 teams play one another in intra-league games, the left over teams play one another, you can keep the “regional rivalries” or chuck them out the window and let only meaningful ones (Chicago/New York/LA/Texas/Bay Area) survive while cutting the rest of the teams loose to play whoever’s free during a given three day stretch.

        One major drawback here is that you’d have a hard time ensuring consistency within the divisions as to who they’re playing, but even now that’s not a sure thing. I mean, the Twins faced the Phillies & the Rockies, while the White Sox faced the Nationals and the Pirates (both faced the Braves and equally marginal teams in the Brewers, Cubs, Marlins, Mets). If you’re fighting for a division title with uneven schedules in the first place, you might as well introduce more randomness to it. At least this way you’re less likely to have, say, the Reds miss the Wild Card because three AL East teams got fat facing the Indians and Royals.

        Problem seen, problem solved.

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  27. Randall says:

    I like the all-star game change with one tweak. Play for money…for charity. Each league picks a charity. The winning league’s charity gets double or triple the $$$ of the losing league. Makes MLB and players look good and gets rid of the silly WS home field advantage bit.

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  28. daiheide says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    I love this. It would be really cool if FanGraphs developed this piece into a series. I know you guys have written about some of these topics before – and surely some of the other writers would want to add suggestions of their own – but I think a dedicated series would be interesting. And it would provide a really nice balance for all the excellent statistical coverage on the site.

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  29. Wil says:

    This is basically the perfect list. You’ve fixed everything I really dislike about baseball (DH, blackouts, stupid owners) and a bunch of small annoyances (replay, Jorge Posada, game start times).

    Wonderful. Great to have the needed changes listed concisely so we can share the ideas around. Now if only Bud would retire…

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  30. delv says:

    Concerning Posada’s mound-trips during the WS, recall that the Yankees were playing against the same team that was accused of stealing signs earlier this year. And yes, the game of Posada’s frequent visitations was indeed played at Citizens Bank Park.

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  31. MattB says:

    Pretty sure no MLB owners are “getting fat on Luxury Tax dollars.” Luxury tax money just goes into a central fund, and teams do not see a dollar of it.

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  32. Ryan says:

    Two things:

    1) Make every AB start with the count 1-1. The OPS of hitters when they pass through a 1-1 count is essentially the same as when the AB starts. This will achieve several things – speed up the time to the more interesting part of the AB, reduce pitch counts so SP stay in games deeper, more CG, fewer pitching changes, more bench hitters (need smaller bullpens with pitchers throwing more complete games, MUCH faster games.

    2) Instead of having the DH – compromise. New rule – you can pinch hit for the pitcher without taking him out of the game. Now it creates choices re when to use your pinch hitters (ie 4th inning, two outs, no one on – use a pinch hitter?), eliminates the high paid, can’t play defense guy – just not worth the cost if he has to play defense or only gets 1 AB/game, and prevents some meaningless pitching changes

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  33. stratobill says:

    You stole a lot of my thunder!

    I agree heartily on restricting trips to the mound, bringing
    back day games during post-season, both luxury tax suggestions,
    death to blackouts, no awarding WS advantage to winner of All Star
    game, and most important of all, balancing the divisions.

    I disagree about watering down the playoffs by adding extra teams.
    Other sports don’t play 162 games, so there’s at least a small
    justification for their inflated playoff structure. But what’s
    the point in playing 162 games if one out of every 3 teams is
    going to make the playoffs anyway?

    What would I change? Inter-league games must be distributed fairly
    or eliminated altogether. Forcing teams like the Mets to play perenial
    contenders like the Yankees every year while some other team gets the
    Indians and the Royals is just plain stupid.

    I would shorten the season to something like 147 games which would
    allow the World Series to end before Halloween every year and give
    p[ayers a chance to be a bit less worn down before the start of
    the playoffs.

    And I would make it a rule that every relief pitcher MUST either
    pitch to 3 batters or until the inning is over. I absolutely cannot
    stand seeing good games slowed down to a crawl by endless parade of
    relievers. This rule would speed up games and give a slight boost
    to offense since managers couldn’t micro-manage the lefty/righty
    matchups as much as they do now.

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  34. stratobill says:

    WHy not use a modified version of the DH in both leagues? Make
    it a rule that pitchers can be pinch-hit for without having to
    be removed from the game. The pinch-batter would not be allowed
    to remain in the game though.

    Managers would have to be selective about when they hit for the pitcher.
    Runners in scoring position in a close game? Pinch hit! Two outs
    and bases empty? Let the pitcher bat.

    Teams would probably elect to reserve a couple more roster spots for
    batters instead of carrying 8 relievers under this rule, and that would
    be good because it would reduce the number of pitching changes and speed
    the games up!

    One other option would be to allow teams to have an 8 man batting lineup.
    There’d be no need for a DH because the pitcher’s spot in the lineup
    would be simply elminated. This creates more plate appearances for
    the guys we want to see batting, like Pujols, Maier, Dunn, Zimmerman, etc.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • dutchbrowncoat says:

      i like the pinch hit idea. it would serve to both minimize pitchers hitting as well as lead to fewer pitching changes. plus, if you have a decent hitting pitcher like zambrano/haren/gallardo you can get them a few extra pa’s without wasting your bench.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • MRK says:

      Pro-tip: This is what the Designated Hitter is, except ran through the brain-damage wringer.

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      • stratobill says:

        MRK, I hope you get some satisfaction out of making gratuitously insulting comments, but by not providing an explanation of why
        you think the idea is brain-damaged it leaves the rest of us wondering if you understood the concept.

        What I and others are proposing is a VARIATION of the DH that would allow teams some flexibility but not allow for full-time DH’s.
        A lot of people don’t like DHs because it does not seem right to have a one-dimensional player getting to play full time, and/or because it removes some strategy from the game.

        Allowing pitchers to remain in the game after being pinch hit for
        creates more strategic decisions to every game while preventing full time batting by players who don’t play defense. You may not like the concept, but ad-hominum attacks lessen your credibility.

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  35. TK says:

    – Move back to 28 teams, two divisions, and no wild card

    – Sorry Florida, your teams are gone, but you still have spring training

    – Instant replay should be modeled after NFL rules and should be allowed for any out/safe play, any fair/foul play, any catch/no catch play, and any HR/no HR play (not balls/strikes or balks)

    – Arbitration should start after a players first season (any games played prior to Sept. 1).

    – Players get arbitration every year until after the 6th year after their first (Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg would be FA after 2016 season).

    – Luxury tax should be paid to charity and should be 5% of every dollar over what the 5th highest payroll is for the first 10 MM, 25% after that.

    – Teams must wear one home and one road jersey. Deviations to honor something or someone are allowed.

    – Eff the DH

    – Minimum bat handle width rules

    – Double flap helmets required

    – Screens over the dugouts at least 30 feet past the bases (make them automated if you want)

    – Games start at 8 PM local time at the latest (first pitch)

    – Tim McCarver is not allowed within 50 feet of a microphone used during a baseball broadcast

    – No in-game promptional giveaways between innings – just play music

    – No sound effects during innings allowed

    – Anyone who runs out on the field gets tasered but doesn’t have to go to jail

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Tigerdog says:

      How do you reverse a foul ball call, except on a home run? Just sayin…..

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt K says:

        Simple. If it looks close, call it fair, or come up with a new sign that means “it’s fair pending review”. After the conclusion of the play, the booth automatically checks it out. with a 5th umpire in the booth, this should only take a few seconds for the replay. If it was foul, the game resets.

        Now, someone could get injured doing so, but players commonly run out the play until it’s clear that it was a foul, so it’s not really a new risk.

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    • frank says:

      Can we expand the McCarver rule to include Costas?

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  36. Ray says:

    Replace all the pitchers with strike-throwing robots. Batters will have to hit their way on base and games would speed up exponentially. Human pitchers will be obsolete and forced to become hitters, thereby deepening the offensive talent pool.

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  37. Brad Johnson says:

    You and I are cut from the same cloth Maury.

    The only opinion I differ on is how to control game speed. I would create a number of incentives to limit the use of situational relieving and relievers would be given only 3 warm up pitches on the game mound in non-injury situations (no commercial break). I’d also decrease the length of commercial breaks (then I’d go ahead and charge more per commerical, making up 50% of the lost revenue).

    As for senseless blackout restrictions, the worst of them is their Saturday afternoon policy. I would understand territorial restrictions if they closely mimicked the team’s actual territories, but I can conceive of no reasonable explanation as to why I can’t watch ANY game on a Saturday afternoon on MLB.TV. I would love to see all blackout restrictions eliminated since I do not own and have no intention of ever owning a TV. Nor do I plan to ever use Cable with my computer monitor.

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  38. Deej says:

    I can’t stand watching pitchers flail pathetically at the plate. It is excruciatingly painful to watch. Every pitcher’s at-bat is like the end of an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s like requiring there to be one retarded guy on Jeopardy! It’s like when Mr. Furley walks in on Jack and Chrissy in bed together and he has to explain himself. It makes my entire body wince and contort in sympathy for this poor clod, because I KNOW THAT HE OR I WOULD DO ABOUT AS WELL UP THERE.

    That said, I do like that the leagues are slightly different. I say keep the DH in one league the way it is, so that if you like watching 1-0 games and seeing Chad Billingsley’s 3 at bats consist of a strikeout swinging and two foul bunt pops with two strikes, power to you. Conversely, if you like watching an offense consisting of the best hitters in the game, the AL is there for you. I’m being snarky, but I totally do appreciate both points of view, and they’re both great versions of baseball int heir own way, so why not keep both around?

    Change the win rule to make it at least remotely useful: Whoever pitches the most innings in a winning game, gets the win. I can’t stand when a starter pitches a great game, the closer blows it, then gets the win in the bottom of the 9th. There should never, ever be a “(BS, W)” next to any pitcher’s name, period. Who cares who got the last out before a game is won? You have nothing to do with that run being scored. Even if it’s the NL and you’re hitting, you know you probably struck out with the go ahead run on 3rd base.

    Split the Rookie of the Year award in two: The Jackie for the best position player and the Newk (Don Newcombe, the first pitcher to win the ROY) for the best pitcher. How are you supposed to compare Ichiro to CC Sabathia? Apples and oranges. Just make separate awards.

    Also, no more pitchers in the MVP voting, and no more closers in the Cy Young. No matter how great a starting pitcher is, he can’t possibly be more valuable in 35 out of 162 games than an everyday player is. And no matter how great a closer is, he can’t possibly be more valuable in 70 cherry-picked, one-at-a-time innings than a starting pitcher is grinding through 7-8 innings a night, 230 innings a year. A closer for MVP is an absolute joke. Apples, oranges and pomegranates. Create the Rollie for the best closer.

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    • Omar says:

      “Also, no more pitchers in the MVP voting, and no more closers in the Cy Young. No matter how great a starting pitcher is, he can’t possibly be more valuable in 35 out of 162 games than an everyday player is. And no matter how great a closer is, he can’t possibly be more valuable in 70 cherry-picked, one-at-a-time innings than a starting pitcher is grinding through 7-8 innings a night, 230 innings a year. A closer for MVP is an absolute joke. Apples, oranges and pomegranates. Create the Rollie for the best closer.”

      This paragraph is full of stupid. First off, Zack Greinke had a higher WAR and was by most objective metrics than Joe Mauer and anyone else in the AL last year. It is possible for a pitcher to have such a dominant season that he racks up the most value in terms of linear weights or by any other objective means in the league. Second, the award for the best closer should be called the 42.

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      • Deej says:

        Omar, the “R” in WAR stands for replacement. For pitchers, it refers to the value of a replacement PITCHER. For batters, it refers to the value of a replacement HITTER (at that same position). These are not, never have been, and never will be the same numbers, nor the same people. Discrete samples. Do not generalize to one another. Apples and oranges, as the fellar said. What you are doing is taking a results-based approach (they’re both called WAR! A>B! Hence, Greinke is better than Mauer!) to something that needs both theory (what statistics go into these formulae? Why?) and results. Look, WAR is great. It’s my favorite single-statistic evaluator, especially the ones that use UZR. I am even fine with using the term “WAR” for both hitters and pitchers. But as long as their formulas are different, as long as 162>35, I just don’t think you can compare one to another.

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    • Mike says:

      The good pitchers have more plate appearances against, than a hitter has for himself.

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    • TK says:

      There is an award for relievers:

      I totally agree. Comparing hitters, starting pitchers, and relievers is stupid.

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  39. NEPP says:

    ****Watching the postseason last year, I think Jorge Posada spent nearly as much time on the pitching mound as some of the relievers****

    This, ONE MILLION TIMES THIS. Posada was out of control during the post-season. There were several ABs during the WS where he literally walked out there between every single pitch. That’s ridiculous.

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      As a Phillies fan, I wanted to stab an ice pick into his knee.

      As a fan of the wonderful game of Baseball, I wanted to stab an ice pick into his knee. If you really think your signs are being stolen, use better signs…

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  40. GTStD says:

    The problem with replay is the sequential nature of baseball. Once the ball is in play, each event is based on what has already happened. Lets take a situation like last year’s ALDS botched fair/foul call. Lets say their is a speedy runner on 1st, and a ball is hit well down the right field line and lands fair. If the umpire calls it correctly, the runner scores from first, RBI double, hooray. If the umpire calls it foul, everyone stops moving, the play stops. Now if he goes back and corrects it from replay, where do you put the runner? You can’t make a rule based on the speed of the runner, and so you probably give him 2 bases.

    This situation is one in which the umpire missing the call costs the team a run, even with replay.

    Including other things is fishy too. Lets say we make replay available for caught/landed (out/safe) on fly balls to the outfield. Now lets say there’s two outs and this happens. If it is called out, everything stops and the inning ends. If its called in, any baserunners take off, and maybe score, maybe not, depending on how good the OF’s arm is. There’s no way to know what could happen. If you call it out, you can’t just go back and say ‘it landed, all the baserunners advance”… that may not be what would have happened.

    Its not that we shouldn’t expand replay, but there are some pretty legitimate questions that need to be answered. I’m content with replay as it is… it really only comes into play when the results of the play are cut and dry either way. Either everyone scores, or its foul. Expanded replay has worked in lower leagues, so it could be used… I’m just hesitant.

    I think it should be put in AAA immediately, and we can get a legitimate feel for how it would affect major league games, and if it works out great. Lets not rush into it though because we see plays that are called badly… this isn’t a new problem just because the increase in camera angles and TV coverage makes it clearer.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      A) How is this different from a ground-rule double?

      B) Isn’t giving the guy the double he would have had with the lead runner on third instead of having scored preferable to calling him for a strike? A double is a better outcome than the expectation going into the PA, regardless of how good the hitter is or how bad the pitcher is. Getting pretty close to what “should” have happened (in a manner that mimics something the game already has) is much preferable to throwing up your hands and saying “oh well.”

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    • Mike says:

      Easy, you do it like they do in football (where they no longer call a player down if he fumbles, even if they think he was down). You call everything close fair, and everything close a hit, and tell the players to keep playing. Then you replay it, if it’s foul or an out, you call it such.

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    • TK says:

      They also make judgment calls on balls originally called home runs that are later ruled to not have been hit out. I believe there was a game between the Cubs and Reds (could be neither of these teams) where a fan reached over and hit the ball and the umpire ruled it a home run. When they reviewed, they awarded the hitter third base.

      The ground rule double is exactly that, a “ground rule.” Take the Astros. If they wanted to make a rule that said if the ball got stuck behind that pole in center field, it is an automatic triple, they could (MLB must approve ground rules) and any ball that got stuck there would be a triple, whether David Ortiz or Ichiro were the hitter runner.

      Interference is not a ground rule. Interference requires the umpire to make a judgment call (for one reason or another) and the players speed and whether he was running on the play can and should be used.

      Bottom line, as others have said, a judgment may not be perfect but it’s better than a draconian rule that says you must either absolutely know or else suffer the umpires poor judgment.

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  41. nathansface says:

    I like the idea of more teams, but I also think division winners should have a leg up in some way… maybe have the wild card teams duke it out first then the winner of all that goes into a division series against the best record team.

    I also like moving the newer Diamondbacks to the AL West.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      I will never understand the idea of giving the division winners an even greater advantage. Congratulations, you’re in because the rest of your division licked balls – the wild card that was the second-best team in baseball but played behind the best team in baseball should be further hindered because of it’s geographical affiliation. What?

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    • stratobill says:

      I disagree. Why should a team that wins 86 games and finishes first in a weak division be given any advantage over a wild card team that wins 99 games but finishes 2nd??

      I’d go the other direction and suggest the following rule in order to give
      good wild card teams a leg up over weak first place teams.

      Teams that win their division but fail to win at least 89 games are NOT automaticly awarded a spot in the playoffs. If a team finishes first but wins less than 89 games it could be bumped from the playoffs by a wild
      card team that won 89 or more games.

      This year for example, it would mean that if Texas finishes 88-74 it
      could be bumped from the playoffs if Boston or Chicago win 89 or
      more games. I think this would be fairer AND would add a lot of drama
      to the final few weeks of the season.

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  42. YankeesJunkie says:

    1. Limit blackout restrictions. If you are on MLB TV you should be able to watch the home TV broadcast in the home viewing network, but not the away broadcast, unless there is no home broadcast. With MLB TV or EI you should be able to watch all the FOX national games if more than 1 game at the same.

    2. Luxury tax payouts only go to increase payroll or facilities. Every team that receives revenue sharing will only get help from luxury tax if they go over a team salary that is determined by formula (say 35 million for the Marlins) over if a team needs to funds to help expand, improve upon, or renovate stadium. The rest of the money left over is distributed equally to all 30 teams.

    3. Fifth umpire to overturn on field calls, obviously subtleties will be worked out in more detailed.

    4. All series are 7 games in seven days, double headers if necessary. One day off between rounds, reward teams for depth and not altering in season play.

    5. No more than 3 IL games with any opponent

    6. Raise the mound to 12.5 inches

    7. One division for each league top 2 teams move on
    7a. If two teams are tied play a best of three game series
    7b. Playoffs start Thursday so best of three played Monday-Wednesday

    8. All Star teams not selected by fans, rather assortment of writers, managers, and players

    9. Arbitration done by a panel of experts rather than judge

    10. Trade Draft Picks

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  43. joe says:

    postseason day games is an awful idea. have you never been to a bar in october?

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  44. Nate says:

    Put Arizona in the AL West and move Houston to the NL West. Absolutely NO MORE playoff spots should be added. There are too many playoff rounds as it is. The length of the playoffs exceeds the casual fan’s attention span. I’d be willing to bet that the added round of playoff play is partially responsible for declining world series ratings. Want to see some great pennant races? Go back to two divisions per league playing for a spot in the LCS. What happened to the idea of contraction? Due to the fact that MLB foolishly split the Florida market in two, the Tampa and Miami ball clubs make so little off of their RSN’s that neither is capable of turning a profit without revenue sharing. It’s too bad that D.C. has already sunk half a billion into Boondoggle’s Park, or they could be a perfect candidate for contraction. Lastly, the Divisional round of the playoffs HAS TO BE expanded to a 7-game series. Baseball is a game of statistical averages spread out over time. The shorter the series, the more statistical randomness can distort the expected result. If baseball wants to increase the odds of its best teams competing in the world series, it should stop giving an advantage to the lesser team in the first round.

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  45. ARB says:

    Get rid of the luxury tax and impose a real salary cap. I remember when baseball was king in this country. Now they have to come up with creative ways to maintain interest once football starts. The best thing about the NFL is that every team has a chance to get better and make the playoffs. It is so hard for one team to stay on top or on the bottom for very long. Having 1 team with a $180mil payroll compete with 1 with a $50mil payroll is silly. I like the reverse luxury tax idea as well, but it has been proven that the salary cap works the best.

    I don’t understand why everyone wants to speed up the game so badly. Baseball is great because THERE IS NO CLOCK. And how in the world could you limit pickoff attempts? you get 2, then the runner knows he can get as big a lead as he wants? Limit a runners lead? Silly. The game is great because of the nuances and strategies. This new generation needs everything microwaved and instantized and doesnt have time for anything thats takes up more than 2 hours of their day. And I’m not some old dude – I’m 32. I just love baseball for what I’ve always loved it for.

    If we need to make changes, realignment and a salary cap are my 2 priorities. As a Rangers fan it’s pretty tough to catch the end of all the games we have on the west coast. I don’t have the magic combination of teams, but the divisions need to be based on time zones so the fans can catch the games easier.

    I love the you tube suggestion. That’s rediculous that we can check out McGwire’s shot off The Unit whenever we want and email it to friends. Or post Nolan Ryan pummeling Robin Ventura on our fantasy page. It seems like the owners are so concerned about how they can screw us over that they are actually hurting the sport when they could be promoting it.

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  46. Tim in Springfield says:

    Heard that Mike Socia is recommending reducing the season by 12 home games and which would start the playoffs in September, not October. This would allow baseball to take advantage of the fact that the NFL is just getting started and College Football is still boring. Sounds like a good idea to me and it carries more weight since it came from Socia.

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    • Tigerdog says:

      Just cut out the useless days off during the playoffs! No more than one day off during a series or between playoff series once the two teams are determined.

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  47. Brad Johnson says:

    Here’s a question, why can’t MLB.TV broadcast Fox and local games with their native commercials? That increases the value of a contract to Fox and cable networks as they reach that many more fans. MLB can’t be making much money off the never ending stream of yahoo ads and umpire’s camps…

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Further idea, on non-local, non-national games, instead of playing asinine crap for commercials, proceed directly to whatever is playing on the MLB Network. This will create demand and interest in the channel.

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  48. Omar says:

    Lets see in order of your complaints:

    The DH rule: This is just plain stupid, yes, lets make baseball less enjoyable to watch by forcing every ninth batter to have the hitting skill less than that of an all-state HS player. More bunting, stupid managerial decisions, more pitchers getting pulled, more relief platooning, and more bench players playing big roles in games. This is just all sorts of dumb. Guys like David Ortiz and Edgar Martinez likely don’t get a shot at a real career, and guys like Manny, Reggie, Thome, Vlad, and later Dunn, Cabrera, and other poor fielding great hitters get shortened careers and instead of enjoying seeing an all time great hit we are forced to watch a pitcher step to the plate. Furthermore, we’ll be forced to see more guys like Willingham, Dunn, Cabrera, and Hawpe play piss poor defense, and guys that need a day off or can’t play the field due to an injury are going to have to ride the bench and we’ll be forced to see more sub par AAAA players get meaningful playing time. Rather than deprive the fans of seeing greats hit, why not expand the rule and give NL fans the privilege of seeing an all time great that’s winding down, yet can still mash, hit for their team? Maury, you’re a bright guy but hell, even Doc has a bad start every once in a while.

    Replay/Luxury Tax, yeah I’ll agree

    Teeth the luxury tax…this just lowers player overall revenue. If you want to stop the Yankees, which you shouldn’t they’re the league’s crown jewel…hell the crown jewel of American sports, the best thing to do is force more competent owners into baseball. Guys that have money to spend and are willing to finance a winning team need to be owners, which in fairness to you you do address later. Furthermore, take away teams from shitty fanbases. If it’s a nice Saturday afternoon and you can’t fill a stadium…your city probably has no business having a franchise. Also you can force some sort of minimum stadium upkeep, so The Sky Dome, The Trop, Land Shark, Oakland County Stadium…say good bye. Capping the spending of a team is really nothing more than a way to control revenue and punish the most successful franchises.

    Get rid of Nutting, Loria, etc. is a n excellent idea, as is giving Mark Cuban a chance.

    Death to blackouts? Fuck. Yes.

    Limiting Mound Trips? Ehh…the battery needs to be on track, if it makes for a higher quality pitch I’m all for it.

    Balancing Divisions? Yeah, sounds like a good idea, there’s no reason a team like the Blue Jays should have to go through hell and back to make October while the Padres only have to beat the Giants and Dodgers. Exhibitions and the ASG? Yeah I’m for doing that too.

    Afternoon post season, nope sorry, no can do. There’s nothing like spending the day looking forward to a playoff game, and the bright lights shining down on the mound and watching a pitcher literally hold the night in his hands…it’s fucking incredible and I hope it never goes away.

    My suggestions? Foot race at the ASG, if you want to see pitchers hit do it at the ASG, have a rookie/sophomore game between the AL and NL, do a better job of promoting young players in small markets like Greinke, Zimmerman, Votto, Kinsler, etc. Also, my biggest request: FIND A WAY TO GET ADAM DUNN IN THE HR DERBY

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • suicide squeeze says:


      This is the best idea yet.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • stratobill says:

      “Afternoon post season, nope sorry, no can do. There’s nothing like spending the day looking forward to a playoff game, and the bright lights shining down on the mound and watching a pitcher literally hold the night in his hands….”

      And there’s nothing like watching championship games played in weather
      so cold and wet that pitchers can’t get a good grip on the ball. There’s nothing like watching a dugout full of players dressed up like Eskimos for a night game in late October or early November. And so what if the kids are sound asleep by the 5th inning because it’s already an hour past their bedtimes?

      Just say “NO!” to playing championship games at night in late October!

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      • Omar says:

        If were playing baseball god we should make rain in October illegal. Also put a roof in the park at Arlington, it’s too fucking hot to sit in the bleachers in the summer without one.

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  49. TheMooseOfDeath says:

    A realignment has been on my mind for the past couple of years, specifically because of the AL East. To fix that, why don’t they adopt the NFL format of North, South, East, and West? Of course, two teams would have to be introduced (maybe from independent leagues) and perhaps some teams would switch leagues.

    Here’s a possible model:

    NL North – Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Minnesota
    NL South – Atlanta, Florida, Houston, St. Louis
    NL East – Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, NY Mets, Washington
    NL West – Colorado, LA Dodgers, San Diego, San Francisco

    AL North – Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Detroit, Toronto
    AL South – Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Texas, (???)
    AL East – Baltimore, Boston, NY Yankees, (???)
    AL West – Anaheim (enough of this “LA in Anaheim” crap), Arizona, Oakland, Seattle

    I’d hate to see the Cubs and Cardinals be separated, but perhaps there’s a better way to arrange this model. As for the new teams, Newark Bears sounds like it could be a good addition to the AL East, and perhaps New Orleans or Oklahoma could contribute to the AL South.

    Any thoughts?

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    • GTStD says:

      I really like the potential for this.

      It would allow for 24 games (4 home series and 4 away) against each division rival, 6 games against every other team in the league (1 home series and 1 away), and 6 inter-league series. 4 of the interleague series could be against the rival division (AL North vs NL North, etc) with 2 series that rotate around every year. That way it ensures geographical rivals get a series and still allows bizzare series like Florida vs Seattle every few years.

      I wish we could split up Boston and NY though from being in the same division. In fact, I think all the major rivalries should be split into separate divisions where possible. This way, the 6 games they play every year become amazing games, and it increases the importance when they meet in the LDS. I would also suggest that there be a wild card team which plays a 3-game set with whichever division winner has the worst record, in the ballpark of the division winner. In that way, a team with a good record in a good division can usurp a team which wins in a weak division, just as it is now.

      I suggest the following modification:

      NL North – Cubs, Reds, Brewers, Twins
      NL South – Braves, Marlins, Astros, Cardinals
      NL East – Pirates, Mets, Nationals, Red Sox
      NL West – Giants, Angels, Padres, Diamondbacks

      AL North – Blue Jays, Indians, Tigers, Rockies
      AL South – Royals, Rays, Rangers, White Sox
      AL East – Orioles, Phillies, Yankees, (??)
      AL West – Athletics, Dodgers, Mariners, (Las Vegas?)

      By shifting some teams into different leagues, this makes for some really great possible world series: (Yanks vs Red Sox, Giants vs Dodgers, Orioles vs Nats?… maybe not so much), and because each team’s intra-league schedule is dominated by the same region (AL East vs NL east) the yanks and sox still get to play each other 6 times a year no matter what.

      My favorite thing about your idea is consistency… each division is the same size, and you can enforce essentially the same schedule for each member of a division, with only 6 inter-league, inter-region games as schedule differences. The 6-team and 4-team divisions have been driving me nuts for a while.

      While something like this is a huge pipe dream, and never going to happen, its been fun to think about!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt K says:

      You must be a White Sox fan, moving the Twins away to the NL where they can’t beat up on the Sox year after year. :P

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • baty says:

      The only thing I don’t like about dividing the league even more…

      The NFL has more available playoff spots. The more we divide each league, the more opportunity there is for second place finishes by teams that may be better than their first place division competitors. So, if you increased the playoff space (additional wild cards to counter that), I’d hate to see all of the playoff series match-ups only playing the best of 5 to conserve space. It contradicts the way starting rotations are used throughout the regular season in determining the top playoff teams.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  50. jlive says:

    Every four years (or maybe even every other year), the world baseball classic replaces the all-star break.

    And/or Japanese baseball teams are formed into a third MLB league, maybe with Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese teams as well. This league is then represented in the MLB playoffs.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  51. Tigerdog says:

    Nice ideas, Maury. Here are mine:
    One realignment idea is to move the Brewers back to the AL Central, and KC to the West.
    Another is expand two AL teams, and realigning into four divisions of four teams in each league. They are aligned geographically and financially, allowing the smaller market teams to have a legit shot at the playoffs.
    Expand inter-league play.

    – 3 games vs 15 inter league teams = 45 games
    – 14 games vs 4 division rivals = 48 games
    – 6 games vs 10 intra-league teams = 60 games
    – Plus one game
    Total = 162 games.

    – 3 games vs 16 inter league teams = 48 games
    – 14 games vs 3 division rivals = 42 games
    – 6 games vs 12 intra-league teams = 72 games
    Total = 162 games.

    – Use the DH in all games, including the National league. AL pitchers won’t be batting.
    – Implement a salary floor and a “use it or lose it” policy for all revenue sharing dollars
    – Implement a dollar for dollar tax above $ 150 million

    – Reform the free agent compensation system
    – Scrap Elias rankings. Compensation is based on the annual salary of the player
    – Comp picks are all in supplemental rounds, so nobody is penalized for signing free agents, and no player is penalized for being a top free agent.
    – Limit the number of Type A free agents signed in one season to two per team (plus one for each Type A player lost), increasing only if the pool of Type A free agents increases. There IS a limit currently, but the trigger is set so high that nobody reaches it.

    – Use instant replay on all possible plays. Key word is “instant”. No umps going down a tunnel- one guy in the press box can reverse a bad call. It will speed up the game.

    – Ban all blackouts, and don’t cut off the feed on “out of market” broadcasts (Extra Innings) until the post game interviews are finished!

    – NEVER schedule more than one day off either during or between playoff series, start the season by April 1 and end by September 30, and fer krissakes, get the World Series over and done with by Halloween!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  52. Josh says:

    Concerning salary floor-
    I think it is a good idea to try to force teams to have a higher salary, but if the MLBPA knows that a team needs to pay a certain amount, this could create players with overly inflated contracts to make sure they are over this floor. Also, could effect trade deadline deals, because a mid-season move may place a team under the salary floor. Thus big players from a poor and low salaried teams will get traded less ofter because of the cost hit they could take by actually dumping this salary. Placing a floor will just handcuff certain teams.
    Concerning 6 divisions of 5-
    This would require yearlong inter-league play. Do we want this? If so, then not a bad idea. But if we don’t want constant inter-league play then we need even teams in each league.
    Agreed on home field advantage and All-Star Game-
    Do we do team with best overall record, or potentially awarded to league with the better inter-league play record. This way, we would know well in advance who will have home field adavantage.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  53. Andy says:

    Kind of unfair to Nutting

    I mean i’d like a richer owner but he’s really not that bad

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  54. Omar says:

    Make Kim Jones do the game sans clothes.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  55. frank says:

    1. Get rid of the expanded roster mess. At a minimum have teams be required to designate 25 active players each day (and not let them mess around by deactivating starting pitchers who are not going that day)

    2. Eliminate the ability to fake to 2nd and 3rd base. It’s deceiving the runner and a balk, you can’t do it to first base, why allow pitchers to do it at other bases?

    3. Do not allow batters to step out of the box without calling for time. You can allow them to take one foot out to get signs from the 3rd base coach,but no more walking around and adjusting everything unless you have time from the ump.

    4. Homefield in world series goes to the league who has the best overall interleague record (with unbalanced schedule, the best record has too many issues)

    5. I’d like to see 2 division per league. 2 division winners get homefield in first round and 2 next best records in the league are the wildcards. (This would require balancing of schedules and may mean you’d have to eliminate interleague play)

    6. all DH or no DH… don’t care just make it the same in both leagues.

    7. Eliminate maple bats or require players to use the protective sleeve on the handle to avoid bat shards from eventually killing or permanently disabling someone.

    8. No more elbow guards for batters. You want to stand on the plate and dive in, you do so without protection and you come prepared to pay the price for it.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  56. JB says:

    New Alignment (2 leagues, 4 Divisions)

    AL West

    LA Angels



    NL West


    NL East

    Chicago Cubs

    Cut down the interdivision matchups to 15 games, you play each team out of your division in a series at home and away. Fill with 6 interleague series and you got 162 with some adjustments for 3/4 games sets between the NL and AL.

    Playoffs: have the 2nd place and 3rd place teams in each division play a 3 game playoff series then; (no off day in between)

    7 game series
    1st place in AL East plays winner of 2nd/3rd from AL West
    1st place in AL West plays winner of 2nd/3rd from AL East

    1st place in NL East plays winner of 2nd/3rd from NL West
    1st place in NL West plays winner of 2nd/3rd from NL East

    Then you have you LCS and WS in 7 game playoffs

    Note:You need to condense down the schedule to adjust for the extra round of a 3 game playoff series

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  57. Nate says:

    Omar wins for best obscure pop culture reference.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  58. quint says:

    I am not a fan of the reverse salary cap.

    A minimum cap isn’t the problem, there are plenty of teams over the last few years that would be over that cap and terrible.

    Take the Pirates this year, they would be under the cap, but they spend over 10million on the draft, plus international signings, I don’t know if that will work or not but they are actually trying.

    The better solution wouldn’t be a minimum cap (of it it was, include amateur spending) but how about this one. 67% of fan vote against the GM, and he/she is automatically fired – that would probably be the best thing you could do for competitive balance.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  59. fredsbank says:

    If walter johnson, cy young, christy mathewson, pete alexander, sandy koufax, juan marichal, whitey ford, and how many other greats had to hit the ball, why the fuck should anyone today, none of whom are as good, be any different?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  60. Jack says:

    1. Get rid of the DH.
    There really aren’t enough good DHs in baseball to expand it. Seriously, Mark Kotsay was DHing for a contender at one point this season. Not to mention, a lot of guys that can’t field like Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn don’t want to DH.

    2. One last round of expansion
    There are plenty of markets available to expand into. Something like OKC and Nashville sounds good, as there is a dearth of teams in the south.

    3. Two divisions in each league.
    With 2 more teams, you can either make things chaotic like the NFL and have 4 team divisions, but that eliminates the chase for the playoffs even more than now. We already have a problem with the NL Central and the AL West being awful top to bottom, so cutting the playoffs down to the best two teams in each division makes sense. A good division would be something like this:

    NL East:
    New York
    Nashville (expansion)

    NL West
    San Francisco
    Los Angeles
    San Diego
    St Louis

    AL East
    New York
    Tampa Bay

    AL West
    Los Angeles
    Arizona (switches leagues)
    Kansas City
    Oklahoma City

    Now the AL West still might be a little weak, but at least the divisions would be more balanced.

    4. Trading draft picks
    This should be obvious

    5. Elimination of the expanded roster.
    The 40 man roster doesn’t help anyone. Take the Giants this season when they acquired Cody Ross. They forced to dump a perfectly good utility man in Matt Downs to make room. The Giants probably would have loved to keep Downs as middle infield security and Downs probably would have liked to stay with the team’s staff. Instead, both get shafted.

    6. Shorted the season back to 154
    The season is long enough so that we know who are the best teams already. If the season is shorted (hopefully by taking out interleague play) then we won’t have to deal with the World Series going into November.

    7. Bring back scheduled Double Headers and add more off days.
    This is just personally preference.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  61. Colin says:

    1) Get rid of the AL curfew rule. It’s the lamest rule in sports.
    2) Do something to reform the service time clock. Nobody likes waiting for prospects that are ready to be called up. Maybe have service time accrue at all levels for purposes of FA & arbitration?
    3) Portland, OR should have a baseball team, perfect rivalry location for the far too isolated Mariners.
    4) Allow trading of drafts positions. Seems to work OK in the NFL, why not MLB?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  62. Matt K says:

    If I were the god of baseball:

    Every team would face every other team every year, AL and NL. They would play each opposite league team 3 times, plus an additional “rivalry” series that would be used for marquee matchups like Yankees-Mets, Cubs-White Sox, etc. Teams would alternate home and away every other year. There would be 7 games with each non-divisional team in your league, and 11 games against each divisional opponent.

    Each team would play 45 games against the opposite league, 70 games against the other two divisions in the league, and 44 games in the division, plus the three leftover “Marquee” or rivalry games.

    All of the season series, with the exception of the 3-game “marquee” opponent, will be an odd number of games, to help decide homefield for the playoffs.

    Add a 1, 2, or 3 game series at the end of the season between the two best non-division winning teams to decide the wildcard, and you’ve got a recipe for success. In the case of a 2-game series, you go by total score from the two games to decide the winner. The best record gets homefield in the playoffs, including for the World Series.

    Move the Astros from the NL Central to the AL West, as the quick and dirty way to realign 15-15. More complicated realignment is possible, focused around splitting Boston and the Yankees into different divisions.

    DH is home manager’s choice, decided before the game before lineups are turned in.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt K says:

      If you want to eliminate the rivalry games and have a balanced divisional scedule, you’d play the 3 extra games inside your division, so you’d have 12,12,12, and 11 games against each opponent.

      If you want to go 16-16, you can maintain the same schedule, you just have one extra game that you can schedule with whoever, but in the interest of balance it’s probably best to play an extra game in your division, so you’d have 11, 11, and 12 games against your division opponents, or 12, 12, and 13 if you scrap the rivalry series.

      The best places to expand are New Jersey (Newark Bears!), North Carolina, Portland (Portland Beavers!), Las Vegas (If gambling issues are worked out), and Montreal (They’d need a new stadium). Most other places couldn’t really support a MLB team long-term.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt K says:

        I really like the idea of another team in New Jersey. A smart owner could undercut the Yankee’s and Met’s ticket prices signifigantly, and draw a lot of fans who just want to see some baseball.

        How’s this for divisions?

        Northeast: Boston, Toronto, NYY, NYM
        North: Twins, Milwaukee, Cubs, ChiSox
        Pacific: Mariners, Giants, Athletics, Portland/Las Vegas
        Great Lakes: Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinatti, Pirates

        Atlantic: Philly, Newark/Carolina, Baltimore, Washington
        Southeast: Astros, Tampa, Braves, Marlins
        Central: KC, Cards, Rocks, Rangers
        Southwest: Dogers, Padres, Dbacks, Angels

        Geography FTW! Screw ancient rivalries!

        You can switch the Cubs/KC, and Angels/Giants if you really want to keep more of the good rivalries going, but everyone plays everyone every years so it’s not too important.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt K says:

        Playoffs in a 16-16 8 division league would be goofy, but I could see 6 teams, with the wild cards playing the 3rd and 4th best division teams in a best of 5, then a 5-game DS, then a 7-game LCS, then a 7-game WS.

        Playoffs series start at home and go 3-2, or 2-3-2. You only get one off day in between series, and for the travel days, so you’d have a max of 7 days for each the first two rounds, and 10 for the next two, for a total of 34 days. No travel days is scheduled if the previous game was on a saturday or sunday, as these will be day games.

        I don’t care what days Fox wants us to play them. if we start the season a week earlier, or schedule doubleheaders, this lets us get the postseason finished in october or very early november, even with a short break between the season and the postseason for tiebreakers and makeup games.

        We can also cut 8 games from the schedule and go back to 154 games, which would give us all the time we need for another 8 game playoff series. You would cut the games played inside your leauge to 6, and spread any remainder around your division.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt K says:

        Opps, 16 teams would be 48 Interleague, 84 Intraleague (7 each), and 27 Intradivision (9 each), with 3 for rivalry series. Alternately, 48 Interleague, 72 intraleague (6 each), and 39 divisional (13 each), with 3 for rivalry series. As always, you can always just divide the extra 3 games among divisional opponents to balance the schedule among division teams (they would all play identical schedules outside the division).

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Matt K says:

        Thinking on it, you might make only the WC round 5 games, the idea with the WC is to reward teams that did well but did not win a division with a chance at the whole thing. 7 games for the DS, LCS, and WS would be fine if we’re hurrying along the playoffs and not handing out oodles of off-days and travel days.

        5 game series should start at the “away” team’s stadium, and would be played in a 2-3 format. Benefit is, division winning team will always clinch at home. There is some danger that the away team could go on a tear, but this is a WC round, and the best WC team is often better than the worst division winner anyways.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  63. skoorbo says:

    Seven divisions of four teams. Fourteen games against each division opponent, five each for the other 24 teams. One wild card team in the postseason.
    All teams will choose whether their home park will use the DH for the year in the off-season.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  64. The Ancient Mariner says:

    The one change I would make here is to make that spending floor not just on major-league payroll — include player development. If bad, low-income teams would rather spend their money on scouts and high draft picks and international bonuses than on a LOOGY, a DH and a utility infielder, let them.

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  65. Mountainhawk says:

    If the NL adopted the DH, baseball would have one less fan.

    The DH is a idiotic concept.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  66. stratobill says:

    I don’t want to see expansion. I already have a hard time keeping track of all the players with 30 teams. I’d prefer contraction to 28 or even 24 teams but
    I don’t think that will ever happen so here’s a radical alternative.

    Eliminate the National/American league structure and have one league consisting of 5 six-team divisions. Post-season would still be 8 teams, but instead of 6 division winners as there are now, there would be only 5 division winners and 3 wild-cards.

    FIrst Round of playoffs :

    Team with best overall record plays weakest qualifying team not from their own division. Second best team plays weakest qualifying team not from their division and not already slated to play top seeded team etc.

    Teams would play 16 games against the 5 teams in same division, plus six
    games against HALF of the other 24 teams, for a total of 152 games. Out of
    division opponents would switch every other year.

    Advantages :

    1) less chance of having a mediocre team win a division made up of patsies.
    2) Even number of teams in all divisions means all teams can play exclusively
    within the divsion during September.
    3) No longer have some divisions with fewer or more teams than the other divisions.
    4) Fans in every city would be guaranteed a chance to see each of the 24 teams not in their division every other year. So someone like Strasburg or Pujols or Posey or Heyward would visit every stadium in baseball for at least
    one 3 game series every other year.

    5) Rewards best teams by pitting them against weakest teams early in the playoffs.

    6) Slightly shorter season allows for fresher teams in the playoffs, earlier finish for the Word Series, and maybe a few extra days off during the season to allow
    players to heal.

    It will never happen of course, but if I was the god of baseball this is how I would structure things.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nate says:

      How about creating 3 leagues of 10 teams, and the third league can try the modified DH rule. Resurrect the old Federal League name. This way you still retain the classic league names. (It would be weird to have Major League Baseball have no leagues, I think.)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  67. Jim Romanov says:

    At the end of each season, let each team protect 14 players. Then, in order of worst record, teams can draft 1 player. Once a player is drafted from a team, that team gets to protect 3 more players. Follow this formula – protect 3 more after 1 gets drafted, etc. Drafting team would have to take on any existing contract of the player. If a player has less than 6 yrs service in any form of professional baseball (major/minor leagues), then they are exempt from being drafted. This keeps team from drafting top prospects before they have a chance to develop. This would peak fan interest for all markets, not to mention the overall strategy involved! There would still be a free agent system in place that would occur after the draft. Also continue having the regular amateur draft in June. However allow trading of draft picks like all the other sports allow. I’m sure the way I put it, there may be some loop holes, but they can be ironed out to make the system fair. Level the playing field for all markets and peak interest for the fans.

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  68. Jeff in Southern Indiana says:

    Instead of making the pitcher throw 4 pitches for an intentional walk, just have the catcher or pitcher point at 1st and give the batter the base.

    Would save 15-30 seconds of screwing around towards a pre-ordained result.

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