Here’s a FQ that became an entire post.
If tomorrow Major League Baseball installed Ken Levine as the new “dictator” of the sport, replacing Commissioner Rob Manfred, and you no longer were required to answer in any way to the player’s union (I know, I know….but just go with me on this one!), and you could do ANYTHING you wanted in order to help the game reclaim it’s once lofty position as “America’s Pastime”, what might be some of the changes to the game that you would institute IMMEDIATELY to help draw more people into “the tent”?
I would be a hard-ass commissioner probably hated by both owners and players. But so be it.
First, I would institute a pitch clock immediately. It’s working in the minors and shaving an average of 25 minutes off of game times. 14 seconds with bases empty, 18 with a man on base. Not in the box ready to hit? It’s a strike. Not delivering a pitch on time? It’s a ball. It’ll take a couple of weeks for everyone to get used to then the game will hum right along.
I’d eliminate walk-up music. That’s horseshit. Get up there and hit.
Eliminate the shift. Since hitters are too obsessed with hitting home runs that they still try to hit into the shift, I’d eliminate it. The better solution is for hitters to hit the ball where the fielders aren’t but they’re too stupid or too in love with hitting home runs to do that. So I’d eliminate it. (Next year it is supposed to be eliminated.)
Reinstate a balanced schedule (which they are also doing next year). I’m sick of seeing 19 fucking Yankee-Red Sox games. It’s also not fair currently that some teams draw weaker divisions for interleague play.
Eliminate ridiculous 11:30 in the morning games for the sake of a TV deal. And if a game is on a streaming service only like Apple +, they have to be made available to the featured teams home markets via over-the-air free channels so that local fans who don’t pay for subscription services can watch the games. This is what they do in the NFL. Games on Amazon will be available in the home markets of the competing teams. The idea is to increase the fan base not reduce it to those who have disposable money.
In the All-Star Game, teams will go back to wearing their own uniforms. And the game will be before the home run hitting contest. By the time the game airs now nobody cares.
There will be fewer playoff games, not more. When too many teams can make the playoffs the regular season becomes meaningless — ala the NBA. And by the time you get to the World Series fans are burned out on playoff games.
No more day-night doubleheaders where you’re charged separate admissions. It’s grueling for the players and greedy on the part of the owners.
No more phantom runners on second base to start extra innings.
No more seven-inning doubleheader games ever.
No stupid catcher-pitcher transmitting devices. Just more equipment to malfunction and cause delays. And if one team’s equipment doesn’t work then the other team can’t use it either. You don’t want runners at second stealing signs? Change your signs like they’ve been doing successfully for 120 years.
Incompetent umpires like Angel Hernandez and C.B. Buckner would be fired.
Starting pitchers have to go 7 innings to get a win, not 5. You’re paying your ace hundreds of millions? Let him earn his 20 wins a season, not pitch 5 innings while a parade of flamethrowers take over.
Unvaccinated players don’t play, and don’t get paid for missing games. It’s still a personal choice. You choose to let your teammates down and lose millions of dollars. Same goes for announcers.
One challenge a game, per team. You lose the challenge, you don’t get to challenge the next game.
No larger bases. That’s absurd.
If every team uses the same analytics to hold down the cost of free agents I would take it to court as a form of collusion.
World Series games start at 7:30 pm in the east during the week and 3:00 pm on the weekends. Yes, weekend World Series games are in the daytime. Kids can see the end of games. They’re not over at midnight. Again, increase the fan base. Networks will benefit when baseball is more popular again.
All franchises would have to set aside some money to build baseball fields in inner cities or poor communities to encourage young people to play baseball. It’s a travesty that there are not more Aftrican-American baseball players.
All franchises would have to make available an acceptable number of reduced price seats so families can attend ballgames without it costing them a fortune. This is an investment in the game’s future.
I’d increase the number of minor league teams. More fans around the country will see baseball, and it makes it harder to make the majors. So the quality of play in the majors will improve.
If a team charges an outrageous amount for parking, they also have to provide free shuttle service from public transportation. No exceptions.
And my long-range plan would be to find a way to change the broadcast rights so a team like the Dodgers can’t command a billion dollars for TV rights while division rival Padres are lucky to get a TV deal at all. There is parity in the NFL because Green Bay and Cincinnati make as much in TV revenue as the Rams and Giants.
And these would just be my first steps. You could see why I’d be hated. But I bet the fans would like me. And isn’t it about time they were taken into consideration for once?