“If I were the MLB Commissioner” by Joel Schafer

I have said many times in the past that Major League Baseball needs change. Well, being that we started a new era in baseball where in large part Bud Selig screwed the league up more than it should have ever been. There was a strike shortened season that did not have a champion crowned. He tried to take out 2 teams, the Twins and Expos. He added inter-league play. He made an exhibition game count: the league that wins gets home field for the World Series. He has expanded the playoffs from 4 teams to too many teams and a bad playoff system. He also let the Steroid era get way too big with way too much FAKE media outcry. Thanks for nothing Bud. You are by far the worst sports commissioner in the history of all of sports. To make baseball better there are several things I would do to make the league better.

  1.        Add 2 more teams immediately.

I don’t like seeing the Brewers in the National League; they don’t belong there. In the same manner Houston isn’t an American League team. Yes, Houston has a problem. They were built as an NL team and were given the disservice of having to change leagues. With that being said, the Brewers and Houston would move back to their rightful divisions. I know this feels like the wrong thing to do, but this would restore the integrity of the leagues to what they once were. The second part is adding 2 teams. The first team would go in one of 3 locations. These locations are Nashville, Memphis or Louisville. Why Nashville or Memphis?  They both have a pro franchise: in the NHL, the Predators; in the NBA, the Grizzlies. Both are supported dearly; these markets would love to get a fresh new team.  Louisville is different. While they are known for their NCAA basketball in that city, they are also home one of the most well known baseball companies, Louisville Slugger. They host an amazing ballpark, and the minor league team the Louisville Bats. This is a baseball town.  The second team has 4 options, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Charlotte and Santo Domingo. There have been pro sports team rumors to Vegas for years; none have come through. Baseball could be the first and many teams would love to visit. I could also see many opposing teams’ fans going there to see a game and then try their luck at the blackjack tables. New Orleans has 2 pro teams, the Saints and Pelicans; both are well supported. Charlotte has the Hornets of the NBA; that is why they get consideration. Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic is perfect for Baseball. It  is already a tourist destination. There are 7 pages of active major and minor league Dominican players; the list is with this link. –> mlb.mlb.com/dr/active_players.jsp . When the Expos played there back in the day, the place was packed with locals to see guys like Vlad and the young stars to be. I believe that could be replicated.

2.    Get rid of inter-league play throughout the regular season.

If you didn’t know it by now, Selig moved the Astros to make each league have 15 teams. This forced at least one inter-league series to be going on the entire season. The home team’s league rules apply. If you are a National League team a DH is required.  Most NL teams don’t worry about a DH until they are in an American League Stadium. Most American League teams don’t bother giving a pitcher any cuts in batting practice until they are in a National League stadium. Do you see the problem? The DH takes out the use of double switches and strategy, much of which AL managers never think of.  This is the reason behind adding the two expansion franchises I mentioned before. Both Leagues would have 16 teams and no need to play a rotating schedule of garbage games.

3.  Speed the game up.

I understand that there are efforts to speed the games up. My proposal gets back to the root of old school baseball. Enough specialization of the pitching staff. Having a lefty to get just one lefty out (and that is the only batter they will face), and then going back for another arm. It may be great for TV advertising money, but it is terrible for the speed of the game. Casual fans that get bored start the wave and disrupt people who are actually watching the game because of this nonsense. Having 3 pitchers come in to pitch in the 7th inning to complete one half of the inning is quite comical. The half inning could have 3 batters come to the plate and take over 45 minutes to play. Managers will get one in-inning pitching change per game.  Let’s say the starter has 2 out and the bases loaded and he walked the last 2 batters; the manager may use his one pitching sub, the rest would be at the start of the inning.  The other part that would be different is, the reliever will get zero warm up pitches. He had plenty of time in the bullpen to be limber. Pitchers better be on from the start or it could be a train wreck. What if there is an injury for a pitcher in said inning? Yes, a second pitcher may enter but gets half the allowed warm up tosses as the start of an inning. How would you prevent faking an injury?  There is a mandatory trip to the 15 day DL, real or fake injury.

4. Reinstate Pete Rose

I don’t have to go far with this, Pete Rose belongs in baseball.  Pete would not be allowed to manage again, however he would be allowed to coach and mentor young players. He would be eligible for the Hall of Fame and the writers better put him in first ballot. As a manager Pete Rose was 424-388 which is a .522 winning percentage. Did he bet on baseball? YES.  I just don’t believe he should manage again.

5. Make the All-Star game what it is supposed to be.

All-Star voting has been forever voted on by the fans. For as long as I remember it has been that way. This too will change. Players will vote for their colleagues. Coaches and manager votes will be weighted. and every player’s ballot will be posted. The game will be an exhibition game and will be the best players of the year and it will be a game for fun. The purest baseball is always fun. We need to get back to match-ups like Johnson vs Kruk. Kruk might as well have sat in the dugout and swung. It needs Bonds wrestling with Torii after Torii robs Barry of a homer. It needs A-Rod moving to 3rd for Cal to play shortstop one last time. Bring back the boys of summer in style. Home field will never again be on the line at an All-Star game.

6. American League DH rule change

If you are David Ortiz, you won’t like this rule. I am a National League guy. I would love to just get rid of the DH all together. I am however a fair person and know the other side of the argument all too well. DH is a position in which you should be a run producing machine. They don’t ever play the field. The changes would make the triple switch something you may see in the American League. Once the pitcher is subbed for, the DH is no longer allowed to bat without taking the field.  They may take a fielding position and you put a pinch hitter in the fielder’s spot. Any pitching change puts a new batter in the lineup.  DH’s better go and buy a glove.

7. Fix the playoff system 

This is the easiest fix of all the things I would change. Gone is the one game playoff. Baseball has a rotation of starting pitchers for a reason. It used to be a 3-4 man rotation when I was growing up. This is one reason the season is so long. At one point only 2 teams from each league got in. It meant more to win the Pennant back then. There were only 4 divisions in baseball AL East and West and NL East and West. I will not go back to the 80’s and have only 4 teams because I think 6 divisions are needed in the MLB. There will be 4 teams from the NL and 4 from the AL represented. Three division winners and one wildcard. Each series would be best of 7. The team with the most wins in the league gets home field advantage. The World Series will have the NL and AL rotating yearly as to whom gets home field advantage for the World Series.

8. MLB.TV fixed

If you are like me, you like to watch all the games live. MLB.TV blacks out games that are “nationally televised”. If you have cable it is nationally televised. I bought the MLB.TV  package and stream 2-4 games a day live or recorded. If there is a game on that is local and is on cable that game should not be blacked out to me locally. The second part is again for the non cable users.  Playoff baseball will be available on your local channels. Sorry cable and dish. MLB.TV will stream those games for free, purchased package or not. Playoff baseball should be watched.  MLB.TV will have options to live broadcast or single camera for the playoffs. Minor league games will be easier to find in this fix also.

I hope you enjoyed my little fantasy world as the Commish. I guarantee you would love me for the love of the game.

Per my contract agreement with Baseball Beer BBQ, I am required to let you know what I am drinking while I write and edit (if it is indeed beer). Tonight I am having Summit Brewery Unchained series batch number 18  Hop Silo Double IPA from a can poured into a tulip glass.  Cheers.

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