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How to Fix Baseball

Couchpotato

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Well, first you have to decide what needs "fixing". Different stake holders (Owners, Labor, Fans) have different priorities. One source said that the profits from a single MLB team are over $100M. That is profit. Not revenue. So I doubt the owners see much need in "fixing" things. The other two stakeholders? Probably see room for improvement. Here are my ideas. First, I think as far as scheduling goes, the NFL has it down to a science so MLB should seek to copy them from my point of view.
  1. The pitch clock is a good idea but, like instant replay, it will take a few seasons to work out the kinks. I can see more throws to first base to re-set the clock if that is an option.
  2. Making the hitter stay in the batters box is also a good idea but it would take a few seasons to work out kinks. I remember one year the wind was blowing so hard a batter got dirt in his eyes, the umpire gave him time out. Will that be a possibility?
  3. The season. Starts on the first Tuesday in April with a noon game in Cincy (every one else plays that night) and ends on the first weekend in October.
  4. All Star game.
    • Make it a Monday-Friday celebration with the game on Tuesday. It seems to me that most players would rather have the three days off instead of the honor of playing in the meaningless game. So give the players that play in the game 3 days off as well.
    • Expand the rosters to 40 players for each team. Currently there are 20 position players and 12 pitchers. Make it 25 and 15 so there are fewer snubs. Since nobody really cares about the game, nobody should really be upset that some players are making the team while others are not.
      • I'd have 3 position players and 2 pitchers out of the 8 new spots filled by a HOF committee who appoints a "favorite" to play an inning or two. Like imagine they were having it in Fenway Park this year instead of Dodger Stadium. I think the fans there would love to see the HOF committee appoint someone like Big Poppy or another not-too-distant retiree be able to get up there and take some swings. I don't mean someone who played with Yaz or Fisk but put someone who isn't eligible, a local favorite, a recently retired superstar, a magnetic personality, or someone who was clearly snubbed who is still current on the field for the spectacle of it.
    • Let the manager decide who starts. Currently, the starting line up is determined by the fan's vote and the reserves are selected by a player ballot and a commissioner's office. The manager should be able to pick who starts and who doesn't....thats what managers do. Remove any clause from contracts that has a start-in-the-all-star-game clause and replace it with being selected.
  5. Expand to 32 teams. Add franchises in Las Vegas and Nashville. Take the current 15 team leagues that have 3 divisions and convert them into 16 team leagues with 4 divisions. Just like the NFL.
  6. In 2021, the D-Backs played the Padres, Dodgers, Giants and Rockies 19 times each. Holy Shit!Does anyone need to see 19 games between two teams? My plan would be to do the following
    • Play your 3 division rivals 14 times a year (42 Games). Play each team in your league 9 times (108 Games). That will get you to 150 games. The other 12 are inter-league with another division from the other league. Just like the NFL sets it up every year to where you play 2 home games and 2 away games with a division from the other conference, you have that with the opposite league's teams. Meaning that the NL West would play 2 away series with two AL Central teams and two AL Central teams would visit. See #7
  7. Two parts to this one.
    • When the other team comes to visit, I would only have it on weekends and do a double header on the Saturday followed by a Sunday night game. This would mean you have two double headers scheduled a year.
    • I love what they did with Iowa last year. More please. I would have a lot more special venue games. About 6 per year. Puerto Rico! The DR. Mexico City. Sao Paulo. Even a barn-storming event once in a while. Hank Aaron stadium in Mobile... There is a beautiful stadium up in Buffalo, NY. I'm sure there are great little parks around the mid west and northeast.
  8. During the summer , set aside two weekday games a month to where kids under 14 get in free with their parents. Start developing some love of the game (or at least going to the game) in the youth. There was a game the D-backs played last season that drew 7,000 fans. Unless they are winning, they'll never draw well because nobody grew up watching the Diamond backs play ball. Make the players available for autographs and photos (starting players too) during these games. A little ambassadorship never hurt anyone.
  9. For the players... I would take the 10 & 5 rule and make it an 8 & 4 rule. Satisfaction means different things these days.
  10. I would expand the rosters but only make so many players eligible for substitution. Expand it to 28 from the 26. However, the other three players would not be eligible for every game. This would give the manager some flexibility on resting a player. Bryan McCann talked about how AJ Hinch would tell him that he was not going to be catching on Thursday night. So McCann would be able to go to the stadium later than usual, not go through the pre-game drills, etc...
  11. One last thing for the players. What I would do is set aside some road trips where the family could come along on a trip. This would be optional for the players of course but if you're going to New York or LA for 4 games (or the DR perhaps), how nice would it be to be able to take the wife and kids along so they could hit the beach or the Empire State building. Most players probably don't have trouble taking their family on a vacation during the off season and all but it would just be nice for the clubs to do something like this for the families and the players.
Just a few ideas above.
You can’t make batters stay in the box. How can they get signs from the 3rd base coach?
 

candycorn

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You can’t make batters stay in the box. How can they get signs from the 3rd base coach?
You step out between pitches. But you don't ask the umpire for time out so you can go through the ritual that Nomar used to go through.

Nomar-GIF.gif
 

Couchpotato

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You step out between pitches. But you don't ask the umpire for time out so you can go through the ritual that Nomar used to go through.

Nomar-GIF.gif
Ok but how much time are we saving here really? Shorten the game by 1-5 minutes tops?
 

candycorn

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Ok but how much time are we saving here really? Shorten the game by 1-5 minutes tops?

The length of the game doesn't bother me all that much. I think every little bit helps though.

I don't think "fixing the game" is a necessary on a game by game basis. Even with some lingering covid restrictions, most teams drew up near (if not over) 1M fans. TV ratings are going to be a problem for all sports going forward for various reasons... Mark Cuban was talking about how his son views the NBA on TikTok that they boil everything down to the "action" segments. So I don't really think there is anything they can do about TV. Its off topic but I think most sports will have black Friday types of existence as to where the entire season is just inventory but you "make your money" on the playoffs--much like retailers go into the profitability on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

What is broke?
I think playing your division rivals 19 times a year is bonkers. I'm sure Yankee and Red Sox fans relish the games they play against one another..... But after the 19th meeting...does even the most die-hard fan really think..."man, we've lost 9 times to them this year...this is for all the marbles"?

I believe expansion to 32 teams is inevitable so they should be tactical about it. The NFL has it down to a science--scheduling.

I think the All Star game--that should be a showcase is looked at by players, fans, and even the executives as something to endure; not celebrate. So I addressed that.

Are there too many games? 162 is a lot. Shortening the season may be something to look at but unless you take a cleaver to the schedule...its not going to move the needle. Is 154 games going to make every game that much more important? Nope. Would 90? Maybe. Make it 45 games and you may get some more interest in the day in day out results.

One threat I do see is that (like all sports), there is scant attention paid to the fans who will be coming in 2032, 2042, and beyond. Baseball is in more peril than other sports on this front because it is not a contact sport and athleticism is not at a premium in the game as it is in most of the other popular sports...and for whatever reason, athleticism is celebrated more by the public. The ESPN magazines that feature nude athletes for example. I don't think anyone wants to see John Kruk on there. I remember going to the Astrodome as a kid and, if I had children, at some point, we would have mixed in some trips to the ball park while they were growing up. So I recommended appealing directly to families by letting kids get in free with adults multiple times a year. Double Headers are a great way to get some interest locally. Have a band play between the games. I recall on Fathers day, they used to let you go down to the field and run the bases with your kids.
 

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