With the major league baseball playoffs getting started, I wanted to talk about the state of MLB here on the Broulis Beat Report.
I’m going to talk about things that I think baseball needs to change in order to improve the game.
HEY, LETS GO ALREADY!!
The first thing that comes to my mind, is how annoying it is when hitters take forever after a pitch to be ready for the next pitch. Too often are hitters stepping out of the batter’s box to adjust their gloves, swing their bat, look to the third base coach or stair off into the distance for whatever reason. Looking to see the sign from your coach is one thing, but the rest are not good enough reasons to step out every time. For me, former Yankee Derek Jeter was horrible with always adjusting his gloves. The action and pace of the game would have such a better flow to it, if the umpire would enforce this at the plate.
NO MORE SLEEPY INFIELDERS!
Talking about pace of play. The pitchers can be just as guilty. Taking time to find the right sign is one thing, but waiting forever after deciding your pitch is another. And from what I’ve heard, infielders like it more when pitchers work faster. This would be a welcomed change.
NO FREE BASE RUNNERS
This new rule of putting a runner on second to start extra innings is something I’m not a fan of. It does nothing for me and I haven’t heard any positive feedback about it. Just stop with this. There is no reason for it.
KEEP THE MARATHON, NEED MORE URGENCY
I would get rid of the 162-game season. I don’t have a perfect number of games in my head for a baseball season, but if I had to pick a number, it would be a 130-game season. I’m open to something different, but nothing more than 140 games.
Just speaking for myself, I get nothing out of watching Cleveland play Minnesota or Kansas City more than 15 times in a season. Neither city is close geographically and even when both teams are good, I don’t get a feeling of rivalry like I do when the Indians play Detroit or the White Sox.
I’d rather play Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, both Chicago teams and Washington more. For me, Geographic’s is important. There could be more realistic rivalries with the Reds, Cubs, Pirates and Nationals. I also think, from a fan’s standpoint, that it would be more exciting. Chicago is only five or six hours away, along with Washington D.C. How about the short drive from Cleveland to Pittsburgh? I just think that would make for a more exciting season.
Also, aside from Red Sox and Yankee fans, I don’t know many people that are watching those games as often as they show their games on the four-letter network.
OPEN TO REALIGNMENT
I’m not opposed to seeing the elimination of the divisions. It’s not something that keeps me up at night, but doing away with the East, Central and West wouldn’t be a horrible idea. That way, the top six records would get in. I don’t like how teams can get in, only due to winning their division. Your record must be in the top six and if not, you’re not in the playoffs.
That alone would also support cutting down a bunch of games against one opponent.
WARMER WINDS OF CHANGE
With lowering the amount of games, MLB could also wait until late March to start spring training and push the regular season back and wait until late April or early May. Not many people want to go to a baseball game when it’s freezing out. That’s just not baseball. The weather in the northern Midwest cities doesn’t start to really improve until May. This is something I’d really like to see changed.
Let me also mention how much I have enjoyed this 60-game season from an urgency standpoint. Teams couldn’t afford to go on multiple losing streaks that were long. Cleveland had an 8-game losing streak and it almost cost them a playoff spot. I like sports where you need a bit of urgency.
NO MORE LATE STARTS
If baseball wants the younger generation to be more interested in baseball, you can’t have playoff games starting later than 8. Most parents want their kids in bed by 9. Starting games by 7 would be a great way to help baseball. If the NFL can start the super bowl at 6:30, MLB can start it’s games by 7. This earlier start would also help out adults that have to be at work early the next day.
THE SALARY CAP THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN
Last but certainly not least. How much better of a sport would baseball be, if there were a salary cap? This will never happen, but the positive affect it would have on the game may be priceless.
I understand that there is still some revenue sharing involved in baseball. How much, I don’t know. I do not know or understand the system. But, imagine if each team had the same amount to spend and couldn’t go over a certain figure. That means teams like New York, LA and Chicago couldn’t have a spending advantage over the mid-level market teams like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee and Kansas City.
This, for me, is a major reason why baseball has lost a lot of interest over the years. Some people think it’s too slow, others think it’s too boring and some have told me they are fed up with the same teams always having more money than others.
The NFL provides this. The NBA provides this, but in the past 15 years, players are taking pay cuts to join forces and form super teams, which has ruined the game.
Major league baseball is a beautiful game and the playoffs are extremely intense. These are just some ideas from me alone that I think would improve the game.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Nick Broulis