I love Major League Baseball. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I’m 31-years-old and an anomaly now.
There is a drastic lack of interest in baseball in the country. And I plan to do something about it.
When MLB commissioner Bud Selig (Hallelujah) retires in January of 2015 a new commissioner will have to be voted into power by the 30 owners of the 30 clubs of Major League Baseball. Which is why I’m here; to officially put my name in for the next commissioner of Major League Baseball. I will be the people’s champion. I will bring the masses back to PNC, Kaufman and the other great ballparks around this great country.
The problem with being an out of nowhere commish is I’ll have to please everyone. The owners, the players and the fans. That might be an issue for some other would-be-commissioner, but for me, no problem.
Here is how I will do it:
Shorten The Season:
Bringing it back to the old school. It’s so cool. We will play a season that lasts 154 games. (How’s that taste MLB Purists?) People complain about 82 game seasons in the NBA, double that for baseball and you slow down our ability for casual fans to keep track of what is happening. There is more to why we do it, but we’ll get to that in a second.
Why The Owners Will Like It: They are losing 8 games, but really only 4 games at home that will affect their bottom line. Many teams will be saving money on salary, so it won’t be a negative for the owners much.
Why The Players Will Like It: Fewer games in a sport that is a grind of a season. Plus salaries should stay relatively the same for the majority of the league. Who doesn’t love getting paid the same for less work!
Why The Fans Will Like It: Get to the good stuff sooner. The playoffs come sooner. How is that bad?!
Re-Work The Schedule:
We’re down to 154 games. But now we’re going to redo the schedule. Instead of starting the first week of April, we will start the season the last week of March.
We’ve already cut 8 games out of the season. Now we cut 8 days out of the season. That gets us 16 total days removed from the season.
The next tweak: 8 scheduled double-headers per-season (the one ticket, two games, a family day at the ballpark kind of day). One at home and one on the road against each division foe on Saturdays during the season. That gets 8 more days off the schedule. That is 24 days removed from the schedule, while only losing 8 games. Why would we want to remove 24 days from the schedule? The final day of the season is Labor Day. The first Monday in September. This year that would be September 1st the latest would be next year on September 8th. Why would we want to end the regular season so early you ask? Well, that just means the playoffs start before the NFL. BEFORE The NFL. Get the teams in. Get people caring about win or go home wild card series (3 game) starts on Wednesday (Sept 3rd) then Friday the (5th) Saturday (6th). Leave Thursday and Sunday for the NFL to kick off the season. Then start the Division series on Monday (Sept 8th) and Tuesday (Sept 9th). Championship Series start 7 days later (Sept 15th and Sept 16th). World Series would start 11 days later (Saturday – Sept. 27th) and ends at the latest October 5th. Which means the Fall Classic is still in the fall (Starts September 22nd) and the playoffs are competing with week’s 1-5 instead of weeks 5-10. You know, when people really start diving into the NFL because playoff pictures become more apparent and people have invested 5 weeks in their fantasy teams. Baseball could actually have the spotlight of the sports world with this as their playoff schedule. When was the last time baseball could say that?
Why The Owners Will Like It: They are going to hate losing 8 gates a year. But their 4 double headers should have higher attendance than a single game during the regular season. Plus, more focus on the playoffs should help drive up TV revenue for those series.
Why The Players Will Like It: Longer offseason means more rest. Most players start their off-season conditioning in December or early January. If you end the regular season in Sept, that give players that don’t make the playoffs three full months to recoup for the next year.
Why The Fans Will Like It: Double-header Saturdays are a great deal to go see two games for the price of one. Spending the day at the ball park will only help bring more fans to game.
HOW DOES BASEBALL NOT HAVE A SALARY CAP!? Let’s get a salary cap in place immediately. We will use a soft cap method that will allow for a small percentage above the cap a team can exceed with penalties enforced. If they sign a player with 5+ years with their team the penalties will only be placed against 20% of the salary. (Not Including Minor Leagues). They will pay 150% of every dollar over the cap from .01%-3% over the cap. For every dollar over for 3%-8% over the cap the team will pay 250% in penalties. A very drastic 500% for 9% over and up will be paid in penalties. We’ll set the cap the first year around $100 million (near league average for 2014). To discourage going over the cap, those penalties will be split among the other teams in your division. You will essentially be paying your closest opponents for exceeding your salary cap. Also you will be more likely to keep your home-grown stars. We will also place a salary floor at 55 million to make sure every team is spending enough to stay competitive.
Why The Owners Will Like It: It keeps the costs down. Allows them to pay tenured players and lower salary teams will gain money in the division with higher salary teams. Keeps contract cost down.
Why The Players Will Like It: They honestly probably won’t like it that much. This goes against everything they love about the system now. Shin Soo-Choo signed a $130 million contract this off-season. We’ll keep the salaries guaranteed to appease them.
Why The (New) Fans Will Like It: It will keep players longer tenure with their teams. All teams will have more ability to compete which will hopefully induce a little more parody.
DH for All:
The Designated hitter will be drafted into the national league.
Why the owners will like it: Less worry of pitchers getting hurt on the base paths. Pitchers are important. Keep them on the mound.
Why the Players will like it: Power hitting slow first basemen and right fielders will be able to stay in the National league. Pitchers can focus on pitching. You know, because that is what they do for a living.
Why the Fans will like it: More offense. Who doesn’t love more offense!
We need to speed up the game. The games are too long. If you get out in three hours you are happy. And that rarely happens. A great thing about baseball is it’s the only sport without a clock. But we’ve all become so used to watching play clocks that it would fit seamlessly in the game. The thing is, this is already in the rules. It’s just not enforced. Rule 8:04 on pitching:
“When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call Ball. The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball. The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.”
I feel like that is reasonable. The only change is that the batter doesn’t matter, we make it from when the pitcher starts his motion instead of when he releases the ball and we add a physical clock. The pitcher gets the ball and the clock starts. If the batter doesn’t want to be ready, it’s his fault.
Why the Owners Will Like It: Keeps the game moving, fans more engaged.
Why the Players Will Like It: Keeps pitchers in rhythm not allowing batters to step out after every pitch to adjust their gloves and break concentration.
Why the Fans Will Like it: Speeds up the game, keeps the action going and keeps everyone engaged
NEW National TV Deal:
Currently one game is shown nationally on FOX on select weekends during the season (most of those weekends being when the Red Sox play the Yankees or the Cardinals play the Cubs) or two games a day on Fox Sports 1, which most people probably don’t know exists. We will get a new TV deal much like the NFL. Why like the NFL…because it works. They make money and are popular with the people. It makes sense to mimic them. We split the AL and NL and sell them each to a network for Saturday daytime broadcasts just like the NFL with the AFC & NFC. Then we sell a Sunday Night national game and Wednesday night national game to a cable provider. Sunday-Friday games are open to the teams to sell local broadcast rights, just like they are now.
The money from the media contract will be distributed to the league equally and the National games will be sure to fairly feature all teams during the season.
Why the Owners will like it: Money. Lots of Money they will get by getting a large National Contract AND a local contract.
Why the Players Will Like It: More exposure. More money for them with endorsements and who doesn’t like to play on a national stage.
Why the fans will like it: They get to see their teams both during the week and on the weekends. Along with that they will be more exposed to the rest of the league.
And with those changes I will make America’s past-time once again a relevant sport in this country. Will there need to be more changes in the future? Sure. Will I probably get some backlash for some of my radical ideas? Yes. But end the end it will grow the sport. It will make people love baseball again. People will love summer again. And not just for the bikinis…WAIT, another idea. Bikini Bleachers…where only girls in bikinis can go sit in a certain section in the bleachers. BRILLIANT! I can’t wait to be commissioner.
(if you read this entire post, e-mail me Garret@Koncr.com and with the subject “Boy That Was Long” and I will give you two free tickets to a game in the city of your choice and two free hot dogs at that game when I become commissioner.)