If it's not broke, don't fix it. But what if you could tweak some things? Tear the league apart, reorganize the whole shebang. What would you do?
And with pitcher injuries sustained by hitting in the last couple of years, those in the National League are finally warming up to the idea of a designated hitter. The idea is reportedly "gaining momentum," according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who noted that Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has been involved in discussions with other NL teams regarding the subject.
That brought on a lot of discussion from the Bless You Boys staff, which eventually shifted over to the number of games played, the effects of getting rid of some games, and other possible changes. Some wanted to shorten the season, others wanted to leave well enough alone. And then there were some who wanted to blow the current structure to smithereens, more or less. Most everyone agreed it's time to bring the DH to the NL, kicking and screaming, if need be.
We decided to summarize a few of our thoughts and then see what you think. Our responses were kept to about 100 words or so. At least, we tried. Now tell us how you would change MLB, if at all, in the comments.
So, without further ado, here are those thoughts:
Here are my thoughts:
Fewer baseball games is something I'm against and teams probably wouldn't be happy with losing a lot of money from eliminating those games, either. No point in touching that. Make the DH universal throughout and get rid of yet another injury risk to pitchers. Don't allow the All-Star Game to decide home field advantage for the World Series. Dissolve the AL/NL and split the 30 teams into three broader divisions of 10 teams (West, Central, East). Place the two best teams (by divisional record) in a Divisional Series five-game playoff. Keep two Wild Card slots and have them play a three-game playoff instead of one game. This should also be tiered by record, so the top teams aren't faced with a Wild Card elimination scenario. Keep the rest as-is, including rosters.
Keep the regular season game count as-is. You don't find real fans complaining about the option of couch coaching their team for a few more outings. I would also support the elimination of the pitch clock, as it just seems like an unnecessary added piece that I don't think was needed to begin with. The amount of pitch clock infractions was so miniscule, I don't feel like having it adds a huge difference to the pace of play and multiple minor league pitchers have stated that the clock didn't change their flow as it was, so why not just eliminate it all together? The concept of a universal DH to prevent injuries to pitchers is spot on. As far as the designation of leagues, I concur with Catherine on a border designation into East, Central and West. Eliminate the unnecessary pieces and simplify.
Use the DH in all interleague games, especially the World Series. I have no desire to see pitchers batting, or taken out of the game for a pinch hitter. Contract the two Florida teams, align each league into two divisions, East and West. Expand rosters to 27 players to make up the lost jobs, expand to 30 in September. Division winners plus four Wild Card teams in each league make the playoffs. One game Wild Card playoff. More interleague games, fewer division games. Narrow the definition of a balk. End all TV blackouts. Season starts on April 1 and ends Sept. 30.
Basically I don't want less baseball, and I see no need for a 154-game schedule, so boo to that. I'd be really surprised if the league would want every owner to cough up four home games and millions of dollars. Better scheduling could alleviate the issues being voiced. I would like to to see the DH in the NL, at least in interleague. And I think the five best teams per league should make the playoffs in order of their win totals, not three division winners and two Wild Card teams that may have better records. There are too many in-division games, as well. Creating two divisions, East and West, or eliminating them entirely, would be preferable.
I'm going to go really old school with my answer here. I'd like to see interleague eliminated. I think it would be fun to see two leagues with balanced schedules that only met in the All-Star Game and World Series. We can eliminate the Marlins and Rays to get down to a pair of even-number leagues. Florida wouldn't miss them anyway.
If I get to change anything about MLB, I'm reforming the All-Star Game. First thing I'll do is change the starting lineups from a fan vote to a three-person panel of myself, Grant Brisbee and Miguel Cabrera. Then, I'd kill the stupid home field advantage rule. Give home field to the winner of something that truly matters, like the Home Run Derby winner.
DH in both leagues needs to happen. Home field advantage in the World Series should be determined by which team had a better record in interleague play. Only use the All-Star game as a tie breaker. Every manager must have a run matrix in his dugout. Bunting should be outlawed.
The most significant change I would make would be to get rid of the second Wild Card. Yes, it brings some excitement and can lengthen the season hopes of teams who would otherwise be playing meaningless September games, but for me the postseason should be for the best teams. The MLB playoffs are the most exclusive among the big four North American sports and should be kept that way. The DH in the NL absolutely WILL come to pass one day, so I see no point in delaying the inevitable. It's my strong belief that both leagues should play to the same rules. Watching a Bartolo Colon at-bat only has a certain lifespan of amusement.
Get rid of interleague play and the associated DH problem. This can be done by moving the Astros back to the NL to make an even number of teams in each league. Eliminate the divisions and play a reasonably balanced schedule of 162 games. The top three teams in each league make the playoffs and the next two are Wild Card slots. Eliminate the challenge/replay system -- it is mostly a waste of time and creates long anticlimactic pauses in the game. Finally, change the defensive positioning rules to eliminate the shift. It just looks silly.
Move the Marlins to Montreal and fire Jeffrey Loria into the sun.
Make streamers on the ends of bats mandatory. League must donate money to charity on behalf of player with best bat flip or strikeout celebration each week. English language announcers are required to announce with the same passion as Spanish language announcers. American League teams in National league cities are allowed the DH but only if it's their manager. Rob Manfred is required to sit in the least expensive seat for a whole game in each ballpark in the league. Every citizen of a municipality that helped pay for the stadium is entitled to unlimited free hot dogs at games.