Commish For A Day #10: Stadium financing, WBC

The last Commish For A Day proposal for the week comes from Lar at Wezen-ball. I had to ask Lar about the name of his blog since it was not something that I have ever heard of. His answer should give you some idea about his off-beat personality: “wezen” is the name of a star in the constellation “Canis Major” (The Great Dog). I always liked the way it sounded, and I thought the humor involved with it was pretty funny, though admittedly quite esoteric and quite geeky (it’s the star at the point where the dog’s hind leg and tail meet – so it’s the dog’s butt).” Ladies and gentlemen, we have the first baseball blog named after the butthole of a canine constellation.

If I were CFAD, I’d focus on a couple of things that the owners probably wouldn’t like. First, I’d disallow public financing of stadiums. I’d also like to require that stadiums must have retractable roofs, but that might be unfair after taking away all public money. As much as I agree that building a major league stadium in a given city creates a pact between the city and the team, I don’t think that public financing works. I think it’s been proven too many times now that the team owner has too much power in these negotiations, and the city and the public end up with a bad deal. Making it prohibited or, at the very least, creating some strict regulations for it should help balance things out.

Second, I’d work with the organizers of the World Baseball Classic and the owners to make sure the event had as much support as possible. I don’t think it’d be fair to make participation mandatory, but there should be as few hurdles as possible. Working out the early season schedule, giving the national teams access to venues, and encouring participation among the players could all do a lot to support the event. It’s good for the sport and the players to grow baseball visibility around the world.

There’s probably a lot more that could be done (work with the schedule to allow for a more timely World Series, change postseason start times to give the children of today a chance to see the game, increase teams’ involvement with the community and youth baseball), but those are the two that I would focus on right away.

I was wondering if anyone would address the public financing issues or the WBC. I’ve been critical of the Yanks public financing snafus here, in the name of Randy Levine.

For previous CFAD entries:

  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS
  3. Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites
  4. Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay
  5. Commish For A Day #5: Playing by the rules
  6. Commish For A Day #6: 40 Man Roster
  7. Commish For A Day #7: No DH!
  8. Commish For A Day #8: Realignment
  9. Commish For A Day #9: Balanced Schedule, InterLeague

Continue reading Commish For A Day #10: Stadium financing, WBC

Commish For A Day #9: Balanced Schedule, InterLeague

This Commish For A Day entry comes from Brad, who was good enough to go hog-wild on the balanced schedule idea while eliminating Inter-League play. I thought this made a nice follow-up from the realignment idea earlier this morning. Brad, following his balanced schedule/Interleague reasoning, riffs on a number of the ideas I originally posed. Despite the length of this posting, I included it all.

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Continue reading Commish For A Day #9: Balanced Schedule, InterLeague

Commish For A Day #8: Realignment

I got this Commish For A Day entry a bit late, but not only was it well-written, it was on a subject that I hoped someone would tackle. Reader TJ was good enough to send this manifesto covering the very sensitive subject of realignment. TJ is currently a senior at The College of New Jersey who is life long Yankees fan.

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Continue reading Commish For A Day #8: Realignment

What I learned today

I learned that the arbitration figures, once settled, are not guaranteed contracts. I didn’t realize this; I thought all baseball contracts are guaranteed. A team could release a player after arbitration and only responsible for 1/6th of their salary.

A lot has been made about Jason Varitek and some other free agents not accepting arbitration, and it has even been suggested in a few places that Varitek […] made a mistake by declining arbitration. But that suggestion may not be right.

In Varitek’s case an arbitration award could have meant about $11 million, as he made $10.4 million last year. However, going to arbitration and having a fully guaranteed contract are two different things. To that point the Red Sox had declined to guarantee any offers to Varitek (arbitration deals are not fully guaranteed) and were hinting that Varitek’s playing time might be diminished, so Varitek ultimately worried that the Sox only offered arbitration to keep the dialogue going and that ultimately they might release him after going to arbitration with him. Had the Red Sox taken him to arbitration, in reality they were only guaranteeing a little more than $1.5 million (a team that releases a player after arbitration but before the season only has to pay one-sixth of the salary). This is a fairly rare occurrence but it has happened in the case of Todd Walker and several other players.

Even so, it’s still a mystery to many why Varitek didn’t take arbitration. And even Red Sox owner John Henry asked Varitek in their well-publicized meeting a week ago why he didn’t take the arbitration offer. The reason is that Varitek didn’t believe that accepting arbitration would guarantee him a spot on the team.

Continue reading What I learned today

Commish For A Day #7: No DH!

The last Commish For A Day comes from International Correspondent and foreign baseball connoisseur Ron Rollins, master of the site Baseball Over Here. This is more of a stream of consciousness…with a distinct left turn into the Land of the Disturbed.

  • Elimnate the DH, as it is an abomination to sports. (abomination = affront to the sensibilities of the human race)
  • There is no sitting out for substitutes at a crucial moment of the game.
  • In the NFL, when the QB is about to get sacked, they don’t stop the game and let someone else get tackled to avoid injury.
  • In golf, they don’t let the player do hit the tee shot, hit the drives and chips, and then have someone else come putt for him.
  • In the decathalon, an athlete doesn’t do 9 events and then get to pick someone to do the 10th because its his weakest.
  • In life, a guy doesn’t take a pretty woman to dinner, wine and dine her, get her all hot and bothered, and step aside and let some other guy complete the mission.
  • No, in life, you have to do the entire job. You have to finish what you start, even if she doesn’t.

So, no DH, eh Ron?

I’m not so anti-DH. In fact, I could even see an argument to expand it to the NL. Blasphemous, perhaps, but it might be better than having to watch some of these inept pitchers trying not to look like fools, or worse, trying not to get killed. Having lost Chien-Ming Wang for half the season due to an injury sustained while running the bases, I could live without seeing pitchers hit.

For previous CFAD entries:

  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS
  3. Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites
  4. Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay
  5. Commish For A Day #5: Playing by the rules
  6. Commish For A Day #6: 40 Man Roster

Continue reading Commish For A Day #7: No DH!

Commish For A Day #6: 40 Man Roster

I’m going to add another Commish For A Day posting (or two!) this afternoon as I’d like to get everything in this week. The response was greater than I expected and I want to give those who took the time the chance to be heard. This post nicely follows the previous CFAD posting about rules changes.

This comes from Howard from Philadelphia, home of the World Champs. Howard’s “too old” to cite his age (his words, not mine!), but he’s got a real beef with the roster expansion from 25 to 40 once we hit September:

The dumbest rule in baseball has to be that teams can have as many as 40 players active for September games after having only 25 players active for games from April through August.

If I was commissioner for a day, I would still allow teams to call up as many as 15 players from the minors for games in September and October; however, each team would have to submit a roster of 25 players for each game. This way, the minor leaguers can travel with the team and play – especially in games between two teams that are out of playoff contention – without important pennant-deciding games being won and lost using a different set of rules than were used during the first 5 months of the season.

Also, if they enact this rule, we won’t have to sit through 4 hour games where Tony LaRussa uses 10 pitchers to get the last 12 outs.

For previous CFAD entries:

  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS
  3. Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites
  4. Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay
  5. Commish For A Day #5: Playing by the rules

Continue reading Commish For A Day #6: 40 Man Roster

Law's Top 100 Prospects

Following his organizational rankings released yesterday, Keith Law published his Top 100 prospects rankings on ESPN today.

I can smell the RSN soiling themselves over Lars Anderson’s #7 ranking, and rightfully so. Will be a nice replacement for Papi in a few years, likely bumping Youk back to 3B.

You have to get to the 2nd page (Insider required!) to see the first Yankee prospect listed at #46, Austin Jackson. Says Law:

Jackson’s star has dimmed over the past year or so, as an expected breakout hasn’t come. He’s shown that he takes a while to adjust to each new level or challenge. He’s still a great athlete, but it’s not translating into baseball skills as quickly as hoped.

Jackson’s tools grade out as more or less average across the board, with nothing standing out as plus except for the possibility that he’ll become an above-average hitter (for average, that is). He had good speed but is, at best, a 55 runner now, although he has good instincts on the bases. He has gap power and can jerk a ball over the fence to left, but doesn’t project as more than a 15-20 homer guy unless he fills out substantially.

He’s solid in center field with a good arm, but probably isn’t a Gold Glove candidate. Because he lacks a major weakness, he’s still a valuable prospect, and he’ll play all of 2009 at age 22, so he has room for growth. It’s just hard to see the ceiling that appeared to be there a year or two ago.

Continue reading Law's Top 100 Prospects

Commish For A Day #5: Playing by the rules

I got a bunch of Commish For A Day suggestions that seem to hover around the general topic of “call things according to the rulebook“. Since they were brief, I’ll run ’em all here.

Leading off, the almighty ShysterBall, who STILL cannot get past rule 8.04:

I’d demand strict adherence to the rule 8.04, which requires that a pitcher throw the damn ball within 15 seconds of receiving it from the catcher, and I’d pair it with a mandate to the umps that batters not be granted time every single time they ask for it. Let’s move the game along people.

Channeling his inner ShysterBall is old pal Carl, a Nationals ticket holder who has an affection for seeing as many ballparks as he can as well as an unnatural affection for John Kruk and for all mascots.

I’ve known the answer for this for quite some time. I would change or enforce rules to speed up the game. Can’t leave the batters’ box without a genuine need, can’t wander around the mound between pitches. Get in there and hit. Get up there and pitch.

Whenever I hear someone say they don’t like baseball, and I ask why, they almost always respond “It’s boring! All they do is stand around.” But MLB has been unable to address this core flaw in the game. It wasn’t always like this, even in the post-season. I remember reading an editorial on this subject a while back (unfortunately, can’t remember the writer) that said “The 1985 World Series was important too, but they still managed to play all seven games in under three hours.”

Also wanting to chip in on the “playing by the rules” is Doug Beebe, who has no problem busting the umpiring union to smithereens, if necessary:

You list SO many good options, but I’m going to go off the board for a different change:

Call the game by the rules (necessarily, fire umpires who refuse).

Some impacts of this: no more “in the vicinity” at second base on double plays, failing to avoid being hit by (or actively leaning into) a pitch does not award first base, call the strike zone as published (and, if we don’t like what’s written, heck, change it).

This won’t have the sweeping impact of some other things I would also do (cap & floor, team stadium funding, all-star doesn’t determine home field, playoff start times), but it would make me a lot less frustrated when I watch games.

As you might recall, I posted a mini-rant/ramble on some rules changes to speed things up during the World Series 2008.

For previous CFAD entries:

  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS
  3. Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites
  4. Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay

Continue reading Commish For A Day #5: Playing by the rules

Cano looking good

From Kevin Long, Yanks hitting coach:

Robinson Cano met with Long in November, working out in the Dominican Republic and continuing the adjustments that the hitting coach suggested late in the season. Cano had hit rock bottom in terms of frustration, and only a September surge helped him raise his average to .271.

With Long’s help, Cano has reduced movement at the plate, tweaks that remain constant in the overhauled stance that will be on display next month. But Long said he was blown away by other changes Cano has made, hiring a personal trainer to help reduce his body fat and add muscle for the year ahead.

The trip to the Dominican went above and beyond what I expected,” Long said. “Really, I just expected to go out there and see where he was from an offensive standpoint and mechanically, and mentally talk to him about his game plan for winter ball.

To go out there and see what kind of shape he was in was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. He’s worked hard to get himself in shape and get himself looking like a top-notch ballplayer.”

We can only hope he shows that dedication and resumes his ascention to becoming a top AL 2B. Continue reading Cano looking good