This post is corny. This post has been done before. I don't care. I find stuff like this fun. Yesterday, Rob Manfred won election by the owners to become Major League Baseball's next commissioner, replacing long-time commissioner and former used car salesman Bud Selig. Manfred takes over at a strange time in that baseball is still a huge business, but as Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk has documented many times in the past, many want to declare baseball dead and bemoan its decline in popularity. For a moment, though, let's put that nuance aside and ask a silly question: What would the people of IIATMS do if they were placed in the commissioner's role with autonomous power?
William Tasker, Overlord Jason Rosenberg, and I put forth some ideas. Many of them overlap, but some of them don't and hopefully this'll lead to some conversation by you fine folks in the comments. Without further ado, here are some of the ideas we laid forth, starting with the Overlord. Disclaimer: Not all of these come with exact prescriptions.
--Eliminate the practice of using the All-Star Game to determine home field advantage in the World Series --Eliminate mandatory representation at the All-Star Game, if my first idea cannot happen --Use the DH in both leagues --Adherence and penalties for slow play --Enforce the natural design of the strike zone --Develop some solution regarding the draft and international free agency --Fix rule 7.13 (collisions at home plate) --Not in the Commish's jurisdiction but remove the limits on HOF ballots/year --Create a penalty for "tanking" (proof could be impossible, I understand) --Ban Randy Levine for life (just 'cuz) --Decisions to ask for a replay must come within 10 seconds of the manager stepping out of the dugout. These multiple minute preview/discussions are a waste of time and not factored into the current accounting for "replay time" --Eliminate the Therapeutic Use Exemptions for things like testosterone, HgH. If a player must use Adderall, it should be verified by at least two non-MLB affiliated doctors. --Explore all reasonable avenues to prevent shattered bats from causing any further injures (EDIT: h/t to Forged for bringing this up in the comments)
Next, we have Will's suggestions:
--Fix the blackout rules --Fix the Tampa Bay and Oakland stadium situations --Fix the strike zone --Make the DH optional in NL parks --Get rid of the World Series factor at the All-Star Game --Fix both the draft and the IFA process --Make or enforce time-between-pitches rules for batter and pitchers --Limit mound visits by catchers and coaches --Continue policy of working with the union rather than against it --Fix the qualifying offer system --Make no rules concerning the shift --Fix the home plate/collision rules --Work harder to find concussion protection for catchers and umpires
There are a lot of the above that I agree with: the WS/ASG conundrum, changes to the talent acquisition systems, clarifying the HP rules, no "knee-jerk" reactions to the shift, and implementing the DH in both leagues. There's essentially only one thing I disagree with that both Will and Jason put forth, and that's the pace of play stuff. I may be the only baseball fan around who thinks that way, but I think that's because I haven't heard any rule suggestions that I like regarding speed ups. I suppose I could get behind the idea of a pitch clock, but that rule could be easily circumvented by pitchers stepping off the mound repeatedly at the time limit. And given the nature of baseball, a game in which there is no clock to run out, no ball to sit on, does either team really benefit from a slow pitcher? The mound visit thing I appreciate, but at the same time, the pitchers and catchers who confer are generally getting paid a boatload of money and have an equal amount of pressure on them to perform; if they want to take a few seconds to match up on how they're going to approach the next batter, I'm fine with that. Umpires are already generally good at breaking those meetings up in a timely fashion anyway.
As for things I would do that Jason and Will haven't covered, there are a few things: --With a hat tip to Michael Eder, is to allow the trading of draft picks --Alter replay rules to eliminate challenges and have a fifth umpire in the stadium to review and evaluate all close calls --I would revamp the playoff system in a few different ways:First, I would eliminate divisions, since it's ridiculous that the AL West teams get to play the Astros 19 times a year, just like it was ridiculous when the Yankees and Red Sox of the recent past got to fatten up against the Devil Rays. Of course, the corollary to eliminating divisions is to balance out the schedule so that everyone plays everyone as equally as possible. And finally, I'd go back to the "old" number of eight playoff teams, with the top four in each league making it to the playoffs.
Of course, Moshe Mandel had the best idea of any of the ones put forth:
I have just one suggestion: #YankeesOnly