Friday, June 19, 2009

Fixing Baseball

Baseball is again down in the dumps, thanks to the "news" that Sammy Sosa roided it up. So here are a few ideas that could fix America's Pastime.

1. The league with the best interleague record gets home field advantage for the World Series.

Enough with the All-Star game being the deciding factor. It's an exhibition game, which is supposed to be fun, not matter. Who wants to see two players on sub-.500 teams square off when it doesn't even matter to them? Yes, the winning and losing pitchers last year were from the Rays and Phillies - the two World Series teams - but how often does that happen? The only reason this rule is in place is because Bud Selig made an awful decision by calling the game a tie in 2002.

If we pick the league with the best interleague record, that will give us a much fairer outcome. That way, home field advantage (which is huge) will go to the best league, rewarding the team who had the toughest road to the Series, and the All Star game can go back to being fun.

2. Age restrictions

The biggest problem with baseball, in my opinion, is that nobody knows where these guys come from. College baseball is virtually non-existent, and no way are we going to follow every high school kid, international player or A/AA/AAA prospect. So here's a thought: you have to be two years removed from high school to be drafted/signed by a MLB club. It's what the NFL does, and it works. This rule will force players to attend college for at least two years, which will expose prospects to the national stage, which in turn will gets fans interested in the college game, which then leads to interest in the minor leagues.

With all the young talent being relocated to the NCAA, it will expand the talent pool and make it, for once, watchable. We will be acclimated with the college environment, making the MLB draft on par with the NFL/NBA drafts. Also, getting Central American players out of societies where PEDs are served with breakfast won't hurt either.

3. Get tough on steroids - for real this time

First strike: one year suspension. Second strike: three year suspension. Third strike: you're out.

If that doesn't force players to think twice before dropping their drawers for a performance boost, I don't know what will. But in order to do this, baseball has to be prepared. First off, the MLB must make a list of all known substances which might come up positive under a PED test. Go to a GNC and mark down everything. Make it known, make it clear, and there will be no mistake about what is or is not acceptable.

4. The World Baseball Classic should be played directly after the World Series.

Here's why it's bad to play the WBC in March: it's March! What do you think we're watching? Most casual fans don't get into baseball until June/July, let alone during college basketball season. Play it right after the Series, and you'll get fans right when their taste for baseball is the most palatable. This also helps us to get familiar with international players. Hey, if we watch the World Cup because of the rabid nationalism, we sure as hell will watch the baseball equivalent.


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