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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Few Points to Save Major League Baseball From Itself

1. Jettison the notion that you have to play the All-Star game to a point where you could ruin a participant's season just because Bud Selig thinks that to give the game meaning it has to determine which league gets home field advantage in the World Series. The better solution is to give the league that wins more games in interleague play the home-field advantage. Why? Because that would show, all things being equal, which league is tougher and therefore more worthy of the home-field nod.

2. End the All-Star game after 9 innings, even if there is a tie. Take a page out of hockey's book, and create an old-fashioned shootout. In baseball's case, go back to a home-run-derby-like scenario. Take the three top home-run hitters on each squad, give them each three "outs" and see which squad combines for more home runs. The league whose squad wins the "shoot out" wins the All-Star game. If there's a tie after three hitters apiece, then add another, and so forth, until the event is decided. Talk about adding some suspense and not forcing the public to watch 15 horrid pitching-dominated innings, well, I think that this solution will do just that.

Right now, the construct doesn't work. That's not to say that Bud Selig or anyone involved in MLB is evil or silly or stupid or anything like that. It's just to say that despite the Commissioner's best intentions, his solution fails.

It's time to try something new.


Anonymous CBell said...

I don't like baseball, but here are my suggestions:

1) Each team has 11 pitchers. Each pitcher pitches one inning only. The two extra pitchers are "alternates" who may pitch in relief only for the remainder of a single inning.

2) There are unlimited substitutions for non-pitchers. Thus, a non-pitcher may return to the game once he has been replaced. However, a substitute batter must play in the field for at least one full inning after he hits.

3) Nine innings only.

This way, all players could play. In the 9th inning, both teams would be able send their best hitters to the plate - quite possibly batting against the best pitcher.

All pitchers would be used for one inning or less.

Managers would NOT be obligated to reveal their lineups or pitching rotations ahead of time. This would create suspense at the beginning of the game (for the batting order) and throughout the game (for the pitching order).

The outcome would determine which league would host the event the following year. (Home-field advantage of the World Series would revert to the team which achieved the better regular-season record.)

[As an aside, the winning players would earn, say, $100,000 each for the charity of their choice; $50,000 for the losers. This would elevate the notion of philanthropy: beside each player's name would be listed their chosen charity.]

10:01 AM  

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