So I’m sure everyone has heard about the things being tossed around to change baseball and make it more fast-paced. And I’m sure we know the rule was put in place about limiting each team to 6 mound visits per 9 innings. And the penalty for a 7th trip is what? A fine? Who gets the fine? The catcher, the coach or manager that comes out of the dugout? The team? How big is the fine? Does anybody care?

Look, first of all, baseball is a slower-paced game. It just is. There is no clock. I actually like it that way. I like to be able to turn the the person I’m sitting next to and asking, “Would you hit and run here?” “Would you bunt or pinch hit?” The idea is that baseball is losing younger fans. Well, I don’t care what kind of rules you put in, that’s not going to change. Youth today has their iPhones, computers, etc. all Tweeting and Facebooking. Everything is instant. Those of us who didn’t grow up with that don’t really know what its like to have that be all you know. I know, I sound like your grandfather.

One thing I wish baseball did better, and it may or may not help with the youngsters, is market their stars. Basketball probably does the best job of this. Its LeBron, Harden, Steph. Kids today gravitate more towards individual players rather than having an undying loyalty to a team like us old-timers. And there are so many young stars in baseball that they are just missing out on. Bryce Harper, Kris Bryant, Jose Altuve, Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Judge. The list goes on and on. These guys should be doing endorsements, national commercials. We need to see these guys a lot more than just when they come to Wrigley. This current crop of 25 and unders really has a lot of potential to set the world on fire. Baseball needs to cash in on that.

But if baseball does want to make some changes, I do have a few ideas.

Idea 1: Reduce the schedule. We know this will never happen. The owners won’t give up the revenue. OK that’s fine. Going from a 162 game schedule to a 154 games is 8 games. That’s 4 home games. If you really can’t give that up how about 4 double headers a year. That would trim a week off so that the World Series doesn’t go into November. And if the money is still that big of a deal, make them day/night double headers. That’s 1 per month. Teams can plan for that. Well, at least I know Ernie Banks would go for this idea.

Idea 2: April in the Midwest and East is unpredictable at best. Or is it really? I’ve lived in Indiana long enough to know you just don’t expect “Spring”. April is cold and rainy. So why do so many teams in cold weather cities open at home? It wouldn’t bother me at all for the Cubs to open on the road somewhere we know they aren’t going to get rained out, snowed out, or frozen out. You play 81 at home, 81 on the road anyway you slice it. It doesn’t have to be the whole month of April, Just the first couple of weeks. Maybe sitting outside when the windchill is in the teens is OK to watch the Bears, but less than zero chance I’m doing it to watch baseball. This might help attendance too.  At least it would cut down on early season cancelled games. There are enough teams in warmer climates or have a roof that it can be done. I’ve heard the former commissioner asked about this and he cited a disadvantage to teams starting on the road every year. Again, 81 at home, 81 on the road.

Idea 3: Put the DH in the National League. This is the one I get the most blowback against. Can we be honest about this please? Is it really any fun to watch pitchers go up to the plate and flail like a little leaguer? And the first thing I hear is what about Jake Arrieta and Madison Baumgarner? Thats 2 out of how many pitchers that can hit? Sure there are a few others, but the vast majority can’t do anything with a bat in their hand. They don’t even hit in the minors anymore. Then I hear what about sacrifice bunts and strategy? Yeah nothing more exciting than watching a pitcher go up to bunt. If they can even do that, which is iffy. And the double switch? A monkey can do that. How about your starter is pitching well and so is the opponent. Why should I have to pull him in the 6th because I need a hit? Also, when you double switch, generally you lose a starter and replace him with a bench player. So it hurts the team in general. Anybody remember Kyle Schwarber in the World Series a couple of years ago? I can make the argument that if the Cubs had home field and played 4 games under National League rules they would have lost. And this is not a knock on Schwarber , but no matter how much weight he loses or how much he practices, he’s never going to be a good outfielder He makes his living with his bat. If nothing else, don’t you think the rules should be the same for both leagues? Would it make sense for the 3 point line to be 3 feet farther in the Western Conference or a field goal be worth 4 points in the AFC? . The only way to get uniformity is to add the DH to the NL. They aren’t going to give it up. Always remember Jon Lester went 0-81 before he finally got a hit. For all you math majors out there that’s a .012 average.I argue this point all the time, and I just can’t understand why you’d rather see that than having a real hitter in the lineup.

So those are my ideas. Not nearly as radical as some of the garbage I have heard. in extra innings put a man on 2nd base. What is this slow pitch softball? I love baseball. I think the demise of the sport is being greatly exaggerated by the national media. I will concede it has become more regional. But the regional networks have good ratings. If you want to try to compare it with the NFL, just don’t. It’s apples and oranges. The NFL is a once a week event. It’s not fair to compare their ratings (which are dropping by the way) to the ratings of a national Fox broadcast of the Cubs and Cardinals. Me, I’ll watch 6 kids in the backyard play whiffle ball. But not everybody watches teams other than their own during the regular season. I’m not saying you can;t try to improve things. The 3 division, wild card was a good change. And so was the 1 game wild card we have now. I hated it at first, but now I like it. If you don;t want your season to hinge on a 1 game playoff, win more games and don’t be in it. What I’m saying is we don’t need to change things so radically that it doesn’t look like baseball anymore.

Comments are closed.

Check Also

Kyle Hendricks Dominates Against the Padres

On Monday, May 9th, Kyle Hendricks dominated one of the top teams in baseball. At that mom…