Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Five Reforms To Make Major League Baseball Better

Don't get us wrong, the sight of The Evil Ones playing golf in October is positively gleeful. Nevertheless, the one-and-out Wild Card elimination scheme simply isn't fair. No team should have to slog it through 162 games, qualify for the post-season, and then head home after three hours of playoff action. It's just dumb. So, it got us to thinking, what should new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred do about this—and a few other things while he's at it? Herewith, our modest proposals to make the world's greatest game even better:

1.) Reduce the regular season from 162 to 154 games. Hey, that's how it used to be for decades. It was good enough for Ted, Willie and Mick, so it should be good enough for Mike, Bryce and Miguel. The shortened season would give MLB extra breathing room for a fairer playoff structure—one that wouldn't have the World Series end a few weeks before Thanksgiving;

2.) Go back to one Wild Card team per league and a reformed playoff format. With just four teams qualifying in each league, we could start the LDS series right away—with the weakest division winner playing the single Wild Card entrant in a seven-game series. Then, the two survivors meet in another seven-game LCS series. No more one-and-outs!;

3.) Play at least one World Series game during a Saturday afternoon. If the new Commissioner is serious about bringing in younger fans, some games have to be accessible to that audience;

4.) Limit mound visits by anyone—catchers, infielders, pitching coaches, managers—to two before a pitcher must be removed from a game. Any fan that has had to sit through endless catcher visits knows how time-consuming and boring they can be. If Manfred is serious about slashing game times, this would help big time;

5.) Make the DH universal in both the American and National leagues. Screw the purists. Pitchers hitting is a joke—and also makes National League ERAs deceptively better. Plus, it's just stupid for a major professional sport to play by different sets of rules. Maybe the NFL can allow the AFC to have 110-yard fields. The DH is more exciting and better—period. Make it universal.