CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Kiss'Em Goodbye: New Y... (09/14)
<< Previous Column
The Lineup Card: 9 For... (09/08)
Next Column >>
The Lineup Card: 9 Bas... (09/21)
Next Article >>
The BP Broadside: In W... (09/14)

September 14, 2011

The Lineup Card

Commissioner for a Day

by Baseball Prospectus

1) Batters Do Not Get Time Out… Ever

Rule 6.02 in the official rulebook, a law that no player or umpire has ever read:

(a) The batter shall take his position in the batter’s box promptly when it is his time at bat.

(b) The batter shall not leave his position in the batter’s box after the pitcher comes to Set Position, or starts his windup.

PENALTY: If the pitcher pitches, the umpire shall call “Ball” or “Strike,” as the case may be.

The rulebook provides further clarification: “The batter leaves the batter’s box at the risk of having a strike delivered and called, unless he requests the umpire to call ‘Time.’ The batter is not at liberty to step in and out of the batter’s box at will. … Umpires will not call ‘Time’ at the request of the batter or any member of his team once the  pitcher has started his windup or has come to a set position even though the batter claims ‘dust in his eyes,’ ‘steamed glasses,’ ‘didn’t get the sign’ or for any other cause.”

The cat and mouse game in which the pitcher holds the ball and the batter steps out or the pitcher comes set and the batter steps out is spectacularly tedious and has no place in the modern game. Games are already plenty long without asking the fans to sit through long stretches in which no activity is happening other than the batter-pitcher hokey-pokey. Once the batter is in the box, he should be made to stay, and once the pitcher comes to a set, time should never be granted. The rulebook should be further amended to make this absolutely clear:  “Umpires will not call ‘Time’ at the request of the batter or any member of his team once the  pitcher has started his windup or has come to a set position unless the batter shows clear signs of having a cerebral hemorrhage. In all other cases, if a batter asks for time, the umpire will reply, ‘F—k off,’ and play will continue uninterrupted.” —Steven Goldman
 

2) Hire Greg Aiello, NFL PR Whiz
With just one day in office and CBAs in place to hold in check my desire to create massive realignment and more accountable umpires, I’d instead turn my attention to throwing goo-gobs (technical term) of money at Greg Aiello.

Who is Greg Aiello?  He’s Sr. VP of Public Relations for the NFL.  Whether you love or hate pro football, you have to admit that they’ve given the appearance of being “out front” on every major controversy in the last two decades.  

Steroids? You know they’re testing even though their program isn’t as tough as baseball’s. Bad seeds? Suspensions with teeth & bravado. Heck, they were days away from a devastating work stoppage, and they came out more popular than ever.

This comes while MLB, for all the good it does and as healthy as the league is overall, can’t get past disasters like Sunday’s “Cap Flap” at Citi Field.  They never seem to understand what will and won’t work in the court of public opinion.

So, I submit Greg Aiello on an A-Rod style deal.  Is he good at his job? Who cares?  The good PR from the image makeover would do wonders for the game’s image. —Mike Ferrin
 

3) Expand Instant Replay
If I were commissioner for a day, I'd expand the use of instant replay beyond the current limitation of being used only for home run fair/foul/spectator interference/live ball situations. As technology has improved, it's become abundantly clear that the game can and should do better than simply leaving everything in the hands of the four umpires on the field, who have a difficult enough job as it is. Blown calls on plays at the plate have cost the Pirates and A's ballgames, among others, and it's only a matter of time before the next Don Denkinger- or Jeffrey Maier-type situation turns a playoff series. While I would not go so far as to implement robot umpires (as I often call for on Twitter) or make every pitch reviewable from a ball/strike standpoint, safe/out and fair/foul calls would be reviewable if one team or the other protested, employing the same standard of needing clear and convincing evidence to overturn the initial ruling on the field as is used for the current boundary call instances. With a dedicated fifth umpire in the video booth to aid his compatriots, I don't believe this will add significantly more time to games—rulings on home run calls take about as much time as a pitching change, and how many controversial calls are there in a single night?—and in addition to avoiding the prospect of a wrong call deciding a game, it might actually improve the fragile relationship between umps and teams. If that's not in the best interest of baseball, what is? —Jay Jaffe
 

4) At Least One Day Game Every Day
When I was a Little League catcher, I used to wake up on game days and put my uniform on first thing. I couldn't think about anything except the day’s game until that game began, and those rare Saturdays when I was scheduled for the 4:00 game were torture. This is how I feel every Monday and most Tuesdays and Fridays when the Cubbies are on the road: no baseball until 4:05. Torture. And I'm on the West Coast. I can't imagine the endurance it would take to wait until 7:05 like poor, pitiable East Coasters must. That schedule might have worked when people worked diligently for eight hours each day, but nobody with an internet connection works diligently for eight hours each day anymore (there's a reason Baseball Prospectus publishes most of its stories and holds most of its chats during weekday business hours). Sure, this would complicate MLB's scheduling a little bit and put a little more pressure on teams’ traveling secretaries, but it would also give baseball fans nationwide the chance to watch a Pirates game together, which sure as hell isn't going to happen on Sunday Night Baseball. And it would make MLB.TV an absolutely essential purchase for every baseball fan. Look: we work hard for up to two hours each morning. We deserve a baseball game, every weekday, to distract us the rest of the time. —Sam Miller


5) Eliminate the Arcane Blackout Rules

MLB.TV has to be one of the coolest things going.  Or, it would be, if you could actually watch your hometown team. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome to be able to watch nearly any game you want. But the inability to check out your local teams really cuts into the value. I sort of understand the reason for it: the TV rights holders want you to watch their feed and see their ads. But that's not where technology and viewers are going. The trend is toward things like Netflix and Hulu; more and more people are dropping cable, and it's costing MLB and its teams money—both in the short term and likely in the long term.

Take me, for instance.  I live in upstate New York and am a Yankees fan.  We can get YES here, so Yankees games are blacked out on MLB.TV. But I don't want to spend the extra $50+ a month it would cost to get the cable package that includes YES. I'd be more than willing to pay for MLB.TV—if I could just see the team I want to watch.  Instead of getting a few hundred dollars from me, MLB and the Yankees are getting nothing.  Still, I've got it good compared to the people of Iowa who are blacked out for the Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, Twins, Cardinals, and Royals—a full 20 percent of games. And it's a shortsighted approach. The fans most likely to view streaming only are the young ones; the ones MLB should be wooing for their entertainment dollars. But alas, they've chosen a few extra dollars now versus growing the fan base for the future. —Dan Turkenkopf
 

6) Enforce the 12-Second Rule for Pitchers
There are so many things I would do differently if I was commissioner for a day, but the number one thing I would do is enforce the 12 second rule for pitchers.  The MLB rulebook states:

"When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball” The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball."

Commentators laud Mark Buehrle for his quick tempo during games, and in fact, he did have the shortest times according to this study. Unfortunately, he still averaged 16.0 seconds—four seconds longer than the allotted time according to the rule book. When factoring in the fact that this includes pitches with runners on base, Buehrle obviously works quickly and right around the time allotted. Compare this to Matt Garza at 25.7 and C.C. Sabathia at 24.2 seconds, let alone the relievers who approach 30 seconds.

At 100 pitches each for Sabathia and Garza, an additional 20 or 22 minutes (respectively) can lead to a fairly lengthy game. In reality, enforcement of the rule won't save as much time as these figures imply since many pitches are thrown with runners on base, but if only half the pitches qualify and it saves 20 minutes total, these games will feel less like sitting in the dentist's chair and more of an enjoyable experience. —Corey Dawkins

7) Make Mark Buehrle the Pitching Tempo Role Model
I would have Mark Buehrle make an instructional video on the merits of a quick tempo on the mound and make it required viewing for every pitcher in Major League Baseball. If all pitchers followed Buehrle's example, complaints about the length of games would be moot. Buehrle gets the throw from his catcher, addresses the plate, and, after waiting for the hitter to stop screwing around, goes right into his delivery. It's so simple, yet few pitchers work with such rhythm and pace.

Who controls the pace of a game? Is it the umpires with their small strike zones? The batters with their Mike Hargrove homages? The pitchers who stalk around the mound scratching themselves? Buehrle shows time and again that if a pitcher wants to move a game along, he can do it. You can always count on a Mark Buehrle start to last 130-150 minutes and rarely any longer.

And the approach works. We've all heard that old adage about how pitchers who work fast help keep the fielders behind them in the game. It's always made sense to me, though I have no idea if that notion holds up to analytical scrutiny. In Buehrle's case, his team's DER when he's on the mound has been better than the team's overall DER in nearly every season of his career. Sometimes, it's way better. The guy throws an 85-mph fastball, yet he's won 57 percent of his games over his 11-year career. Yes, he mixes pitches. Yes, he locates pitches. But Buehrle's defining trait is that he works fast, and in doing so, he makes the game better for everyone.

Incidentally, the last person who would probably want to make such an instructional video is Buerhle, who would rather be perched in a deer stand. —Bradford Doolittle
 

8) Return to a Four Division Format
Bud Selig is allegedly stepping down at the conclusion of the 2012 season. I’m sure there will be a lengthy interview process with many well-qualified candidates vying for the most powerful position in the sport. If MLB really wants to make a change, they will hire me for at least one day to return to the four division format. The AL East and West will have 7 teams each with the Indians and Tigers moving to the East and the White Sox, Twins, and Royals moving back to the West. In the NL, the Brewers, Astros, and Cardinals will move to the West and the Reds, Cubs, and Pirates will join the new NL East. These are strictly geographical moves, as the Braves being in the NL West really never made that much sense in the first place. This is not a return to the era of no wild cards but rather a variation on the two wild card era.

Obviously the schedule would have to be adjusted. For one, there would have to be fewer interleague series in order to get in all of the in-division games as well as a home and away series against each team out of division. The real change would be how this affects my hypothetical playoffs. Division winners would be guaranteed a playoff spot, and the two next-best records in each league would win a wild card spot. This means that potentially three teams in each division could make the playoffs, and a wild card team could have home field advantage in each round. This system is fairer to all teams given that non-division winners now have a 1/6 or 1/7 shot at making the playoffs as opposed to the current 1/13 or 1/15 odds. Instead of diluting the playoff field by adding a fifth playoff team in the manner that Selig is currently proposing, this playoff format ensures that the best teams make the playoffs in each league as it is less likely that a weak team will be able to sneak in as a division winner. Imagine a world where the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox, and Rays are all simultaneously jockeying for home field advantage and a playoff spot. A future where there are more intraleague rivalry games and fewer interleague matchups like the Marlins vs. the Mariners.

Unfortunately, I don’t think anything resembling this plan will ever end up taking place, and we are much more likely to see the second wild card plan that Selig is proposing. This modification of the four division setup ensures more teams with a realistic shot at the playoffs while guaranteeing only the highest quality teams make the cut to play in October. —Sam Tydings
 

9) Eliminate Errors as an Official Stat
Batting Average.  Earned Run Average.  Gold Glove Award.  These “old school” measures of player performance have long been targets of ridicule by the sabermetric community but usually only because of the amount of import that has been bestowed upon them.  Rightly criticized, they still are crude measures of the value of baseball players and of the ability of batters to hit, pitchers to pitch, and fielders to field.  Yet all three have one thing in common—the entirely subjective ruling of a third party: the official scorer.

Yes, all those “infield singles” our favorite slap hitter got probably would have required more than “normal effort” to prevent.  So, who could fault a judge in the press box from calling them singles instead of hanging a scarlet letter “E” on the opposing infielders who decided to put the ball in their pocket instead of trying to make the play on them?  Likewise, who's to blame the same official scorer from ruling that a two-out line drive off the first baseman's glove is an error, making all subsequent runs that inning “unearned” and thus preserving the ERA of the pitcher?  Of course, not all pitchers are so lucky, as the fellow who watches an easy popup fall harmlessly between two of his infielders for a “double” can attest...

With credit (and apologies for this cursory treatment of the subject) to Craig Wright's thoughts in The Diamond Appraised—the masterful 1989 book written with pitching coach Tom House—the error is a statistic which has long outlived its usefulness.  As Commissioner-for-a-Day, I'd take the opportunity to remove all official acknowledgment of this relic from the days of tiny gloves—or no gloves. It could be comfortably retired to a dark corner of the annals of baseball history along with the nine-ball walk and the treatment of advancement bases as stolen bases.  The question isn't whether fielding aptitude is important or not.  Clearly it is, and clearly teams are as aware of that today as they ever were in the days of old.  But while the psychological impact of a fielder completely muffing an easy play may seem, to the viewer, to be worse than that of a grounder scooting past a fielder with lack of range, the truth is that both have the same impact on the game situations, though one has a much worse impact on the Gold Glove chances of said fielder. 

In short, we have better metrics now.  And they should be used.  We acknowledge that “Batting Average” is insufficient to measure offensive contributions, and as Commissioner-for-a-Day, I'd do what I could to make sure that errors (and “Fielding Percentage”) would likewise be shunned by serious fans. —Rob McQuown
 

10) Eliminate the Leagues and Realign the Divisions
To win the National League Central, a team must beat out five competitors. To win the American League West, a team must beat out just three competitors.  To win the NL wild card, a team must beat out 12 competitors. To win the AL wild card, a team must beat out just 10 competitors.

That doesn't make sense, and it's not right. Things may not always be fair in life, but they should be as fair as possible in baseball. The vast majority of major league players feel that way. In fact, the biggest non-money related stumbling block between the players and owners in their negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement is labor's wish for a level playing field with two 15-team leagues with three five-team divisions.

Commissioner Bud Selig's biggest hesitation in acquiescing to the players' wishes is that he does not want at least one interleague game on each day of the season. Well, here's a somewhat radical way to eliminate Selig's concern: eliminate the leagues. While the two leagues are a tradition that is more than a century old, Major League Baseball has taken away the identity of both by eliminating the presidents of both circuits and bringing the umpires under one umbrella.

While I am eliminating leagues, I'll also radically realign the divisions to look like this in an effort to increase geographical rivalries and perhaps cut down on travel costs:

East: Red Sox, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays

South: Braves, Orioles, Marlins, Rays, Nationals

Midwest: Indians, Reds, Tigers, Twins, Pirates

Heartland: Cubs, White Sox, Royals, Brewers, Cardinals

West: Diamondbacks, Rockies, Astros, Mariners, Rangers

Pacific: Angels, Dodgers, Athletics, Padres, Giants

It's not perfect, but it's as good as I can get geographically. Scheduling would also be relatively easy and balanced. Teams would play their four division rivals 12 times each (48 games total) and would get six games each against teams that finished in the same place as they did the year before in the other five divisions to ensure more competitive balance, ala the NFL. Those 25 games would involve first-place teams vs. first-place teams, second-place teams vs. second-place teams, etc. Finally, teams would play the rest of the 25 teams once, 14 in four-game series, and 11 in three-game series to account for the rest of the 89 games in the 162-game schedule.

The final piece of the puzzle is settling on the designated hitter since abolishing the leagues means either the DH is used or isn't. Since I've already euthanized the leagues and radically realigned the divisions, it's only fair that I do something to make the traditionalists happy, and that is dumping the DH. The Major League Baseball Players Association will fight the elimination of the DH—usually a high-priced position—but I'll compromise by expanding the major-league roster limit by one player to 26 and raising the minimum salary from $414,000 to $500,000.—John Perrotto
 

11) Implement Little People/Big Leagues Rule
My name is Jason Parks, and I’ve been named Major League Baseball Commissioner for the day. I’m not sure why I was granted this power; I’m not first-name friendly with any owner, I don’t own a car dealership, and all the hair on the top of my head is real and luscious. Regardless, I can guarantee the decision to grant me this power was foolish and poorly thought out. With only one day in office, I’ve decided to act fast to implement a much needed rule, a rule that will change the face of the game while moving it into the future: Little People/Big Leagues. Let me explain.

Going forward, every team will be required to have two legally recognized little people (that is, human adults who fail to eclipse the height of 4’10’’) on their 25-man roster at all times. This is only the beginning. Every team will also be required to start and play at least one legally recognized little person for seven innings a game (or four at-bats per 80 pitches) at any position of their choosing. Failure to comply with the aptly named “Warwick Davis Little Person Mandate” will result in forfeiture and fine.

According to a cursory search, one out of every 25,000 people is of the legally recognized smaller variety (i.e. little people). Baseball needs to tap into this market. I’m tired of watching games and not seeing little people. Why should they be excluded? This new rule will make the games more competitive and more enjoyable for the average person, not to mention the added benefit to the teams themselves. Are you trying to tell me that Warwick Davis wouldn’t be a better option than Adam Dunn or Alexi Rios? Size doesn’t guarantee success. Time to join the 21st century, Major League Baseball. —Jason Parks
 

12) Increase the Height of the Pitcher’s Mound
The only thing scarier to a major league hitter in 2011 than facing Justin Verlander on a 10-inch high pitcher’s mound is facing the Detroit Tigers’ “Ace” on a 20-inch high pitcher’s mound. Given the power of the Commissioner’s Office, there is no question that raising the pitcher’s mound back to its majestic height from 1968 would be my “one” dramatic action. The summer of 1968 was, without question, “The Year of the Pitcher,” led by strikeout king and future Hall of Famer Bob Gibson. Using the plane created by a 20 inch mound, Gibson went 22-9 with a 1.12 earned run average and 268 strikeouts. The following season, with the mound lowered, Gibson still dominated, but he was human. The summer of 1969 saw Gibson post a 20-13 record with a 2.18 earned run average and 269 strikeouts. These were obviously still dominant numbers but not the same super-human numbers baseball saw in 1968.

The question must be asked, how much more dominant could Justin Verlander be if he was 10 inches higher when he delivers his devastating arsenal towards the plate?

Through September 13, 2011, Justin Verlander has posted a 23-5 record with a 2.36 earned run average and 238 strikeouts on a 10-inch high mound. By all estimates, he will win his first American League Cy Young Award this season at age 28; Gibson was already 32 years old when he dominated in 1968. The numbers are comparable in terms of wins and losses as well as in strikeouts. The difference in earned run average is explained by Verlander facing a DH rather than Gibson facing a pitcher every ninth plate appearance. Gibson’s stats from 1968 are frozen in time; Verlander, on the other hand, still has three-to-four starts left to go before his story is written. The question is valid and the answer unknown, but without question, I would love to see what those numbers would look like with 10 more inches of plane on his pitches. Justin Verlander will likely win the American League “Pitcher’s Triple Crown” this season, he will almost surely win the AL Cy Young, and he should win the AL MVP Award as well; coupled with his no-hitter against Toronto, 2011 is “The Year of the Verlander”. —Adam W. Tower

47 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

marshaja

The blackout rules really are the most ridiculous thing ever. I live more than 4 hours away from Chicago and at one point did not have the option for access to CSN so I couldn't watch most Cubs games. Even when I lived with my parents in southern Indiana an additional two hours away our zip code was still blacked out for Chicago.

Sep 14, 2011 04:27 AM
rating: 6
 
michaelgeorge

Any base runner signalling himself safe shall automatically be called out.

Sep 14, 2011 05:34 AM
rating: 8
 
CRP13

Jason.....how tall are you? And does this cause you to have a not-so-hidden agenda? :P

Sep 14, 2011 06:16 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Lindbergh
BP staff

Jason grew as tall as Val Kilmer, then stopped growing out of respect.

Sep 14, 2011 06:36 AM
 
dianagram

But his STATURE in our eyes has grown immeasurably since then.

Sep 14, 2011 07:13 AM
rating: 2
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

Like Val Kilmer, I'm around 6'1''. Also like Val Kilmer, I consider myself 4'10'' on the inside.

Sep 14, 2011 08:01 AM
 
CRP13

These days, Val is closer to 4'10" horizontally...

Sep 14, 2011 08:39 AM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Dan Malkiel
BP staff

I second Jay's call for more instant replay and propose an addendum: stiffer penalties for arguing with umpires. If a manager has the option to call for a definitive video review, he has no cause for verbal persuasion. The time saved by this measure should more than offset any additional time added by expanded replay.

Sep 14, 2011 06:38 AM
 
RedsManRick

I would kill MLBs exclusivity deal with Fox for Saturdays. I'm a Reds fan in Chicago. When the Reds are "on" Fox, I can't attend the game nor watch it on TV, since Fox is rarely going to play the Reds game in the Chicago market. Really stinks to not have baseball on Saturdays and nobody gets to make money off advertising to me. This is 2011, if Fox isn't going to show the game in my market, MLBtv should get the game.

Sep 14, 2011 06:56 AM
rating: 11
 
ColonelTom

A thousand times yes.

I figure ad revenue is the key for the FOX blackouts. With that in mind, why not just turn off the DVR tools on MLB.tv during the Saturday "blackout" period? I could live with that. I guess the local FOX affiliates would lose some money on their local ad buys, but that could be offset by giving them a piece of MLBAM's overall ad revenue from the FOX Saturday online broadcasts.

Sep 14, 2011 08:38 AM
rating: 3
 
Jeff Wilson

I think the math is off for #10:

12 games x 4 division rivals = 48
6 games x 5 same-rank teams = 30

that leaves 84 games to be played among 20 other teams.
Just do 4 games series with those 20 teams, and play 13 games with your division rivals. I like this idea.

Sep 14, 2011 06:57 AM
rating: 0
 
flyingdutchman

I really like this idea, too, but I'd divide the teams slightly differently:

East: Red Sox, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays
Erie-Chesapeake: Indians, Reds, Pirates, Nationals, Orioles
Great Lakes: Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, Twins, Tigers,
Southeast: Royals, Cardinals, Marlins, Rays, Braves
West: Diamondbacks, Rockies, Astros, Padres, Rangers
Pacific: Angels, Dodgers, Athletics, Mariners, Giants

This exercise also made me think long and hard about the DH. I always thought, if the decision were mine, that I'd abolish it. But reading this, the comments, and remembering The Myth Of The Golden Age (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13734), I guess I could finally let it go.

Sep 14, 2011 09:44 AM
rating: -1
 
Robotey

no way--who the hell wants the Mets n Yankees in the same division--6 times a year is already too many Subway series games

Sep 14, 2011 22:51 PM
rating: 1
 
R.A.Wagman

Not a fan of these divisions. Divisions are bad, small, geographically based ones are worse.
Besides, Toronto is far closer to Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh geographically speaking than any of New York, Boston or Philadelphia.

Sep 15, 2011 04:57 AM
rating: 1
 
ttt

I'd eliminate the ankle protector things batters wear. Has a ball EVER hit off one of them?

Sep 14, 2011 07:28 AM
rating: 0
 
buddons42

Yes, they definitely do. I wouldn't say it happens all the time or anything, but I've seen a handfull of balls hit off said ankle/lower leg gear this year.

Sep 14, 2011 07:56 AM
rating: 1
 
Randy Brown
(189)

I would reduce the length of time between half-innings by 30 seconds (one commercial), instantly making games 9 minutes quicker.

And I really would be commissioner for just one day because the owners would get together and give me the Fay Vincent treatment.

Sep 14, 2011 07:32 AM
rating: 1
 
Lindemann
(852)

I was just talking with one of my buddies about 6 and 7, which are essentially the same. This would make baseball a LOT more watchable. I like the rhythm of baseball, but not when it's funeral-march slow.

Sep 14, 2011 07:35 AM
rating: 1
 
bravejason

"Major League Baseball Players Association will fight the elimination of the DH—usually a high-priced position—but I'll compromise by expanding the major-league roster limit by one player to 26 and raising the minimum salary from $414,000 to $500,000"

The union won't go for this on the logic that the 26th man will be a minimum wage player and the even with the increase in minimum wage, it still represents a huge net loss in revenue for the players as a collective entity. Not too mention that some of the DH only players will have to retire since they can't play defense and would have to take a huge pay cut to stay on the roster as a pinch hitter.

Sep 14, 2011 08:18 AM
rating: 7
 
BillJohnson

And why is that retirement a bad thing? Agreed, the union wouldn't be happy, but this is a baseball fan stepping into the commish role, not a union steward or a publicist for an owner.

Sep 14, 2011 14:16 PM
rating: 2
 
ColonelTom

A new pitcher has to throw to two batters instead of one, unless the substitution is between innings. This would probably eliminate half of mid-inning pitching changes, which each add 3-4 minutes to the length of a game.

Sep 14, 2011 08:21 AM
rating: 4
 
Robotey

this is a good one

Sep 14, 2011 22:52 PM
rating: 0
 
Davidsilverwood

Well actually not as dumb and short-sighted as I felt you would be----love the return to four divisions and love the hitters and pitchers suggestions, now lets get even smarter and have the dh elinated and the trade deadline moved to June 15th. You guys did something cool thanks,

Sep 14, 2011 08:26 AM
rating: -1
 
lazyrasmus

No.1 is a terrific idea. I'd mandate a league-wide DH and abolish the intentional walk.

Sep 14, 2011 08:39 AM
rating: 0
 
ColonelTom

Can't abolish the intentional walk - you'll just end up with "unintentional intentional" walks instead. If you want to speed up the game, just signal the batter to first and dispense with the four pitches like they do in beer-league softball.

Sep 14, 2011 10:12 AM
rating: 2
 
CRP13

Ties should end with a fight between team mascots. It makes as much sense as how Soccer ends their ties.

Sep 14, 2011 08:41 AM
rating: 4
 
Randy Brown
(189)

I would like take this opportunity to introduce our new team mascot, Anderson Silva. In addition to his tie-breaking duties, he will also choke out random fans atop the home team dugout between innings.

Sep 14, 2011 09:00 AM
rating: 6
 
Randy Brown
(189)

The average MLB team plays about 14 extra-inning games per year (http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2011/5/21/2182516/have-we-been-seeing-less-extra-inning-games). Let's assume that a replacement-level mascot wins about 35% of their tie-breaker fights, and Anderson Silva wins about 95% of his - after all, the Phanatic is very crafty, and I hear that Detroit is going to replace their mascot with an actual Tiger. This would make Silva about an 8.5-win mascot. He should be getting paid A-Rod money.

Not sure why CRP's comment has left me obsessed for the last hour, but obviously it has.

Sep 14, 2011 11:43 AM
rating: 5
 
CRP13

I'm flattered that my humble comment has sparked such in-depth research. :)

Sep 16, 2011 07:14 AM
rating: 0
 
chrisekeedei

Nos. 1 and 6 are by far the best. They would be hugely popular with fans, and they're already rules on the books, so it would be hard for people to object. No. 11 is either straight-out offensive or just hack-y -- I can't tell which. Either way, boo.

Sep 14, 2011 10:17 AM
rating: 1
 
jnossal

Eliminate all divisons. Two leagues with 16 and 14 teams. Top five teams in each league make the playoffs, with best record drawing a bye in the first round.

Sep 14, 2011 11:28 AM
rating: -1
 
Mike H

Isn't Dustin Pedroia all the ill-tempered little person that MLB needs?

Sep 14, 2011 11:36 AM
rating: 6
 
tullythomas

Yes, enforce the pitch to home plate "time" rules, but I would also implement one basic new rule to shorten games and enhance the experience: Allow without consequence only two "pick-off attempts" to any base per AB, with any subseqent throws being a "ball" in the count to the hitter if the runner is not picked off. This would eliminate the tedious "throw over 8 times" every time a Bourn/Reyes/Crawford reaches first base, bring baserunning skills more to the forefront, and potentially make a 3-ball count with men on the best chess match in baseball.

Sep 14, 2011 11:56 AM
rating: -1
 
Tim Lowell

The MLB.TV blackout rules are even dumber than you described. I live in San Antonio, and I cannot get Rangers or Astros games on MLB.TV even when Rangers and Astros games are not being broadcast locally. There are times when I have scoured the channels up and down to find an Astros telecast, and I haven't been able to find it, and yet MLB.TV blacks out the game. If even one cable/satellite/fiber provider anywhere in San Antonio is offering the game to even one customer, the game is blacked out on MLB.TV to everyone in San Antonio. Just plain stupid.

Sep 14, 2011 12:56 PM
rating: 1
 
surfdent48

Do not---repeat--do not eliminate errors as an official stat. It is a necessary equalizer for teams of differing skills. Also leave the pitchers mound height where it is. Balancing the leagues with 15 teams per is obvious.

Sep 14, 2011 12:57 PM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

It is a necessary equalizer for teams of differing skills.

Explain?

Sep 16, 2011 07:15 AM
rating: 0
 
sbnirish77

The call at home plate in the Pirates-Braves game is probably the best example of a call best left to the human element than the replay booth.

The throw beat the runner home and most umpires are going to call that runner out 98% of the time on that basis alone.

On the other hand, while one replay seemed to show thw runner was out, that from another angle clearly showed more of a swipe on the tag that was 60-40% at best.

That second replay was inconclusive enough that any call on the field would have been upheld.

Just the fact that the two replays showed something different is an indictment of the replay system.

My point is that a human umpire using 'the guy is out if the throw beats him' would have rendered a better call here than an inconclusive swipe tag on the replay.

The mistake was the umpire trying to bo too fine in a call that was even less conclusive on replay.

Sep 14, 2011 13:25 PM
rating: 1
 
Robotey

well said - replay was inconclusive - in that case it was an ump who insisted on challenging the 'throw beat the runner' rule--perhaps because it was 2 in the morning?

Sep 14, 2011 22:58 PM
rating: 1
 
evo34

A system is indicted because it produced two pieces of independent data rather than zero?

Sep 18, 2011 02:45 AM
rating: 0
 
Lloyd Cole

Especially if you eliminate the "two leagues", expand rosters and insist that (for instance) no more than 13 of the players on a 28-man roster can be pitchers. This could bring back platoons (sorely missed), encourage better pinch-hitting a la NL, bring back some substitute fielders to replace the guys who play 4 positions but don't play any of them WELL, and maybe even make room for guys under 4'10", who have notoriously small strike zones.

Sep 14, 2011 13:49 PM
rating: 0
 
bravejason

to sbnirish77:

Just because the replays don't always give a definitive answer is not a reason to not use replay. There aren't any stats that I am aware of to say just how often a replay is conclusive or inconclusive, but I would suspect that if there were they would show that the number of controversial calls that can be conclusively confirmed or overturned are much larger than the number of calls that have to stand as called because the replay was not conclusive.

Sep 14, 2011 14:00 PM
rating: 0
 
amazin_mess

Mets fan here who does not like #10.

I could only imagine the ultra-cheap Wilpons going against the Red Sox and Yankees. No thank you. They have enough trouble with the current NL East.

Sep 14, 2011 16:47 PM
rating: 0
 
emillion

What about all plays at the plate are force plays? Given the severe injuries to Buster Posey and Carlos Santana the last few years, it seems like something that should be discussed. It would be a bit more difficult to blow a call at the plate this way too. That said, I'm not wild about the idea.

Sep 14, 2011 22:14 PM
rating: 0
 
Davidsilverwood

Sorry after reading the comments on what was interesting it has since become the outcry of the inane.

Sep 15, 2011 08:38 AM
rating: 0
 
Jason Wojciechowski

I don't think the study in the Corey Dawkins proposal necessarily supports the idea that the twelve-second rule is being broken. The times there are pure pitch-to-pitch, but the rule is about how long the pitcher had after the batter is in the box and alert. You'll see batters basically wander around and stand with a foot outside until the pitcher is ready, THEN get in the box. The clock doesn't start until the batter makes it start. The study, in other words, tells us something, but I don't think it tells us about rule enforcement.

Sep 15, 2011 09:27 AM
rating: 1
 
DetroitDale

Mostly good ideas, but I think going after the NFL's PR guy might end up rivaling the Dunn contract for poor deals.

One of the best episodes of the West Wing involved a flashback to Press secretary CJ's days with a PR firm where her boss was chiding her for one of her clients not winning enough awards, she responded with a rant on how she couldn't help the client because his movies were bad, and no amount of PR could change that.

Why is that relevant here? The NFL isn't popular because their PR guy is good, the NFL is popular because they take care of their business. To cite your own examples, steroids aren't a problem because they had good PR they're not a problem because they instituted testing before things got out of control instead of going into ostrich mode like Bud did until major records became a mockery. They didn't resolve their bad seed problem with a media campaign, they resolved it by Roger Goddell giving sterner fines and suspensions (he's actually gotten pilloried for it by a lot of media know it alls but it's made the fans appreciate it) And lastly, the labor strike didn't affect the popularity not because of a PR campaign but because it was resolved before a single regular season game was canceled. If you want MLB to have better media popularity, the NFL guy bring over is not the PR guy, but Commissioner Goddell to take over after your one day tenure as commissioner. Even the last commissioner, Paul Taglibue would be an upgrade from Bud Lightweight Selig.

On an unrelated note, if you're going to keep wildcards, (and I agree with that) then you need to bring back the balanced schedule. It's unfair to give a potential wild card team an edge over another team because they play in a weak division.

Sep 17, 2011 18:22 PM
rating: 0
 
brucegilsen
(999)

Require evening World Series games to start at 8, not 830 eastern time.

Require weekend World Series (and to the extent possible playoff games) be started at 6 eastern time.

Many baseball fans are formed for life when they are kids. How are we going to build the next generation of baseball fans when they have to go to sleep in the 4th inning? Hell, many adults I know go to sleep in the 6th inning.

It's more important for people on the east coast to see the *end* of the game than for people on the west coast to see the start of the game.

Sep 19, 2011 18:59 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Kiss'Em Goodbye: New Y... (09/14)
<< Previous Column
The Lineup Card: 9 For... (09/08)
Next Column >>
The Lineup Card: 9 Bas... (09/21)
Next Article >>
The BP Broadside: In W... (09/14)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: The Quarter-Season Odds Report
West Coast By Us: Day 2: Taco the Town
Going Yard: The Near Perfection of Pederson
West Coast By Us: Day 3: Nice
BP Boston
West Coast By Us: Day 4: There Are Two L's I...
BP Bronx

MORE FROM SEPTEMBER 14, 2011
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: 2011 Minor-...
The BP Broadside: In Which the Commish is Ev...
Premium Article Kiss'Em Goodbye: New York Mets
Premium Article Kiss'Em Goodbye: Washington Nationals
Premium Article Collateral Damage: Lots on Clots
The Prospectus Hit List: Daily Hit List for ...
Fantasy Article Value Picks: Second, Short, and Catcher for ...

MORE BY BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
2011-09-30 - Regular-Season Awards
2011-09-29 - The Lineup Card: 14 Scariest Things to Happe...
2011-09-21 - The Lineup Card: 9 Baseball Movies That Shou...
2011-09-14 - The Lineup Card: Commissioner for a Day
2011-09-08 - The Lineup Card: 9 Forgotten Players from De...
2011-08-24 - The Lineup Card: 11 Disastrous Acquisitions
2011-08-18 - The Lineup Card: 11 Memorable Breakdowns, An...
More...

MORE THE LINEUP CARD
2011-10-05 - The Lineup Card: 10 Players Whose Careers We...
2011-09-29 - The Lineup Card: 14 Scariest Things to Happe...
2011-09-21 - The Lineup Card: 9 Baseball Movies That Shou...
2011-09-14 - The Lineup Card: Commissioner for a Day
2011-09-08 - The Lineup Card: 9 Forgotten Players from De...
2011-08-24 - The Lineup Card: 11 Disastrous Acquisitions
2011-08-18 - The Lineup Card: 11 Memorable Breakdowns, An...
More...