Monday, July 4, 2011

How to Fix Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball is a fucking disaster.  The games are long and boring, there are too many, only eight or nine teams matter, and their championship sometimes ends in the snow.  And that's not all.  The divisions are a mess, the rules are different in each conference, and too many players are of minimal to no use.  Baseball players, in their girth, can hardly be called athletes.

This entry will be horribly unrealistic because MLB is too stupid to make the drastic changes needed.  People have such a hard-on for their numbers they get all pissy when you do something that makes it hard to compare eras.  (Even though different eras in any sport are incomparable.)

A lot of these problems are intertwined so it's difficult to know where to begin, but I'll start with some of the easier fixes.


Eliminate the Designated Hitter:
Fat guys that are one dimensional have no place in sports.  Make C.C. Sabbathia huff his fat ass around the bases.

Cut Down on Pitching Staffs:
Do I need to see Johnny McBullpen come in for one batter?  No I don't.  I know that baseball is a strategic sport, like a chess match, and that managers need tools at their disposal, but why buy pliers, a knife, a screwdriver, and so on when you can buy a multi-tool.  Have the established pitchers learn to throw more stuff.  It'll make them better, and it will make the games better to watch because of it.  (Not to mention less commercials.)

Salary Cap Woes:
Baseball doesn't have a salary cap, but it does have a luxury tax in which the big spenders (read: Yankees and Red Sox) have to pay a certain percentage of their payroll to the league if it's over a certain amount.  Where does this money go, to the rest of the teams?  Nahhh, to the league growth fund!  Baseball should either institute a salary cap or lower the luxury tax cutoff and then give the excess money to the other teams so they can compete.  This will help towards points #1 and #2 because teams won't be able to pay Billy Onepitch and Dickie DH millions of dollars.  They'll have to cut the one dimensional jackasses and stock up on better players.

On to the harder fixes...

Less Fucking Games:
Playing 162 games and ending the season in November when your best teams are typically from NY, Philadelphia, and Boston is retarded.  First of all, it's fucking cold in November.  Second of all, why MLB wants to compete with the NFL and college football is beyond me.  Third of all, 162 games...are you fucking kidding me?  Cut the season to 100 or 120 games and hold the World Series in late August to early September.  It's warm, but not oppressively hot in the south, and there's nothing to compete with except for midseason NASCAR races and NFL preseason games.  Hello ratings.

Start Postseason Games Earlier:
I remember when the Phillies met the Rays in the World Series.  Both teams are from the east coast, but for some reason the games still started at 8:00 PM EST and frequently ended past eleven.  Does the MLB know that people work?  This is so stunningly stupid, it's mind boggling.  There was no need to cater to west coast fans because NONE OF THEM WERE WATCHING TWO EAST COAST TEAMS THAT AREN'T THE YANKEES OR RED SOX.  Hedge your bets with the markets that are playing and say fuck-all to the rest.  Baseball is a regional sport and out of market cities just don't watch.

And now the hardest fixes...


Less Fucking Teams:
How many teams matter consistently?  NYY, Boston, Detroit, Anaheim, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and San Francisco.  Occasionally Tampa Bay, Detroit, both Chicagos, Los Angeles, and Houston will get plucky.  There are tons of teams that either think the postseason is a myth, or that sellout crowds are a myth.  Get rid of six of them.

Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City, Florida, Arizona, Seattle, and Toronto all sell sub-50% tickets.
Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Washington, Baltimore, and Toronto are all so terrible that they might as well not exist.

It's a tough call ripping teams away from fans, but when the fans don't show up or the ownership is pathetic, I can't feel that bad.  I would remove Washington, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Florida, Arizona, and Baltimore.  It pains me to eliminate Baltimore and Kansas City because they have some history, but fuck them.  Put butts in the seats or try to win.

Realign the Divisions Geographically:
The above leaves us with NYY, Boston, Toronto, CWS, Detroit, Minnesota, Cleveland, Texas, Anaheim, Oakland, and Seattle in the AL, and NYM, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, CC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Colorado and San Diego in the NL.

Eastern Conference

Colonial Division
NYY
NYM
Boston
Philadelphia
Atlanta
Toronto

Expansion Division
CWS
CC
Detroit
Cincinnati
Cleveland
Pittsburgh

Western Conference

Frontier Division
Texas
Anaheim
Los Angeles
San Diego
St. Louis
Houston


Manifest Destiny Division
Colorado
Oakland
San Francisco
Milwaukee
Minnesota
Seattle

To Recap:
  • We've made the league more athletic by eliminating the DH and one trick pony pitchers.
  • We've allowed lesser teams to compete by fixing the finances.
  • We've improved attendance by cutting struggling markets.
  • We've made the games more important by shortening the season.
  • We've made the World Series better by eliminating the downside of colder markets in November and by making the games at more appropriate times.
  • We've improved scheduling with divisions that make sense.

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