Baseball is in trouble. It’s fans are getting older and older. Not enough “bells and whistles” for the younger crowd. I’ll address a few of the problems, and share some ideas to “fix” it. Grab a snack, and/or a cold beverage!
The length: Baseball was never meant to be such a grueling season. It’s considered a “summer sport” yet, it starts in the cool and rainy days of spring. It ends in the cool and rainy days of late October, and now into November. If you live in the Midwest, or Northeast, you know how cold that can be. So why start so early, and end so late?
Money, mainly. That’s all well, and good, until your ratings bottom out. First thing I would do is cut 20-22 games out of the schedule. Before you throw a fit, I have a plan for that*
All-Star Break: Make it a legit break. Give players the entire week off. Managers can give those players who play in the All-Star game the Sunday before, and the Friday after (or make the league resume the Monday after). even 140 games would be a lot. They could even make it two weeks, and schedule minor league games. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of the young talent in the league in my team’s home park. It would be kind of cool. The owners could recoup some of the lost revenue. Not that they are hurting for cash.
Too Bocu: There are currently 30 teams in the major leagues. That’s 4 more than there were in 1985. Why 1985? I don’t know, but I think the 80s were probably the golden age of baseball. I was a huge Cardinals fan (even though I was a Cubs fan, first) and they were having a nice decade. In 1985, you had some stacked teams. My proposal is to get rid of 4 teams, have a draft, and distribute the remaining players to the non-playoff teams. I’d get rid of both the Marlins, and the Rays (sorry Florida) and the two remaining low-attendance teams.
To make room, and also ease the burden of the season, I would expand MLB rosters to at least 27, if not 30.
Expand the playoffs. Back in the day there only used to be 4 teams in the post season, the 2 division winners on each side. There also only used to be 2 divisions on each side. Now we have 6 divisions, and a wild card team on each side. I would add more teams. Maybe give the top 2 teams a series off. I would start the playoffs no later than October 1st/first weekend. Maybe even start it in September. Regular season would start May 1st (or 1st weekend. The year would start on a Friday, so more kids could enjoy the games (all games would be at 3pm local time or later).
Extra innings: Since we are knocking 20-22 games off the schedule, I don’t think they need to mess with extra innings. Maybe put a cap on them at say 12, or 15 innings. Or suspend them at some point, and play them before the following day’s game–if possible. Maybe with the extra players, it would ease that burden. That is something they would have to look into. Another idea: If you have a 12+ inning the night before, you can expand the roster another 3-5 players, and call them up for the next day. That would give you 3 position players, and 2 pitchers. I know today’s players are more fragile, so you have to handle them with care 😉
Minimum salary cap: Just looking at the current payrolls, there is a huge gap between the least, and the most. About $150 Million dollars. Let’s say that again, $150 Million (with an M) dollars. The lowest is the Tampa Bay Rays $56M (who also have the leagues 2nd worst attendance, at just over 15k per game), the highest is the New York Yankees at about $218M. Every other US sport now has a salary cap. It works in the NFL probably better than all the other sports. Second would probably be the NHL. It doesn’t really work in the NBA, they have a lot of crap going on there. To me though, the MLB is in the same boat. You have about 6 teams that have a realistic chance at a championship in any given year. I would make it something like, you have to be within X percent of the top 5 teams. $56M is not acceptable. Not even close. If you can’t afford it, market your team better, or sell the team. I would allow a “rebuilding” period, but only for 1-2 years in any rolling 5-6 year period.
So there we go. I think I have some really interesting ideas, if I do say so myself. Feel free to comment on your ideas to “Fix” baseball, down below!