There are rumors Major League Baseball is going to announce some changes in the near future.
Before MLB makes that announcement I am submitting my own list of suggested changes to Major League Baseball.
1) No Designated Hitter
Baseball fans are familiar with both sides of this issue and are on one side or the other. For me, I think putting the pitcher into the lineup forces more strategy in all realms of the game from hitting, pinch-hitting, base-running, defensive substitutions and relief-pitching management.
2) No Inter-League Play
Determining which team is the best in each league should require the teams in each league to only play against themselves. For Inter-League play to be fair and equitable team opponents and schedules should be identical - and this has not been the case since inter-league play was installed.
3) No Divisons
Divisional play began in 1969. Since 1969 the baseball playoffs have been contrived and included Divison Winners instead of always including the teams with the best overall season records. The institution of the Wildcard teams has sought to solve these problems, but in my opinion has only made the playoffs more contrived (the one game Wildcard game is particularly egregious).
4) Shorten the Season
The reason for this is listed below and is only to provide a balanced schedule for every team. Those who say (complain) the MLB season is too long do not fully appreciate the game nor do they understand how a baseball season is played out to determine the true measure of a team.
I propose the length of the season be 168 games.
5) Install Completely Balanced League Schedules
Each team should play all of the teams in its league the exact same number of times. This seems be obvious but has not been the case since divisional play began - each team now plays teams in its division more than the other teams in its league. The advent of Inter-League play further skewed the imbalance of team schedules by further insuring each team plays a different schedule from each other team in its own league and the strength or weakness of each of those schedules differs.
I propose every team plays each other team in its league (14 teams) a total of twelve (12) times (= 168 games) in a combination of six home and six away contests.
6) No Wildcard Teams
See #3 and #5 above.
Form each league into a 15-team league. The top six teams - based on overall Won-Loss record - earn a spot in the playoffs.
Hold three true playoff rounds. The top two teams in each league earn First Round byes.
Round One: Best of Three Series between teams seeded 3/6 and 4/5 with all three games hosted by the higher seed.
Round Two: Best of Seven Series. Teams are reseeded. Lowest seeded teams play the 1st and 2nd seeded teams. The Home/Away Schedule for this series would be 2-3-2.
Round Three: Best of Seven Series. The two remaining teams play for the Pennant. The higher seeded team is scheduled to host a potential four of the seven games in a series with a Home/Away format of 2-3-2.
8) World Series
The team with the best overall season record is scheduled to host four of the potential seven games in a series with a Home/Away format of 2-3-2.
If both teams share an identical overall season record, the team with the best overall record in the playoffs is scheduled to host four of the seven games.
If both teams still have identical overall records perhaps the overall team ERA or batting average can be used as a determinant.
9) All-Star Game
The game is a straight exhibition. The Designated Hitter is used in this game. Fan voting determines the starting lineups. Every player selected to the team by fan voting or manager choice must play/appear in at least one inning.
10) All Pro
At the end of the season, by league, players vote for top players at each position. Four or five staring pitchers, two to four relief pitchers and one or two closing pitchers can be chosen. The top two vote-getters at each fielding position will be recognized, with the top vote-getter at each position recognized with an All Pro designation.
These changes would bring about a more equitable regular season, increase interest in the full regular season, maintain and inspire rivalries, grow interest in the playoffs, maintain the vital fan input in the All-Star Game, allow players who performed truly great throughout the entire season proper recognition - and super-charge interest in the World Series.
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