MLB’S MANUFACTURED “CHANGE ” DEBACLE


Change is a fact of life. We replace, tweak, amend, and create “new” things. With respect to Major League Baseball, any fan can easily list at least five or even ten ways the game has changed since they began to follow the sport. 

And we know that nearly all of the changes made in baseball have fallen under the heading of being gooimages (55)d “for the fans”. Getting rid of the “deadball”, the creation of the DH, lowering the pitching mound, expansion, the addition of Wild Card teams…….and the list goes on. But here’simages (56) the trouble……..Unlike our culture in general, baseball never looks back to re-analyze and re-consider the possibility that maybe things were better (for the game and fans at well) the way they were.

An example from U.S. History might help to clarify the point. The era from 1920-1933 is known as Prohibition. We even saw fit to amend ourdownload (31) Constitution with the passage of the 18th Amendment banning the sale and purchase of alcohol. However, when it became evident that it is difficult to legislate morality and organized crime had swept in to reap the profits from a Black Market that emerged, the 21st Amendment was ratified in December of 1933 negating the 18th Amendment. In sum, we corrected ourselves and moved on.

With respect to baseball, why shouldn’t we do the same thing with “changes” that were simply a bad idea. I would offer the creation of “Divisions” within each league as an example of how baseball has corrupted the competitive landscape and therefore we need to go back to the way things were.

Until 1969, there was only the National and American leagues. Winning a pennant gave two teams the right to meet each other in the World Series. Then, with the addition of two teams in 1962 (the Mets and the Expos), baseball decided to create the East and West Divisions in each league with winners in each Division qualifying for what became the “Playoffs”.

This was urther modified twice in 1994 and 2012 with the creation of Wild Card Teams (read added TV revenue)images (57) who joined the ever expanding list of Playoff Teams. Coupled with that and complicating matters even more, baseball introduced Inter League  play in 1997. That’s a lot of changes squished into a span of three decades. It bears repeating that all of these changes were made to make baseball “better” for fans.

Inter League play, for instance, created man made rivalries like the Rangers and the Astros, the Royals and the Cardinals, and so on. But just the sheer volume images-2of changes suggests that MLB has been and continues to struggle in trying to get it right. And in doing so, they have managed only to confuse your everyday fan and to water down what used to be meaningful competition within each league.

And in doing so, baseball continues to run the embarrassing scenario we see now in one of the NFL Divisions sporting a team in the playoffs with a under .500 record. For baseball, it was better the old way and here’s why……

It used to be a short lived treat to grow up in a American League area as I did to watch the team from the other league play in the World Series. This was back in the day when only 50 or so games were televised by your local station (if you had one) and before the days of satellite broadcasting on which we can follow any team or multiple teams watching their games on a daily basis. In short, technology has overcome the need for many of the changes baseball has manufactured.

We don’t need wild card teams and inter league play to manufacture or spark an interest in the game anymore. What 20151007WC-2MLB needs to do is recognize that “change ” need not be permanent as we did with Prohibition. Return to the days of two leagues who play only against each other until the World Series. Get rid of the so-called “balanced schedule” (read parity and not quality) and while you’re at it, go back to a 154 game schedule (pretty please). In doing so, each team would play eleven games against each of the 14 opposition teams in their league. This would allow for a home and away four game series and one three game series alternating home field each season between the two teams.

For the playoffs, pick a number (I’ll say six) teams who finish with the best records in each of the two leagues and they become your playoff teams. Seed them one to six by winning percentage.  Then, five plays six in a best three for the right to move on as the four seed. Then one plays four and two plays three with the two winners playing in a best of seven to go to the World Series.Fair? I think so and you don’t need all of this rigamoro and so called changes any more. You play a full season INSIDE your league, every game counts, and there are no manufactured Subway Series that merely serve to distract and misdirect fans as well as teams from pennant races. More meaningful playoff games, no exhibition games with all contests played intra -league, a better travel schedule that could virtually eliminate those ludicrous two game series………yanksstros16

And no need for managers to jump through hoops with the DH when inter league play rolls around. And no need to move a team from one league to another (the Astros) to manufacture the same so called balance. And, no need for four teams to play a whole season that comes down to a manufactured one game playoff with two teams having to go home before the Playoffs even begin………

Prohibition failed but it was corrected. MLB is big business….I get that, but how about MLB standing up and doing the same by correcting itself “for the fans”………..And I mean really for the fans this time………

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s