Good God, What Are They Doing to Baseball
Based solely on watching a little bit of baseball on TV over the past 2 years, it seems overwhelmingly obvious that the concept of “fans” in the baseball park is irrelevant. Unneeded. Here’s what MLB really ought to do, based on what they’ve ALREADY done to the game:
First, and right away, completely dissolve the concept of “leagues” and geographical divisions. Remake the divisions into 4-team divisions, with a champion in each division. Make certain to include second place finishers in the post-season, so that at least half of the fans can have some reason, however remote, to buy some more t-shirts and hats for their guys. Just like they do in basketball. Re-name the divisions with cute names, sort of on the concept of what they do in hockey. You know—the Eco division for the Pacific Northwest, the Snow division for the upper Midwest—that sort of thing.
Next, MLB seems to have plenty of money, so buy up a crap-load of real estate in a fly-over state like Kansas or Iowa. Stuff that’s currently corn fields and pig farms, and build 6 or 8 identical domed baseball venues where ALL games will be played. Of course, you’d want to keep the existing baseball parks open for business, so the games could be broadcast on the jumbo-trons in each existing park, and fans could show up there, pay for parking, buy 10 dollar hot dogs and 15 dollar beers and root for their team just like the currently do, keeping in mind to socially distance, hand-wash frequently, and wear masks. As an added benefit here, no fan (or child of a fan) will run the risk of being injured by a flying baseball because, well, there's no actual baseball being played there. Further, fans and their families could pay a premium to picnic on the infield during the game. It's what I call a "win-win"!!
They’ve already instituted 7 inning games, so the actual game-play should be reduced further to 5 innings, and every day would be a triple-header. A complete series in a single meeting. The players could then get a couple of extra days off after every series so they don’t get too worn out by the end of the season.
Human umpires are a thing of the past. Balls, strikes, fair/foul, safe or out…..All to be determined by machine. They might keep a single umpire at each venue in the event of a fight between the teams, so that umpire could eject whoever needed ejecting.
With the advent of the universal designated hitter, it seems that high scores and highlights are the name of the game now (along with grandstanding and other noxious behavior), but that hardly goes far enough. Middle infielders are notoriously horrible hitters and should be eliminated from the hitting line-up in the same fashion—Three designated hitters per line-up. Makes sense, I think, but only for a limited time period until REAL change can be made, and I’m talking about free unlimited substitution like in football. Expand the rosters to include enough personnel for at least 3 complete teams (per team, of course)--First, a fielding team who will consist of the best defenders you can muster, second a hitting team with the studliest studs, weight-lifters, and longshoremen you can afford, and finally, a running team selected from the ranks of the summer Olympics.
Then, and only then, with this be a game for the ages.