The MLB right now is a league that is doing well, but could be made a lot more enjoyable to more people if they made a few changes:
Of course this is the first thing I am going to address as a Pirates fan. Some people say it wouldn't help competitiveness, but I am sure it would. One thing I would also add however is a minimum a team can spend, a players cap, and a change in new contracts.
For the salary cap, I feel that $100 million would be a reasonable start. Of the 30 teams in the league, 9 of them are over $100 million. 5 of those 9 teams would be over by less than $20 million. The other 4 teams would have a problem getting under the cap. In order to do this cap, teams would have to be able to cut current roster players without penalty and same with restructuring contracts, but only the first offseason of a salary cap.
If their is gonna be a salary cap, I feel their needs to be a players cap. I think a reasonable number would be 20% of the currrent cap (which with a $100 million cap, it would be $20 million to start). Right now, I believe only 4 players have a salary greater than this (Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter, Mark Texeira). I may be incorrect about that, however.
For a lower limit of a salary cap, I would set it at 60% of the current salary cap ($60 million for this salary cap). Of the 30 teams, only 3 teams are under it at the moment (Pirates, Padres, Marlins). This would force these 3 teams to go out and spend a little bit of money to get to the cap.
I am not sure about how contracts work in the MLB, and this might be how it already is, but I would suggest once you sign a contract, you cannot restructure it. This is one thing I hate about the NFL. You see players holding out because they want a new contract. I feel if you sign a contract, you should honor it and play it out. Like I said before, this may be how it is.
Get rid of the DH:
Some people like it, some people don't. That usually depends on which league your team plays in. I for one am not a fan of the DH. I feel it takes an element out of the game that used to always be apart of it. What makes the DH even worse is that only half the league has it, which doesn't make sense to have different set of rules for one half of the league than the other.
Another reason I am against the DH is because of Babe Ruth. This may be dumb because of one player, but he is 3rd in MLB history in home runs. If they had the DH rule back then, he would have never had a shot to show his home run hitting ability. Sometimes I wonder how many other pitchers could have also been great home run hitters (yes, I know Babe Ruth's and good hitting pitchers do not come around often, but that is usually because they don't work on it).
Balance the Leagues:
I think each league should have 15 teams, and if that means interleague games all season then so be it. I would reorganize it like this:
I feel this would make more sence because of locations of inter-division teams were closer. Also, this gives the MLB a chance to develop new rivalries to go along with the ones we already have.
The MLB schedule right now is very confusing. Yes you play an equal number of home and road games, but thats the only thing consistant with the schedule. There is not set amount of games you play against teams and this is a problem I think the MLB needs to address. I am all for a schedule like this:
6 games against 1 division from opposite conference (5 teams- 3 home, 3 away)= 30 games
8 games against each inter-conference team team (10 teams- 4 home, 4 away)= 80 games
10 games against 4 other division team (5 home, 5 away)= 40 games
Total= 150 games
This is 12 games less than the current schedule, which would around 2 weeks off the schedule. This would move the World Series up, and hopefully would mean better weather for those games. If they didn't want to do that, they could move the start of the season 2 weeks later, and could cut down on all these weather delays we always have at this time of year.
This is one part of the game I would leave alone. I like the fact that 4 teams get in. Each division winner gets in, and 1 wild card team from each conference. The only thing I would change is that once the 4 teams are in, I would rank them by record. For example, lets say in the east if the Red Sox, Tigers, and Rays win their respective divisions and the wild card team was the Cardinals. If the Cardinals have a better record than the Tigers but worse record than the Rays and Sox, they would be the 3 seed instead of the division winner Tigers.
World Series Home Field:
You had to know this was coming. IMO having an exibition game be what determines home field in the world series is just plain stupid. The team with the better record should get home field, and if there is a tie and the teams did not play that season, then maybe use the All Star game as what determines home field. Just do not make it the first thing that determines home field.
Last season the MLB finally joined the party on instant replay. I feel right now it being very basic with only home run calls is good, but I feel it should expand but not to much. The only thing I would really add to be reviewable is close players on the bases and if a player caught a ball or trapped it. Both of those can be just as important to a game as a home run. Also, balls and strikes should never be reviewable because different umpires have different strike zones.
There should also be 3 ways to review a play:
- Manager Challenge- Each manager should get 1 challenge per game, and if they win it they get an extra one.
- Umpire Challenge- If an umpire is unsure of a play, he should be able to review it to get the call right.
- Booth review- If the booth is sure a call is wrong, they can make the call down to the umpire to get the call right.