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What Baseball Actually Needs
Ambassador Pete Rose - of course!!!
Short and Sweet - but Neceessary
Well this editorial is a bit more on the fun side than what Baseball Can do Without. That being said, many of the items are serious and we should be thinking about them with clearer heads than in the past.
Re-evaluating the Hall of Fame Enshrinement: The Hall of Fame is where the best players go to be enshrined forever. Not the best hitters, not even the best people, the best players. We need to relook at the standards the voters use and the rules people think are necessary. As I write this, I have to admit that I’m not old enough to have seen Pete Rose play in his prime. I watched him break the hits record when I was 12. But there’s no question he is a baseball legend and he should be in the Hall-of-Fame. Betting on baseball may have gotten him suspended but the Hall decided on its own not to put him on the ballot, not Baseball management. Reinstatement is up to the Commissioner, election to the Hall of Fame is not. He should be in. Period. Likewise, players who were great defensive players are completely overlooked in the Hall-of-Fame except Ozzie Smith. Other players who were great defensively, and have good (but not Hall-worthy) hitting statistics are tossed by the wayside. Guys like Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Keith Hernandez, even Don Mattingly (who has 9 gold gloves to his credit) should be re-evaluated. And not to beat a dead horse but can we re-examine Shoeless Joe Jackson’s story. I don’t know all of the particulars but I do know that in the World Series he was supposed to be throwing he did hit .375. Kind of hard to believe he was throwing ANYTHING hitting like that.
Ambassador Pete Rose: Should he be reinstated, yes. If Bart Giamatti had lived, I’m sure Pete would have been reinstated long ago. Should he be allowed to work for a team, NO. He should work for Major League Baseball as the best Ambassador the league has ever seen. His position, whatever it’ would be called, would be overseen by the Commissioner and Pete, who shows up everywhere and loves to talk baseball would be the walking advertisement baseball NEEDS…
Better Pitching: Scoring runs is the name of the game but shorter games driven by better pitching would actually make the game more palatable to watch on TV. I know longer games lead to more advertising revenues but substitute the length of the game with the length of the post-game show instead. Better baseball is the answer here. It would lead to better ratings and then advertisement rates could move up as well.
More Fun: Mascots and Cheerleaders – well baseball has never had cheerleaders but they couldn’t hurt could they? They can come out between innings on the field with the mascot. Mascots have been around forever and usually add a nice comic touch to the game though I could do with a new imagining of Mr. Met – something about the huge baseball head is just plain disturbing… the Vintage Mr. Met was even worse.
New Timeout Rules: Some batters take forever to get set in the box, and then they ask for time. I’d like to keep this down to a minimum if possible; it drains the energy out of a game.
New Stepping Off the Rubber Rules: Same difference as above just from the pitchers standpoint. Some pitchers take forever to get ready and it’s frustrating to watch. It also usually forces the batter to take another time out.
Players Who Understand the Rules on the Field: Who takes the infield pop-up near the pitching mound? I was taught it’s the third baseman who takes charge, not the catcher, not the first baseman and certainly not the pitcher. Everyone else should clear out of the way. In the outfield, it’s the Centerfielders ball. Aren’t these basic fundamentals?
More Hit-and-Run: This just might be a Mets thing but when I was a kid, the Mets played hit-and-run all of the time. Wally Backman or Lenny Dykstra would run, draw the fielder towards second base and someone else would try to hit it through the hole, usually Keith Hernandez. I certainly haven’t seen the current Mets squad doing this but I don’t really see it happening anywhere else either. Am I just not seeing it??
Replay That Makes Sense: There are always situations in any game that lend themselves to replay. Home runs, foul balls and trapped catches are always arguable and replay would help, so long as it doesn’t completely slow down the game. How about the Official Scorer doubling as a Replay Official who signals the umpiring crew when a mistake is being made – he’s the official scorer so he has a vested interest in getting the call right.
Some form of Salary Cap: Let’s even the field for the teams a bit and while we’re at it, control the prices of tickets better. Out-of-control salaries lead to out-of-control ticket pricing and $30 parking fees. It’s just ridiculous. I know this won't happen, but it should.