Baseball Does Not Get It

By Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: November 29, 2011

OAKLAND, CA. (BASN)–Major League Baseball moves into the 2012 season. It does so with little or no change. It continues to be a sport out of touch with reality or its fan base.

How many more times will Americans read the headlines that tell of another baseball player being suspended for the alleged use of steroids. Somehow the sport of baseball does not get it. That’s just baseball being baseball and losing fans with each passing year.

Black Movie Director Spike Lee stated many times “DO THE RIGHT THING”, which is what baseball should do. Many Americans are beginning to lose interest in this unique sport because it will not control itself.

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez held a press conference during spring training three years ago, admitting he used substance performing enhancing drugs.

Then in 2009, Los Angeles Dodger outfielder Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games. The good news is that both players were reinstated after they serve their suspensions. Mr. Ramirez tested positive again and has never returned to the game of baseball.

My question to Major League Baseball, what other players’ names will be released to the press next? Which will be called on the carpet for his alleged use of performing enhancement drugs?

When will this piece meal character assassination end? The owners, general managers, and head coaches, should also be held accountable. What happened to their responsibilities?

MLB is telling America that retired manager Tony LaRussia did not know the Oakland A’s Bash Brothers were taking performance enhancing drug.

The horse is out of the barn and MLB refuses to corral the stallions. Listed below are players accused of alleged steroid use and their ranking on the home run list. All but one have retired from the game.

1. Barry Bonds 762

6. Sammy Sosa 609

8. Mark McGwire 583

10. Rafael Palmeiro 569

12. Alex Rodriguez 554

17. Manny Ramirez 533

25. Gary Sheffield 501

Note that Mark McGwire works for the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals as a batting coach and not many have spoken about the past. He is the only player that has returned in the game

Should these 500 Home Run Club members be denied a place in the Baseball’s Hall of Fame just as Shoeless Joe Jackson, just as gambler Pete Rose? Let’s make it clear Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame for his fetes on the field.

Should Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Rafael Palmeiro belong in the Hall of Fame because steroids or no steroids the numbers would not be different.

If this is true what do these home run numbers really mean?

Right now there is a list of over 100 other players that have been accused of performing enhancing drugs.

Several recommendations could be considered to improve American attitudes toward baseball.

1) Remove the current baseball commissioner, Bug Selig because there is a conflict of interest. His daughter owned or now owns the Milwaukee Brewers and he was the former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, so in reality Selig is a defacto owner.

The commissioner of baseball should be the Commissioner for the game not the commissioner of baseball owners. This office should serve the fans, players, and owners. If baseball really wants to change then they should have an impartial commissioner.

Former baseball players Frank Robinson, Bill White, and Don Baylor, along with sport announcers/writers, Bob Costas, Peter Gammons, and George Will are fine candidates for this job.

Included in this list should be the intelligent and sports fan Condoleezza Rice she would become the first Black Commissioner and the first female. A baseball historical moment, but with “baseball being baseball”, this will not happen.

2) Create a comprehensive racial diversity program to attract inner city Black youngsters. Currently Major League Baseball has a program called (RBI) Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. However, they are not actively promoting this program. The results are obvious because so many African Americans do not know about this program. Many people are citing this program as a political stunt to ward off African American leaders and the Black Congress. RBI will be over 20 years old this year but the enrollment of Black Players in the Major Leagues continues to drop to all time low of 8%. Major League Baseball seems to be cultivating Latino and Asian players not inner city African American youngsters.

3) Both leagues should establish a balanced schedule. This may happen with the Houston Astros moving into the American League West Division in 2013. MLB is moving toward a four, four team divisions in each league.

4) The three strike rule should apply to cities that cannot support their major league team. Washington D.C. is a prime example of this. This year’s attendance at National games continues to be poor. The original Washington Senators moved to Minnesota in 1960 to become the Twins who have won the World Series multiple times. The expansion 1961 Washington Senators moved to Arlington in 1971 to become the Texas Rangers and they have won the American League Championship two times. The three strike law would apply to the city of Washington if and or when they lose this current team.

5) MLB should have an outside accountant agency to take a yearly innovatory of the teams that are allegedly having trouble honoring existing payrolls. The financial difficulties of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011 and the possibilities of my beloved New York Mets going through the same problem in 2012.

6) Removal of baseball’s anti-trust clause. When this is accomplished we will then have true and honest trading between clubs. The Yankees, Mets, Braves, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers would be prevented from purchasing great players by solvent teams leaving poor teams to fend for themselves. Each team would have to trade players of equal compensation.

If Congress had taken this action years ago, the playing field would be level and make baseball would be held accountable to the fair trade practice laws in the United States. It is interesting to note each time Congress threatens to do repeal the anti-trust clause; baseball momentarily cleans up its act. This is done to keep the political heat off of the game.

7) Have a hard salary cap. This would prevent super power teams from being formed. Many other major league sports have implemented a cap and it has worked. Baseball wants business as usual. They only want the Yankees, Red Sox’s, Mets, Dodgers, Angels, and Braves playing in the playoffs at the end of the each season.

8) End the Wild Card playoffs. Around the middle of August or the beginning of September teams in contention begin to manipulate games to position themselves for the wild card instead of winning their respective divisions. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have done this many times.

Create a four team, four-division race in each league. Win your division or go home. Baseball has taken a half step by moving the Astros into the American League creating two 15 team leagues.

The current wild card system is just for teams that do not have enough wins to take a divisional crown. The truth of the matter is the wild card increases playoff revenue for the owners, MLB, and the cities.

9) Either have the (DH) designated hitter rule for either leagues or none at all.

Major league basketball, football, and hockey have unified league rules while baseball has diverse rules between its leagues. Baseball should follow the National Football League standard. They merged with the American Football League in 1970.

They combined a set of rules from both the AFL and NFL into one. Baseball being baseball has not shown an interest. The baseball union would fight this change because it means that some players in the American League would lose their jobs. The DH has outlived its day. High schools, colleges, and the minor leagues all have DH’s. Baseball is producing better hitters so the DH is not needed. Run production has almost doubled since 1978.

10) Reduce intra-league play to a 14 game two-week format. These games tarnish what the World Series is meant to be. The mystery of the city, the ballpark, and the opposing players are lost in this format.

Presently the only intra-league games of interest to most fans right now are the inter-city rivalries for example teams like the Mets-Yankees; Cubs-White Sox; Giants-A’s; Dodgers-Angels.

Other examples are the intra state rivalries like the Cardinals-Royals; Reds-Indians; Rangers-Astros, Nationals-Orioles, and ending with Rays-Marlins.

The question is what do you do with the other teams that don’t have geographical rivalries? Examples the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners.

11) Owners that want to have a new stadium he (the owner) should financially invest in the building of the stadium. What New York City did is an outrage.

The city built not one but two new stadiums for the Mets and Yankees the same year. Then they asked the residence of New York City to pay for both of these ballparks. In a time of recession, they added insult to injury displacing minority residence by destroying their neighborhood.

12) Owners of new stadiums should resist the installation of Astro- turf or indoor-domed ball parks. The game of baseball was design to be played outside on natural grass.

13) Boston‘s Fenway Park and Chicago‘s Wrigley Field are they only original remaining stadiums and should never be demolished. They should stand as a museum for the American and National Leagues.

14) Baseball should make every effort to bring the game back to the average American fan. Teams should lower ticket prices. In the 2009 baseball season 17 teams have done just the opposite.

They have raised their ticket prices, with the Yankees and Mets being the highest priced in the league. Teams should have family fun days, and more weekday games. The Oakland Athletics continue to be fan friendly with day games and lower ticket prices.

15) Diversity does not seem to be in baseball’s immediate future. In MLB executive positions there are only two African American managers and two Latino American mangers. Also there is a lack of female participation in MLB offices with two female general managers

16) Home teams should not wear dark or black uniforms at home. The home team are the good guys, this practice of wearing dark or black uniforms formulated from spring training games were every team wears their dominate color. Lets not kid ourselves here they are wearing their dark or black jerseys to promote the selling of these jerseys. A marketing scheme that seems to be working, baseball understands money and this is it.

17) The installation of instant replay to get the correct call on close plays. All other sports have this and “baseball being baseball” is dragging its collective feet

18) The elimination of smokeless tobacco on the field. This product is known to cause cancer and MLB should try everything legal to help insure the health of each player.

19) MLB should schedule its Divisional League playoffs, League Championship playoffs, and World Series games at an earlier time so younger fans can watch their favorite team on television or attend the ballpark.

Let us all remember that we were once the younger fans. “Baseball being baseball” does not get it. They have lost at least two past generations of younger potential fans. Soccer is closing in on baseball and the Lords of the game continue to turn a blind eye.

These are the 19 steps Major League Baseball should take if they want to get back into the hearts and minds of Americans. But Baseball being baseball we all know what will happen

NOTE: I would like to thank my fellow Popsicle Brother Michael Louis-Ingram, former BASN Editor and Chief, Tony McClean, my Mother, Joan H. Gray, BASN-CEO Roland Rogers, and fellow writers of BASN for their contribution in achieving the milestone of 250 articles on this network.

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod