By Professor Fred Whitted NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) — The title above...
MLB Step Up To The Plate
Gary Norris Gray BASN Staff ReporterOAKLAND, CA.—Major League Baseball continues to slip in the rankings of sports fans hearts could it be because MLB refuses to clean up its act. The Commissioner and owners cannot grasp the concepts of why the National Football League has taken the mantel of America’s new past time. The NFL caters to the needs of their fans while fans of baseball continue to suffer
Several recommendations could be considered to improve Major League Baseball.
1) Remove the current baseball commissioner, Bug Selig because there is a conflict of interest. His daughter owned the Milwaukee Brewers and he was the former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, so in reality Selig is a defacto owner. Selig’s current term as Commissioner ends in 2014.
The commissioner of baseball should be the commissioner for the game not the commissioner of the owners. This office should serve the fans, players, and owners. Baseball 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 the job of commissioner.
2) Create a comprehensive racial diversity program to attract inner city youngsters. Currently Major League Baseball has a program called (RBI) Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. 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 United States Congress. RBI will be over 20 years old this year and the enrollment of Black Players in the Major Leagues continues to fall. Major League Baseball seems to be investing money in Latino and Asian players. Currently with 20 Latin Baseball programs, one should note the increase in Latin players on the field.
3) Both leagues should establish a balanced schedule. That will be established when the Houston Astros move from the National League Central to the American League West in the 2013 season.
4) Home Teams should not wear dark or colored jerseys they are the good guys as Chicago’s Ken “the Hawk” Harrelson states many times on WGN-TV. The Chicago White Sox are equal opportunity offenders wearing their black uniforms at New Cominsky Park. The Texas Rangers wear red or blue, the Los Angeles Angels wear bright cherry red, the New York Mets wear black which is not in their team color scheme. The Oakland A’s started the parade in 1968 with their four different colored uniforms, White, Gold, Grey, and Green. While the Pittsburgh Pirates carried it too the extreme with the multiple colored “We Are Family” uniforms of the late 1970′s
We all know why, it’s about selling baseball jerseys
5) The three strike rule should apply to cities that cannot support a major league team. Washington D.C. area is a prime example. The original Washington Senators moved to Minnesota to become the Twins. The expansion Senators went to Arlington, Texas to become the Texas Rangers. The three strike law would apply to the city of Washington if and or when they lose the current Nationals. Many fans forget that New York City also lost two teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. Yes the three strike rule would apply to New York City.
6) MLB should have an outside accountant agency to take a yearly inventory of the teams that are allegedly having trouble honoring existing payrolls.
7) Removal of baseball’s anti-trust clause. When that is accomplished we will then have true and honest trades between clubs. The Yankees, Mets, Braves, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers would be prevented from purchasing 1st tier players while The Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, and Seattle Mariners continue to struggle. Each team would have to trade players of equal compensation.
If Congress had taken action years ago, it would have made the playing field level and made baseball accountable to the fair trade practice laws in the United States. Interestingly, every time Congress threatens to repeal the anti-trust clause; baseball momentarily cleans up its act. This is done to keep the political heat off of America’s Game.
8) 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. Baseball administrators want the Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Angels, and Braves playing in the playoffs at the end of the each season. This is the biggest problem for most of baseballs purest. It has changed the game forever.
9) End the Wild Card playoff system. In the middle of August or the beginning of September teams begin to manipulate games and position themselves for the Wild Card berth instead of winning their respective divisions. Create a four team, four-division race in each league. Win your division or go home. Adding a new wild card spot in 2012 does not help. A team that has played all season to win 100 games could lose to a team that has won only 70 games in a elimination game. Is this fair?
The current Wild Card system is 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 not the players.
10) Either have the (DH) designated hitters or not.
Major league basketball, football, and hockey have unified league rules while baseball continues to use diverse rule. Baseball should follow the National Football League standard when they merged with the American Football League in 1970.
They combined both the AFL and NFL set of rules. The baseball players 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. Baseball has produced improved hitters so the DH is not needed. Run production has increased since its inception in 1978.
11) Reduce intra-league play to a 2 week 14 game format. These games tarnish what the World Series are meant to be. The mystery of players and their stadiums from the other league is lost forever in this format.
Presently the only intra-league games of interest to most fans are the inter-city rivalries, for example teams like the Mets-Yankees; Cubs-White Sox; Giants-A’s; Dodgers-Angels.
Examples of intra-state rivalries are the Cardinals-Royals; Reds-Indians series; Rangers-Astros, Nationals-Orioles and ending with the Rays-Marlins matchup. The question is what do you do with the other teams that don’t have geographical rivalries?
12) Have a comprehensive and complete drug-testing program. This is where Major League Baseball has fallen down on the job. The executives of MLB were told in 1978 with repeated warning in 1986 that they had a major drug problem. MLB chose to ignore the problem until former President George W. Bush and Congress started asking questions. Baseball wanted to put fans in the seats of all ball-parks and the administration knew that people wanted to see home runs.
Thus the Summer of Love with the McGwire-Sosa home run barrage. If MLB wants to suspend players for alleged steroid use, then why not suspend the owners, managers, and coaches with knowledge of any player who are users on their team? Only then will you see a change in the baseball culture when everybody is held responsible.
13) If the owners want to have a new stadium for his team then he (the owner) should financially invest in the building of that stadium. What New York City did a few years ago was outrageous.
The city built not one but two new stadiums, one for the Mets and one in the Bronx for the Yankees. Then they asked the residence of New York to pay for both of these ballparks. In a time of recession, they added insult to injury displacing minority residents.
14) Owners of new stadiums should resist the installation of Astro- turf or indoor-domed ball parks. The game of baseball was designed to be played outside on natural grass. It is nice to see the Minnesota Twins outside again in Target Field.
15) Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field are the only remaining original parks and should never be demolished. They should stand as a museum for the American and National Leagues.
16) Baseball should make every effort to bring the game back to the average American fan. Teams should lower ticket prices.
The Yankees and Mets are the highest priced seat in the league. Teams should have family fun days, and more weekday games. The Oakland Athletics continue to be fan friendly with the lowest ticket prices.
17) 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’s remember that we were once the younger fans. Again, baseball being baseball does not get it. They are leaving or losing at least two generations of young potential fans.
These are the steps Major League Baseball should take if they really want to get back into the graces of real American baseball fans.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for MLB to implement these improvements. You may turn blue like The Los Angeles Dodgers, The Texas Rangers, or The Kansas City Royals.
NOTE: Would like to thank WCLM 1450 Richmond, Va. the New England Informer- Boston, Mass. Gibbs Magazine, Oakland California, Popsicle Brother Michael Louis-Ingram, BASN Former Editor and Chief, Tony McClean, my Mother, Joan H. Gray, CEO Roland Rogers, and fellow writers of BASN for their contribution in achieving the milestone of 300 articles on this network.
Â©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod