Updated: August 15, 2013

Gary Norris Gray – BASN Staff Reporter

This article was written a year ago here are the 2013 additions

 OAKLAND, CA.—(Major League Baseball) MLB continues to slip in the hearts and minds of the American people. Last week’s drug suspensions of 13 players including the 211 game suspension of third basemen Alex Rodriguez, seems to be an over-reaction by Bug Selig and Major League Baseball. 12 of the 13 player suspensions are of Latino decent and that just seems to be racial and a personal issue. MLB continues to stumble and bumble on the issue of drugs in the game and it seems they cannot get it right. This might be their last chance.

Here are the 20 points to improve this flailing sport.

 1) Remove the current baseball commissioner, Bug Selig because there is still a conflict of interest. His daughter once owned the Milwaukee Brewers and his friends and business partners are still part of the club. Selig was the former owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, so in reality The Commissioner is a defacto owner. Mr. Selig’s term ends in October 2014.

The commissioner of baseball should be the commissioner of the game, not the commissioner of the owners. This office should serve the fans, players, and owners.

Mr. Selig will be remembered in an unflattering way 40-50 years from now. Just as The American League Champion 1919 Chicago White Soxs are remembered today for giving away the World Series and becoming The Black Sox Scandal. This was the Darkest Days of Major League Baseball. The current Biogenesis Drug episode could be the 2nd major Black Eye.

Baseball should have an impartial commissioner like former baseball players Frank Robinson, Bill White, and Don Baylor. Maybe we should consider sport announcers/writers, Bob Costas, Peter Gammons, and George Will are fine candidates for the job of commissioner.

  2) Removal of baseball’s anti-trust clause. When this is accomplished we will then have true and honest even between clubs. The Yankees, Braves, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers would be prevented from purchasing star players at the trade deadline.

The Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, and Seattle Mariners continue to struggle with fair and equal trades.

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.

3) 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. There are only 2, one in Newark, New Jersey and another in Compton, California. The results are obvious because so many African Americans have not been informed. Many people are still citing this program as a political stunt to ward off Black protest, African American leaders complaints, and the weight of The United States Congress. RBI will be over 20 years old and the enrollment of Black players in the Major Leagues continues to fall.  There are only 07.9 percent African Americans playing in 2013. Currently two teams do not have a single Black player on their roster.

Major League Baseball seems to be investing money in Latino and Asian players with their 27 Latin baseball camps. From the South and Central American countries of Argentina to the American protectorate Puerto Rico, young Latin men are donning on Major League uniforms.

4) Retire Number 21 in tribute to the great Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder Roberto Clemente as a symbol of Latin greatness on and off the field.

5) Install Curt Flood into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a tribute to the man who changed major league sports. Without Flood free agency would still be a dream in player’s eye. Every current player in sports should thank this man for waging the economical and political battle 40 years ago.

6) Have a comprehensive and complete drug-testing program. This is where Major League Baseball did not do its job. The executives of MLB were told in 1978 with repeated warnings in 1986 that they had a major drug problem. MLB chose to ignore the problem until former President George W. Bush former owner of the Texas Rangers and The United States Congress started asking questions.

MLB did not care, baseball wanted to put fans in the seats of all ball-parks and the administration knew that people wanted to see home runs.

Creating the now infamous, “Summer of Love”, home run binges, with Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa. If MLB wants to suspend players for alleged steroid use, then the question should be asked, Why not suspend or fine the owners, managers, and coaches. If they had knowledge of any player on their team who were users? Only then will you see a change in the baseball culture when everybody is held accountable. MLB should take a page from the NFL conduct code if you’re caught once then it’s a fine and suspension, caught twice your expelled from the league. Players have to be responsible for their actions too.

7) Have a HARD salary cap. This would prevent super teams from being formed. Many other major league sports have implemented a cap. Baseball to do wants business as usual. Baseball administrators want the Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Dodgers, and Braves in the playoffs.

The National Football League and The National Hockey League got it right and the fans love it because they know that their team will have a chance every year to win the Championship. This is not the case with MLB.

8) Traditionally, the home teams wear white or light coloried jerseys. They are the good guys as WGN-TV broadcaster Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson states many times.

The Oakland Athletics started the parade in 1968 with four different uniforms, White, Gold, Grey, and Green. The Pittsburgh Pirates carried it to the extreme with the multiple colored (“We Are Family”) uniforms of the late 1970′s. Pirate fans saw a different uniform each day.

The Chicago White Sox are equal opportunity offenders wearing black uniforms at New Comiskey Park. The Texas Rangers wear red or blue, the Los Angeles Angels wear bright cherry red; the New York Mets wear black and dark blue which is not in their team color scheme. The San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, and Baltimore Orioles wear bright orange jerseys

We all know why, it’s about selling baseball jerseys.

9) Have a definitive strike zone; IT’S IN THE RULE BOOK. Currently umpires have their own strike zone and the players have to adjust to that particular umpire on that particular day. Baseball history tells us that everybody knew the American League had a lower strike zone then the National League, now it’s every man for himself.

10) MLB needs to enter the 21st century with replay on close controversial plays. Critics of this rule state that it would delay the game. REALLY? What about those three hour Boston Red Sox-Oakland A’s games. Nobody seems to complain about them.

* MLB will vote on this issue this winter

11) The three strike rule should apply to cities that cannot support a major league team. The Washington D.C. area is a prime example. The original Washington Senators moved to Minnesota to become the Twins. The 1960’s expansion Senators went to Arlington, Texas to become the Texas Rangers. The three strike law would apply to the city of Washington if or when they lose the current Nationals team. Many fans forget that New York City lost two teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants the same year 1958. If or when the Yankees or Mets move the three strike rule would apply to New York City.

12) End the Wild Card playoff system. With the addition of another Wild Card team in 2012, this system became worst. In the middle of August or the beginning of September teams begin to manipulate games and position themselves for the two Wild Card berths instead of winning their respective divisions. Just ask the Atlanta Braves how that worked out last year when the St. Louis Cardinals beat them in a one game playoff.  The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Soxs played tag with the American League Wildcard and Eastern Division spot in the late 1980’s through the 1990’s. Boston and New York wanted an easier first round so the Red Sox and Yankees either won or lost according to their likely opponent. To end the shenanigans they should have played each other in the first round of the playoffs. But again that’s Baseball Being Baseball.

Create a four team, four-division race in each league. Historically you would win your division or go home. Adding a new wild card spot in 2012 did not help. A team that has played all season winning 100 games could lose to a team that has won less games in an 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 games increase playoff revenue for the owners.

13) Either have the (DH) designated hitter or eliminate the DH. Major league basketball, football, and hockey have unified league rules while baseball continues to use a different set of rules for each league. Baseball should follow the National Football League standard when they merged with the American Football League in 1970.

High school and college teams use the DH, so when a pitcher in the National League steps up to the plate it may be the first time to bat since Little League or Pony League.

The AFL-NFL, NBA- ABA, and NHL-WHA combined their league rules; baseball seems to enjoy confusing the average fan.

The baseball players union would fight this change because it would mean that players in the American League would lose their jobs. The DH has outlived its day. Baseball has produced enhanced hitters so the DH is no longer needed and run production has increased since its inception in 1977- 1978.

14) Reduce intra-league play. These games tarnish what the World Series meant. The mystery of players and their stadiums from the other league gave baseball that charm. Major League Baseball currently instituted intra-league games throughout the season. One year this will affect a pennant race and they will have to rethink this idea.

Presently the intra-league games of interest are the inter-city rivalries. The Mets-Yankees; Cubs-White Sox; Giants-A’s; Nationals-Orioles, and Dodgers-Angels are prime examples.

Other examples intra-state rivalries, such as the Cardinals-Royals; Reds-Indians; Rangers-Astros, and ending with the Rays-Marlins matchup. The question is what do you do with the other teams that don’t have geographical rivalries for example the Seattle Mariners, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Colorado Rockies, The San Diego Padres, and the Milwaukee Brewers?

15) Reduce the number of games from the present 162 to 140-145 games. The Season is too long, causing MLB to move the playoffs into the start of winter. Sitting in 40-50 degree weather is not comfortable for the fans or the players. Does this make sense after playing in 90 degree heat all summer long?

16) If the owners want to build a new stadium then they (the owner) should financially invest in the building of that stadium. What New York City did a few years ago was outrageous.

New York built not one but two new stadiums. One for the Mets in Flushing, Meadows and one in the Bronx for the Yankees. Then both teams asked the residence of New York to pay for these ballparks. In a time of recession, they added insult to injury by displacing minority residents.

 17) 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 playing at Target Field.

 18) 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 (Red Sox) and National Leagues (Cubs).

Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine, The Oakland Alameda County Coliseum (O.Com Park), and Angel Stadium of Anaheim are the 2nd oldest group of Stadiums. Built in the early 1960’s, they should be cared for as a statement of the expansion era. All of the monster parks are gone as teams move back into the city proper. Remember Three Rivers, Riverfront, Veterans, Shea, and Memorial stadiums. They are all gone now.

 19) Baseball should make every effort to bring the game back to the average American fan. Teams should lower ticket prices. The San Francisco Giants have a very interesting system of selling tickets called ranked choice. The ticket prices fluctuate according to the demand and the team they are playing. The price rises when the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers or Chicago Cubs come to Bay Area and falls when the Kansas City Royals or Miami Marlins fly west.

The Yankees and Mets currently have the highest priced seats in the league. Teams should have family fun days, and weekday games. The Oakland Athletics continue to be fan friendly with the lowest ticket prices, with more weekday games.

20) 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 game at the ballpark. Currently the starting times of playoff games are 8:30-9:00 pm Eastern. The games end after midnight. Most children have school to attend the next morning and cannot see the end of the game.

Remember, we were younger baseball fans and we use to run home after school to watch the games on television. Again, Baseball being Baseball does not get it. They are losing two generations of young potential fans and working on the third. MLB made a half hearted step three years ago with day games in the first round of the playoffs including the Wild Card games.

Money has become more important than building a young fan base for the future.

These are the 20 steps Major League Baseball could take if they really want to get back into the good graces of real American baseball fans.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for MLB to implement these improvements. You may turn blue like The New York Mets, 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, BASN Editor Eric Graham, Mother, Joan H. Gray, The Late CEO Roland Rogers, and fellow writers of BASN for their contribution in achieving the milestone of 380 articles on this network.

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

— welcome to the GLC the gray leopard cove   

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