More Baseball Changes I Would Make

As the Detroit Tigers prepare to play against the San Francisco Giants in the World Series (and as I lick my wounds as a disappointed New York Yankees fan after watching my team eliminated in four straight play-off games), I am reminded that this has been a season of change for baseball. We've seen expanded instant replays (although still not enough), more wild card teams, and a wild card "play in" game.  In 2009, I shared my ideas on what I would do if I was commissioner of Major League Baseball.  Here are a few more suggestions in case Bud Selig is listening.

1. Fully embrace instant replay.  No more pussy-footing around with limited reviews of homerun calls or certain foul balls or questionable trapped catches.  It's time to enter the 21st century and have the umpires use the technology that's available to make sure they get the calls right. It doesn't need to be as complicated or time-wasting as so many naysayers make it out to be.  My solution is simple -- add an umpire in the booth watching the TV monitors. The umpires on the field would be wired for communication with the booth.  Wrong calls could be corrected instantaneously and questioned calls could be verified just as quickly. I've suggested this before. It's simple and effective!  Make it happen!

2. Every new ballpark should be a retractable domed stadium. Team owners and cities are already spending a fortune on new sports colliseums, so they might as well add the necessity of a roof to avoid delays and postponements due to bad weather. Come on, they're already adding amenities that are nothing more than luxuries to jack up ticket prices, so why not mandate that all new stadiums need to have a roof that opens and closes?  This way, you can keep the outdoor feel on days when the weather is great and grow natural grass, but you can also play no matter what Mother Nature decides to throw your way during the lengthy baseball season.

3. Players and managers should have year-to-year contracts.  I know the players' union would never go for it, and I know that owners want to lock up their stars to as many productive years as possible. Likewise, ballplayers and winning managers want to secure as many guaranteed years of income as possible, but I've seen too many horrendous big multi-year deals (I'm looking at you, A-Rod), and too many players suddenly turn it up a notch or more when new contract negotiations or free agent eligibility are on the horizon.  Playing year to year might seem chaotic, but I think that's the fairest system to have.  It will never happen in a million years, but this is just a speculative wish list anyway so I dare to dream.  Some might argue that such an idea would result in no continuity, with great ballplayers hopping from team to team every year in search of the highest bidder.  If such a system were in place, would my Yankees still have managed to keep such homegrown talent as Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter?  I would like to think so.

There you have it.  Along with my previous suggestions, I think I'd make a fine Commissioner.  I'm not suggesting any radical changes to the rules of the game, (although I do think it's about time the National League stopped being stubborn and added the Designated Hitter to their lineups and just let their pitchers pitch), but I believe these suggestions are worth considering and implementing.  Play ball!