January 18, 2022

Clearing The Bases

June 7, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Tonight’s column isn’t going to deal with the fantasy relevance of Major League Baseball, but more of some of the rules I would like to change if I were the commissioner.  I wrote a similar column last season and I’m happy to say that Bud Selig listened to one of my suggestions and moved a National League team to the American League to even things out.  That one should have been handled a long time ago, kind of ridiculous that one league had one more team than the other.  Does it really make a difference that there has to be at last one interleague game every day of the season?  Not to me.  Some of these suggestions are way out there (Questech), while others would seem to be extremely logical and should have been put into motion years ago (replay).  As always these are in no particular order, just some ideas that I believe would make the game we all love, just a little better.


Interleague Schedule:  This has baffled me for years.  How one team in a division can play such a drastically different schedule than another team in the same division.  Let’s use the Yankees and Red Sox as an example this season.  They both play in the same division (AL East) yet play vastly different interleague schedules.  Yanks play the Mets and Atlanta six times, then three times each versus Cincinnati and Washington.  Boston plays six games versus Miami, than three each versus Washington, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and the Cubs.  Why is it so different.  I understand you have to have the rivalry games will never make it a perfect match but why can’t the schedule be lined up so that each team plays the same division in the other league?  Doesn’t really seem that hard.  Hopefully with the Astros moving to the AL next season they will fix this.


To DH or not to DH:  How can we have a different set of rules for each league?  This is just ridiculous.  It’s like the NFL playing with 10 players in one conference and 11 in the other, the NHL playing with five skaters instead of six.  Why hasn’t this been fixed?  I’m not buying because it’s tradition.  Who really wants to see the pitcher bat.  Most, not all, can’t hit to save their lives, been I still wouldn’t mind that as long as both leagues play by the same rules.  The DH is never going away.  The players union won’t let that happen, it’s a high paid position.  So it would seem the NL would have to adopt the DH, but that would mean payrolls would rise.  Just another excuse to keep the status quo.


As most of us can agree on the season just lasts to long, especially in the northeast where it’s still pretty cold in early April and can get quite chilly in late September or early October.  I know the powers that be are never going to play less than 162 games, just to much money to give up, but why not schedule more day/night doubleheaders.  Sure you might lose some parking revenue but if your stadium has a restaurant or two that can easily be made up and you might be able to cut a week or two from the season  or even start the season later.


Replay:  Can we have more please?  Umpires do the best they can, but that doesn’t mean they don’t seem to miss an awful lot of calls.  Been highlighted pretty well this season as umpires blew calls that allowed White Sox Phil Humber to pitch a perfect game, and Mets pitcher Johan Santana to throw a no-hitter.  Santana’s no-hitter definitely would’ve been overturned by replay as it was easy to see the ball hit line, how the ump ruled that foul when it was right in front of him I’ll never know.  The home plate ump ruling a check swing a strike (another pet peeve of mine, isn’t that why we have 1st and 3rd base umpires) when he clearly didn’t swing would not have been overturned.  Just put a fifth umpire in a booth, he can call down to the crew chief on obvious missed calls.  This is not rocket science, and for those that are worrying about the times of games increasing, there would be no more arguments about blown calls, this should even out the time, plus the goal should always be to get the call right.


QuesTech:  This will never happen but the home plate umpire determines way to many games.  How many times have we heard of an umpire squeezing a pitcher or having a different strike zone for a veteran rather than a rookie.  How about a veteran hitter getting the benefit of the doubt.  QuesTech would eliminate all of this.  You would still need a home plate umpire for plays at the plate, but I would get rid of balls and strikes.  Once again arguments would be eliminated.  This will never happen.


One game playoff:  I have no problem with the added wild card team but a one game playoff to determine who moves on would not be the way I would go.  You know there is going to be a year where there will be a team with 90+ wins battling for the division title to the very end that won’t have their star pitcher lined up to pitch in the playoff game while an 85+ team will.  Just a matter of when.  Should be a two out of three playoff.


Quality Start:  Why do we award a QS to a pitcher when he goes six innings and allows three runs or fewer.  At a minimum this means the bullpen will have to go three innings and his ERA will be 4.50.  Since when did that become quality.  That should be called I kept my team in the game.  I could live with seven innings and three runs, at least your ERA is under four and now your bullpen can matchup in the 8th inning before bringing on the closer to finish out the game.


Official Scorer:  There is no such thing as an error in baseball anymore.  To be charged with an error, you have to make a throw into the 14th row or drop a ball that a little leaguer could’ve handled.  Everything is ruled a hit.  The hitter always gets the benefit of the doubt and I’m tired of it.  If I was a pitcher I’d be ticked off as these “hits” are going to cause my ERA to rise.  My thinking is that the official scorer is usually someone who travels with the team and doesn’t want to upset the players so he will rule almost anything a hit for the home team because he has to deal with these players on a regular bases.  How do we stop this?  How about using that fifth umpire who is going to review plays to be the official scorer also.  They rotate between cities so there will be no hometown calls, and it’s not like he will have much to do when there are no calls to review.


Expanded Rosters:  We have heard the argument for years now that pennants shouldn’t be decided by teams that are out of the playoff picture using call-ups from their minor leagues to play in September.  I do agree with this in principle, but players should be rewarded for a good season in the minors.  What I would like however is for rosters in April to be expanded to 30 players.  Would give pitchers a chance to build up some endurance and might cut down on some injuries later on during the season.


You can reach me on twitter, @georgekurtz.


2 Responses to “Clearing The Bases”
  1. Rob says:

    Excellent job George, you have stated several things I have felt for years.

  2. George Kurtz says:

    Rob, thank you. I know baseball loves their human element, but I would prefer to get the call right, and most of the other ideas are just simple logic.

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