I wanted the chance to throw my 2 cents about the latest round of rule changes to Major League Baseball since I have such a great medium to do so. I get asked all of the time what I think about the new replay system and the running into the catcher rule and would I change them or how would I tweak them from how it currently is.
I want to start off by saying that I have absolutely NO problem with instant replay being used in baseball and I think that it’s being used wisely and properly. How many games in the past have we seen blown calls happen and absolutely nothing anyone could do about it. There is nothing worse in sports than having an umpire speak later and say they blew the call and felt horrible about it.
I would much rather have a call be corrected than have to watch those discussions well after a game. Granted, it will take away from some things about the game that I love the most. I love watching a manager blow up at the umpire for calling something that they felt was not correct. Now, we see the manager take a gingerly walk out on the field and wait for his assistant coach to give a thumbs up or down. I’m sure there will still be some arguments but nothing like we’ve seen before.
I really like the instant replay stuff so I’m saying to keep that in, however I am completely on the other side of the fence when it comes to running into the catcher. I find this rule to be worse than any kind of nonsense that the NFL and Roger Goodell has tried to implement. How can anyone expect a catcher to not end up some place when the ball could take him there? The home plate collisions are usually based upon a very close play at the plate when the runner is trying to dislodge the ball from the catcher’s glove.
If there was any type of proof that the runners were trying to injure a catcher because of retaliation or personal feelings, I’m all for the runners having to slide into any base and not with intention for brute contact. However, it’s on the onus of the catcher to make sure that he is giving a lane for the runner to slide and most MLB catchers have no clue what they are supposed to do. The way the league looks at it is, eventually they will understand what to do and how to adjust but the problem is that teams are winning and losing games because they simply don’t completely understand the rule.
I’m hoping that after this season, they drop this rule or simply tweak it to where a runner has to slide into any base and can not intentionally create contact to injure. This would probably solve most of the problems and allow the catchers to do their job. Some people will say that this is not fair to the base runners, however they have a good beat to a path they can take to a base much sooner than a defender.
I would love to see Major League Baseball create a salary cap that would allow all teams to play on a more level playing field. I don’t understand how a team who has a $70M payroll be able to compete with teams with a $170M payroll. Star players should be able to spread around a bit more to all the teams rather than knowing that someone like Pedro Alvarez is slated to become a New York Yankee in a few years because they will be able to pay him much higher than the Pirates could.
I would also love to see MLB to allow their players to go to the Olympics and compete. One of the biggest reasons why the Olympics got rid of baseball is because of the lack of star players who could not participate. Baseball is becoming a much bigger international sport and I would be in favor of dropping the All Star Game during an Olympic year as well as dropping down to a 142 game season to get baseball back in the Olympics.
I want to see the Major League Baseball draft begin allowing trading of picks. I know that currently, teams are allowed to trade supplemental picks, however I think that teams should be allowed to trade up or down and not be held to their pre-determined slot. This would create much more intrigue and interest to the draft. However, with there not being a salary cap, money shouldn’t be used to move up in the draft. Let’s say the Red Sox really wanted a player that in today’s draft would never make it to them, they could simply pony up $15M to the Astros and obtain that pick. There would need to be a salary cap in place for that, however a player plus a pick for a higher draft pick or some combination that does not include monetary gain would allow honest trades to be worked out.
I do understand that MLB has one of the strongest and worst players associations to accompany a sport and we’ve seen it create work stoppages, lawsuits flying all over the place and worst of all, bad teams staying a bad team for years at a time. It allows media outlets to focus mostly on the big money teams because their markets bring the biggest ratings. Of course they do, with a payroll of $170M or more, either you are in the playoff race or on those shows being talked about as ‘how could they not be in the race with a payroll of $170M+’.
I hope when Bud Selig leaves MLB for good(I can’t wait!), the new commissioner comes in with the hopes and dreams of making the league more even across the board and more competitive every year, that’s my dream but for now, please fix some of the rules that I simply do not understand.