…the more they stay the same, right? Sorry for the cliche to start off your late-morning reading, but I’m too excited about not being surrounded by screaming 6th, 7th, and 8th graders right not to feel all that apologetic. Anyway, MLB announced yesterday one good thing and one bad thing.
The good: MLB will NOT be expanding the playoffs in 2011. That means we’ll stick with the four-team in each league format, which I prefer. While more playoff teams means more money, I don’t think it’s all that good for the game and it, frankly, rewards mediocrity. I do think the playoff system–and the schedule itself–may need some tweaking, though. I’m not sure it’s so realistic nowadays, but I’d like to see baseball scrap the East/Central/West divisions and go back to a one-league-fits-all style breakdown. This would mean a balancing of the schedule. It would also mean that the top four teams in each league, rather than three division winners and one wildcard, would make the playoffs. At this point, this system may be unrealistic. Baseball, while still popular nationally, is a more regional than national game. The divisions help feed that regional popularity. Of course, the reverse could be true: If we create the standings in a national “context,” the game’s national popularity could grow.
The bad: MLB will NOT expand replay in 2011. Boo to this. Big time. Replay needs to be modified and expanded. The game does not change just based on “boundary calls” and home runs. MLB needs to realize something: Now that we have the technology and ability to fix bad calls, we should be doing it. The system currently in place is completely illogical and rarely used. As I’ve said countless times before: Every play, save for balls and strikes, needs to be reviewable. Put an extra umpire or MLB official in some room, somewhere in the stadium, with access to a television and have that ump be in contact with the crew chief. As soon as the ump sees a play is wrong, he calls the crew chief and they reverse the call. This would take no time at all. Don’t give the managers challenges; don’t let the umpires on the field convene; let the extra-ump decide, since he has the TV with him. I have faith that, eventually, a system like this will be in place. I won’t hold my breath, but it could happen.
And, lastly, while I have your attention, I just want to officially throw my hat in the Justin Duchscherer ring.
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