Over the past few years during the Allstar Break, Commissioner Bud Selig has hosted an annual internet chat with baseball fans from around the globe. During this year’s Q&A, Selig addressed a number of hot topics. Let’s recap some of the more frustrating intriguing points raised.
On a salary cap:
Selig was pretty adamant about his feelings on this one. He essentially guaranteed that the salary cap topic would not be involved with the next Basic Agreement. In conclusion: it’s still a good day to be a Yankee fan (or a fan of any big market for that matter).
On a related note, Bud Selig firmly believes that the current system works. He assured the audience that competitive play amongst all the divisions exists now more than ever, and cited the recent success of both the Indians and Pirates organizations as proof.
On evaluating umpires and instant replay:
Selig talked about the processes in place that are designed to assess umpires. He also noted that the processes currently in place along with the umpires themselves will continue to be scrutinized to assure certain standards of quality. That being said, Selig feels the umpires have generally done a very good job.
Apparently, the usage of instant replay will continue to be explored. In fact Selig made a vague statement saying “two major changes” are being strongly considered. However, the Commissioner did quickly comment afterward, “…that within baseball there’s not a great appetite, frankly, for instant replay.” Honestly, I find it rather baffling that people are still leery of achieving the correct call, but hey, that’s just me.
On divisional realignment:
He’s considered it. Nothing is imminent.
On the Allstar Game determining home field advantage:
Sorry folks. This one isn’t going anywhere either. Selig loves the system as it currently stands. He even went so far as saying that as long as he’s the Commissioner of baseball, he doesn’t plan on changing it further. Selig elaborated on his sentiments by saying that the Mid Summer Classic now “counts for something,” which in turn, draws interest and excitement from both the players and the fans.
Before the Allstar Game “mattered,” home field advantage was simply alternated every year between the AL and NL. Evidently, Selig found that method boring. As to be expected, at no point in the conversation was the idea raised that the team with the better record could dictate home field advantage.
On a worldwide draft:
Apparently, having a worldwide draft is a big conversation point of current labor discussions — so much so, that changes could potentially be implemented as soon as next season. Additionally, Selig claims to be a strong advocate of slotting which should theoretically benefit any team faced with the dubious task of trying to sign a top draft pick.
Having a better draft format would be yet another way of ensuring competitive balance (or “parody” if you prefer) among all of the teams. Afterwards, Selig went on a rather lengthy monologue about how every team should have “hope and faith” during the preseason. I wonder if the Cubs had hope and faith at the start of this year?
On adding a mini-playoff prior to the postseason
One fan from California asked a pretty brilliant question. The fan asked,
MLB plays a long season to determine the best teams; a true test of depth, and preventing a club from getting hot for two weeks and securing a post season berth. So why would you advocate adding a one- or three-game playoff series that could throw all of that away for a team in the blink of an eye?
This one seemed to stump the Commish a bit. He didn’t really respond to the question other than saying people were extremely opposed to the wildcard when he initially introduced it, and now it’s “totally loved” and accepted by all (disputable). Selig noted the wildcard produced some incredible moments such as the 2002 World Champion Angels or Redsox incredible 0-3 game comeback.
Bud went on to say that Major League Baseball currently allows the least amount of teams into the postseason of any sport (8 of 30). Selig continued, “If we go to 10, that’s 10 of 30. 20 go home. That’s not too many. On the contrary, I can make a case for 10. No more than 10… I do like 10 out of 30, it’s imminently fair.”
It’s all so clear now…
On Interleague play, the DH, and one radical proposal:
is Interleague play here to stay? You bet.
One of the more radical questions of the chat, though, involved changing the interleague landscape a bit. A fan from Colorado wanted to see some of the elite AL designated hitters when they were in town; I guess this fan is opposed to the idea of David Ortiz at first base and Adrian Gonzalez is the outfield. Therefore, he suggested that the DH be used in National League parks and the the pitchers hit in AL parks.
This proposal would theoretically grant fans of NL clubs the opportunity to see some of the great designated hitters that they wouldn’t typically get to see in action, while American League fans would get a chance to enjoy the game they remembered prior to 1972. Logically, the Commissioner thought it was a good question and was one “worth considering and then some.” My two cents: this idea is terrible.
Anyway, check it out if you have some free time and are interested in hearing more about Selig’s vision for the future of Major League Baseball. In the meantime, put on your “Commissioner Hat” and tell me what changes you would institute.
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