Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Baseball Post

Hey, the season is (almost) here!

A couple of things...

Okay, a month ago I said that the main thing (beyond health) that I would pay attention to for clues about the future was...Brandon Belt's extra base hits. I guess I'm happy now! Of course, who knows whether it means anything, but I'll choose to interpret it as a (very mild -- I'm not nuts) positive.

And Jay Jaffe has a fun column of "20 ways to improve baseball right now." I'll tell you the ones I disagree with:

* Designated hitter in both leagues? No way; I'd like to see more differences (bring back the split umps!).  

* Expand to Montreal and Puerto Rico? I would like to see a two-team expansion, but I'm all for another New York team, probably in New Jersey but it doesn't really matter. I'm skeptical that Puerto Rico would work, but willing to be convinced; Montreal would be fine.

* Stronger PED suspensions? I don't so much disagree as don't care, but anything to end the obsession with that stuff. I tend to think the current regime is too strict, for what it's worth.

* Vin Scully calling the 2013 World Series? Sorry; I'm a big Vin Scully fan, but he really is past his prime, and wasn't all that great in a two or three person booth anyway. Giving him one inning a game on the radio broadcast, alone, would be fine by me, though, but if you put him on TV he's going to get lousy reviews at this point, deserved or not.

And I'll add five more:

* Hey, I see David Aardsma was DFA today, leading to: pay David Aardsma to change his name, dropping that second "a." Hey, it was really cool that Hank Aaron was the very first player in alphabetical order. 

* Adopt my postseason scheme: two divisions per league, first and second place teams advance and play cross-division, first place teams get an easier route through the first round.

* Along with that: get a proper TV contract to promote the hell out of "pennant race week" -- the last week of the regular season. It's a drama that the other sports don't have, and baseball needs to learn to exploit it.

* Is it too soon to put Sean Forman into the Hall of Fame? I suppose so, but not by much. How about in seven years, when baseball-reference turns 20? I'm quite serious about this; he's in my view (perhaps controversial view) more deserving than the people behind the MacMillan book or Total Baseball. 

* And this one isn't an "implement today" kind of thing, but...yeah, baseball would be better off if the number of balls in play could increase, and pitches/batter decrease. I'm fairly sure that what's happened to date is simply players learning optimal strategies, but I don't think the results are best for the fans. You don't want to mess with things too much, but I'd love to have someone thinking about it.

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