Mark McGwire came out recently and admitted that he did what we all knew he did: take steroids. There is no question in my mind that one of the biggest changes to the sport we love is the development and use of PED’s. It’s caused more change than anything ole Bud has instituted in his tenure and it will continue to impact the sport for the bad. To counter that, I’d like to propose a series of changes that I’d like to see instituted to make the game a better overall product. Considering the current labor agreement only runs through 2011, these are changes that could be made fairly quickly. We’ll begin with the always talked about DH (Double Header) and why I think it’s use should increase.
What I Propose: All 30 teams will play a double header every Sunday
How it Would Work: To make this work, there is a need for MLB to alter the way it schedules games. Each series would need to be three games in length, with each team playing a total of six games each week. All games would take place Wednesday – Sunday of each week with all 30 teams schedule to be off on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday – Friday would be the schedule for the first series of the week. Games can be scheduled any time of day for Wednesday and Thursday, but early afternoon games would be scheduled on Friday. The weekend series would feature a day or night game on Saturday and an early game 1 of the double header with the following game taking place shortly after. Tickets for the Sunday DH would cost 50% more on average, but would allow paying customers to view both games.
Before you even say it, I know that DH’s are tough on starting staffs, but if you look at the layout, it works. Let’s take our rotation as an example.
Tuesday – Zambrano
Wednesday – Dempster
Thursday – Wells
Friday – Marshall
Saturday – Gorzellany
Sunday – Zambrano (4 days rest) / Dempster (3 days rest)
The way it works, the rotation would cycle through each week with one of the Sunday pitchers each week pitching on three days rest. A player in the rotation would really only be doing this once every five weeks. The other four weeks they would be making one start on regular rest. That’s more than doable and won’t kill a guy’s arm. In addition, it may be tough on a bullpen to pitch on Sunday, but you get an extra day off after that DH to rest. It all works.
Why it’s Needed:
- Allows for more off days for players, umpires, and fans – I read a book by Durwood Merrill called You’re Out and You’re Ugly Too. In the book, Mr Merrill mentioned that one of the toughest things to do is be a Major League umpire because of the fact that you never really have a chance to be home during the season like the players do. For a player, if your team is on a homestand, you have the opportunity to go home at night and sleep in your own bed provided that you live in the town of your team. Umpires don’t get that luxury. By scheduling two straight off days in a row each week it would allow for players or umpires to at least fly home for a day off more often. In addition, from a fan perspective, it would give us a few more off days. I don’t know about you, but I get mentally tired and drained from watching baseball every day over the course of a 162 game season. A few extra mental days would do a blogger good.
- Allows position players more rest – Having two straight days gives managers a chance to get guys with nagging injuries at least two days of rest each and every week. This should allow players to stay fresher and in term more productive over the course of the long season.
- Allows families and fans more chances to see day baseball – When I was a kid, I loved to go to day baseball and loved watching DH on tv. To this day, I still love going to baseball during the day. There is just something different about the game during the day under the sunshine. By changing to this new format, fans are given at least two day games each week (Friday and Sunday). It also allows people to get a chance to pay a little extra for the Sunday ticket, but be able to see more baseball as a reward.
This is just the first of many changes I’d make to the game. I’ll be sharing more as we slowly creep toward spring training. Until then, let’s kick around this idea and debate the pros and cons to it as presented. What are your thoughts?