Bob Fescoe: Radical Change Coming in Baseball?
Today we officially enter an abyss in the sports world. The NBA Finals came to a close, Major League Baseball has hit the dog days, the NFL continues to play reindeer games and college football is a down right disaster. With nothing changing anytime soon in the NFL and most people laughing at college football, MLB has a golden opportunity to seize the sports fan. I think they took a major step in that direction over the weekend.
ESPN reported that MLB is considering a radical realignment plan, well, for MLB standards it’s a radical plan. (any kind of progressive thinking in MLB is a radical change to me) It was leaked out that the players association and the league are talking about the possibility of making 2 fifteen team leagues. There would be fifteen American League teams and fifteen National League teams. Five teams from each league would make the post season, increasing the total number of playoff teams from 8 to 10. It would also mean that there would be interleague play every day of the regular season. I like it. Actually, I just like the fact that MLB is considering ways to potentially make the product better. For the last decade or so, MLB has gotten stale. They have been passed by the NFL, NBA, College Sports and for a while NASCAR. Baseball has finally realized that if they don’t evolve, they will continue to get passed by by other sports.
Here is what I would do:
1. Lose the NL and AL brands. Send them out to pasture.
2. I would create two conferences with 3 divisions each.
3. I would keep them basically the same as we have them now
4. However, I would increase the playoff teams to 8 teams from each conference. The 8 teams with the best record in each make the post season…regardless of what place they end up in in their division.
5. Pitchers would never hit again in baseball.
Baseball has the opportunity to do something radical to generate interest. They are off to a good start with their initial plan. Now they need to
take it further. Why go with a small change when they could really change the landscape of the sport and get fans to buy back into what was once America’s Pastime. Baseball has nothing to lose, except more fans if they don’t find a way to evolve.