Changing The Face Of Baseball

Bud Selig is entertaining the notion of altering the playoff format to reduce the “advantage” afforded to the Wild Card winner. It’s an idea that I think has no merit whatsoever.

Here are some other ideas that I’m throwing into the ring that I think would have a much more dramatic effect on the game. I haven’t done much thinking about them other than writing them down, and though I like these ideas, few, if any, are original. I don’t know if they are fair or well-reasoned, and most, if not all, of them are unlikely to happen. I’m just curious what all you bright minds out there might think about them.

Realign to two divisions in each league, with the winner of each division playing the second finisher in the opposite division of that league in the first round of the playoffs.

Eliminate interleague play.

Outlaw plastic/composite body armor on the arms.

Two hit batsman in a game by a pitcher means an automatic ejection.

Umpires can not throw pitchers out of a game for throwing at a batter without hitting them (i.e., “intent”, or throwing behind after a warning).

Give the NL the DH or take it away from the AL. I prefer the former. Who wants to see any pitcher except Zambrano hit?

The best record gets home field in the WS. Screw that All-Star game foolishness.

Introduce instant replay for rulings on home runs, GRDs (especially on fan interference), official scoring of errors, and dropped-pitch third strikes that result in a base.

Expand the regular season roster to thirty players. Admittedly, this favors higher payroll teams, but it’s already proven that high payroll doesn’t equate to championships. I’m not fond of double-headers landing teams with depleted rosters.

Eliminate the September roster expansion.

Return the height of the mound to 15 inches.

Set a minimum team salary threshold.

Eliminate fan-based input into “official MLB” awards.

I’m eager to hear your responses.

75 comments… add one

  • Personally, I think the mound should be 7 feet above home plate.

    SF October 29, 2006, 7:01 pm
  • I like the 2 division idea. Actually, most of these seem fine to me.

    Nick-YF October 29, 2006, 7:05 pm
  • Expanding the roster to 30 players is a bad idea. Too many guys would be brought up prematurely, and the talent level at the bottom of the teams is already very thin. Perhaps 25, 26 max, giving teams an extra pitcher or two in the pen, would be doable. Anything more than that is gratuitous. I would propose, either in tandem with this slightly expanded roster or just because I think it is stupid, eliminating roster expansion in September. To me it’s an illogical change in the continuum of the season that simply shouldn’t occur.

    SF October 29, 2006, 7:10 pm
  • Is Selig considering extending the wild card round to 7 games? I’d support that.

    Nick-YF October 29, 2006, 7:10 pm
  • Do the players who get called up during the September expansion become members of the players union? Are they given pro-rated major league minimum salaries for that month? Just curious.

    Nick-YF October 29, 2006, 7:13 pm
  • Wild card teams get one home game, is what I would do.
    And the two hit batsman in a game automatic ejection thing is way too extreme. Tim Wakefield should be ejected because the knuckler is knuckling like mad? How about demanding that “umpires act intelligently”? Or is that too much to ask?
    (Scratch that…)

    SF October 29, 2006, 7:13 pm
  • …sorry sf’s…i know this won’t be popular with 2nd-placers, but just eliminate the wild card altogether…it was a nice experiment, but if there is so much concern with wc’s winning, it’s gotta go….or, geez…i guess we could tie their legs together, or make them hit blindfolded….when i was a kid we used to hit opposite of what was natural for us, or we could make them run around the bases backwards….no, the best thing is to eliminate it altogether…if you can’t win your division, you don’t belong…

    dc October 29, 2006, 7:25 pm
  • dc, is it possible that you could make one single comment without trying to derail an interesting and intelligent thread by starting a flame war with SFs? Or is it just reflexive and you can’t control yourself?
    (cue “don’t be so sensitive” response from dc).
    Really, can you at least try, just once?

    SF October 29, 2006, 7:28 pm
  • …uh no…sorry you can’t handle the satire and sarcasm when it doesn’t emanate from your posts, but that’s the way it goes…since you missed the point, i’ll explain it: the wild card ain’t broken, bud selig…it’s doing exactly what you wanted it to…creating immense interest in playoff races throughout the entire season, giving mid-market teams a chance to compete with the big boys, and adding extra rounds of playoffs, generating more income and television coverage, making the sport as popular as it’s ever been…get it now sf?…

    dc October 29, 2006, 7:48 pm
  • So why couldn’t you just write that, instead of throwing in an antagonistic barb aimed at SFs?

    SF October 29, 2006, 7:59 pm
  • …sorry…it was a cheap shot…it’s the kind of thing i accuse you guys of when you start out a thread by yankee bashing…i’ll try to do better…if you will…

    dc October 29, 2006, 8:02 pm
  • …actually gerb, i think they need a hard salary cap, in addition to a minimum…the luxury tax is a joke if the yankees don’t care about how much it costs them, and the other teams don’t have to spend what they get from it…just curious, why do you want to eliminate interleague play?…

    dc October 29, 2006, 8:17 pm
  • I was away for a bit. Glad to see some interesting comments.
    I’ll address them in individual posts, because each concept deserves it’s own time.
    Let’s start with SF wanting the pitcher’s mound 7 feet above home plate. I know that’s facetious, but I think I understand your hyperbole. Pitchers are due for a rule change that favors them. I apologize if I misinterpreted.

    attackgerbil October 29, 2006, 9:12 pm
  • Nick: I *love* the two division idea. It never should have been three. Stupid!

    attackgerbil October 29, 2006, 9:13 pm
  • SF: I will think about what you said. I think roster expansion in September is stupid, and a way to mitigate it is to come up with a number somewhat higher than 25 that allows for more flexibility, especially for teams that aren’t going to the post season. However, I see your point regarding that it is a diluted pool of talent to begin with. I don’t understand why it is less diluted in September, however.

    attackgerbil October 29, 2006, 9:15 pm
  • Nick: the playoffs are already too long in my opinion. I personally want a pennant game, and then a series, but there is too much money to be made by the two-stage playoff. Too bad. It was better before.

    attackgerbil October 29, 2006, 9:17 pm
  • SF: regarding pitchers ejected after two hit batsman: I think the umpires are not able to act intelligently regarding hit batsman and retribution. Therefore, I came up with a (probably wrongheaded) idea about how to take it out of their hands. The umps have enough trouble making judgement calls about strike zones. I don’t want them being traffic cops. That’s probably because I think pitchers *should* be able to brush batters.

    attackgerbil October 29, 2006, 9:19 pm
  • “Wildcard teams get one home game”
    Not easy for me to see that it is A) a detriment to their chances, and B) in alignment with the reality that WC teams are often far superior in record to winners of the triumverate divisional structure. It’s a joke when .500 teams get a berth as a divisional winner and a 96 win team comes in as a WC.

    attackgerbil October 29, 2006, 9:21 pm
  • dc: You can’t eliminate the wildcard without realigning the tri-divisional structure, which is why I proposed it. In essence, you would have to WCs. The point is that if you want a three-legged horse, we’re stuck with a WC.

    attackgerbil October 29, 2006, 9:23 pm
  • DC: I propose eliminating inter-league play because it’s moronic. There are leagues, or there aren’t. If they want to play “inter-league”, then make it all the same league.
    I like your idea about hard caps on either side of the payroll.

    attackgerbil October 29, 2006, 9:26 pm
  • how about a 30 man roster but only 25 can be active for a game, that means teams have 5 additional guys they can use in the second half of a doubleheader without exposing someone to waivers to call up an extra picther between games.

    TJ October 29, 2006, 9:32 pm
  • TJ: that’s a creative idea and I like it a lot. It’s essentially what happens now with the DL structure, but put some meat on it, and that may be what MLB needs to get rid of the September call-ups as well as deal with the seasonal shortfalls that happen with players removed from action for 10-20 games. Great idea.

    attackgerbil October 29, 2006, 9:37 pm
  • I disagree with hard caps. The problem isn’t that the Yankees don’t care about how much their luxury tax is (they care), the problem is that the teams that get the money don’t have to put it back into their own system and that’s a crime.
    I’m fine with the WC and there is no way they will give away the revenue it generates so it isn’t going anywhere. Personally, I’d love the WC to be a 7game series. I don’t think the 1 home game for a WC team will work because the travel situation would be a nightmare. 2 of 3 days would be designated as “travel” days (unless you give the WC team the first or last game of the series, in which case you’re still screwing the “better” team).
    I don’t think you can impliment a 2 hit pitch rule for the same reasons SF says. It’s the Ump’s job to handle those situations and they should be held accountable for how they mediate those turns of event.
    I only like the expanded roster late in the year because it does allow teams to bring up young talent that they couldn’t justify having up during the year.
    Interleague is moronic and it feels like it goes on longer and longer every season. I don’t think any single one of the regional rivalries even mean anything anymore.
    No way on the instant replay EXCEPT (and this is only an exxception if they decided to go to a replay system) for homeruns, and even then I don’t think there should be any replay in baseball.
    Pitching mound at 5′ 6″ is just fine by me.
    You gotta keep the DH thing league separate…if only to distinguish the leagues frm one another. Agree that the all-star game should be just an all-star game–I wouldn’t mind seeing them have a dunk contest along side the HR hitting contest (Endy v Granderson where Endy dunks the ball after clearing Giambi, Bonds and Canseco).

    walein October 29, 2006, 9:49 pm
  • …gerb always puts a lot of thought into his posts, something sf’s and yf’s on this site should appreciate…some of what he’s suggested in his lead-in reach beyond the scope of reducing the wild card’s chances, but have merit in their own right…by the way, if i haven’t been clear, i disagree vehemently with selig…some of the best post season baseball in the past few years has been played by wc’s, including our beloved red sox…he’s a dope, and an embarrassing commish, but that’s another topic….here’s my humble opinions:
    number of divisions: doesn’t matter, unless you tinker with the wc…i happen to like having more teams qualify…
    interleague play: i agree gerb, it should be eliminated…in most cases it’s a big yawn…i’d rather have more games within divisions…we can’t have too many sox-yanks clashes as far as i’m concerned…
    plastic/composite body armor on the arms: agree only if you couple with your much harsher stance on pitchers throwing at batters…
    throwing behind a batter: i don’t agree on that one…no major league pitcher’s control should be so bad that they “accidentally” throw behind a batter…in that event it should be automatic ejection…
    keep the dh: i’m old enough to remember when the dh debuted…i was bummed about the change…it was sacrilegious…but slowly i got used to the idea, and can’t imagine baseball without it…the nl is so boring for a couple of innings per game, when those rally-killing pitchers come up to bat…the occasional miracle isn’t worth it…
    best record = home field…right on, buddy…that’s the only fair way, and it makes the regular season count for more…
    in-season roster expansion: double headers and depleted rosters used to be the norm…i got no problem with teams sucking it up and taxing the managers to figure out how to get through the dog days…separates the men from the boys….
    sept roster expansion: actually, i like roster expansion in september…it gives some of the younger players a chance who might never get a look…
    raising the mound and other pitching advantages: i don’t like giving pitchers any more advantages, unless we want to return to the days where there was little or no offense, and a bunch of pitchers that look like cy young [or kenny rogers]…it just depends on what style you prefer…
    minimum salary: from my prior post: “…actually gerb, i think they need a hard salary cap, in addition to a minimum…the luxury tax is a joke if the yankees don’t care about how much it costs them, and the other teams don’t have to spend what they get from it…”
    fan based input to awards: not sure i care much about this one…i mentioned it in another post as a way to eliminate the beauty contests, but it was started in the first place for awards and the all-star game as a way to generate fan interest…it only matters to the fans whose players lose out on this stuff, so who cares, really…if fans want “their guy” i guess they have to vote more enthusiastically…
    again, gerb, thanks for the opportunity to consider some well thought out improvement opportunities…

    dc October 29, 2006, 10:02 pm
  • I like a lot of these, though I suspect none will happen.
    - I think the only way to gain Players Association approval to eliminate the DH is to expand the roster to at least two more players.
    - If the wild card endures, eliminate the unbalanced schedule to make the teams in contention play each more (if they are from different divisions. And eliminate interleague, an abomination as bad as the DH

    Vic SF October 29, 2006, 10:04 pm
  • …i forgot at least the following:
    7 game wild card series: yes
    instant replay: no

    dc October 29, 2006, 10:08 pm
  • …uh…an after-thought…if bud really wants to improve the game, how ’bout enforcing the rules…we all know what i mean…

    dc October 29, 2006, 10:15 pm
  • the first step for Bud Sleig to improve baseball is to retire tomorrow :)

    TJ October 29, 2006, 10:41 pm
  • dc, I do know what you mean. Zero-tolerance policy for steroid users. Absolutely. Retroactive? Glad you said it first.

    Quo October 29, 2006, 11:02 pm
  • My thoughts, probably just repeating what others have already said better, but it’s fun nonetheless:
    “Realign to two divisions in each league, with the winner of each division playing the second finisher in the opposite division of that league in the first round of the playoffs.”
    Love it. Who thinks it’s cool to have a weak, four-team division in the same league as a monstrous six-team division?
    “Eliminate interleague play.”
    I’ve always hated interleague play. It’s an abomination that in the long run has done far less for baseball and its “rivalries” than the 2003 and 04 ALCSes.
    “Outlaw plastic/composite body armor on the arms.”
    I would advocate instead that umpires be made to enforce the rule that if a hitter does not make an appreciable effort to avoid the pitched ball he is not awarded first base.
    “Two hit batsman in a game by a pitcher means an automatic ejection.”
    Like SF said, a Wakefield or someone with a non-breaking curveball could be in trouble. And what if batters are hanging over the plate or diving into pitches? They could get a pitcher ejected in the third inning if they were good enough actors. I personally think there are too few HBPs. Pitchers have given away too much of the plate, which has helped lead to the offensive explosion we’ve seen in the past decade (well, that and the other thing baseball doesn’t talk about).
    “Umpires cannot throw pitchers out of a game for throwing at a batter without hitting them (i.e., “intent”, or throwing behind after a warning).”
    Agreed. Umpires also should not be allowed to issue pre-emptive warnings before a game starts, and should be prohibited from issuing warnings until after two HBPs. To quote from basketball, “Let the players play!”
    “Give the NL the DH or take it away from the AL.”
    NL should take the DH. We can see pitchers batting have helped turn NL staffs into mush, unable to get through a decent 1-through-9 lineup when it really counts — unless they’re playing the Detroit Tigers, of course. Then they all turn into Cy Young.
    “The best record gets home field in the WS. Screw that All-Star game foolishness.”
    I’m not really passionate about this one way or another. Home-field means far less in baseball than it does in other sports. Does anyone think the Red Sox would have had trouble defeating St. Louis if the Cards had home-field? Chicago against Houston? St. Louis wasn’t the home team this year. The best team in baseball deserves to have their fans witness the most playoff games. That’s at least fair.
    “Introduce instant replay for rulings on home runs, GRDs (especially on fan interference), official scoring of errors, and dropped-pitch third strikes that result in a base.”
    The time has indeed come.
    “Expand the regular season roster to thirty players. Admittedly, this favors higher payroll teams, but it’s already proven that high payroll doesn’t equate to championships. I’m not fond of double-headers landing teams with depleted rosters.”
    Ehh. Maybe 26 — the game has evolved where two long men might be necessary, but otherwise, I don’t see how it makes much of a difference. Double-headers are too rare nowadays anyway.
    “Eliminate the September roster expansion.”
    I think for non-playoff teams, the expansion serves as a very useful tool, so I wouldn’t support this, unless it was to limit the expansion to 30 or 35 players.
    “Return the height of the mound to 15 inches.”
    Agreed that pitchers are due a rule change in their favor. No 20-game winners in either league? Are you serious? I’m not looking for a return to 1968 or anything, but clearly they need a break.
    “Set a minimum team salary threshold.”
    This should be a no-brainer, considering revenue sharing and a luxury tax. Even if it is anti-capitalistic, baseball’s already gone far, far away from that basis of financial decision-making.
    “Eliminate fan-based input into “official MLB” awards.”
    Heck yes! And there needs to be some kind of a test for members of the press to be awarded voting privileges for things like Hank Aaron, MVP, Cy Young, etc. Nothing asking their philosophies about the awards or anything (that’s part of the fun), but some basic knowledge about the relative importance and relevance of various statistics to on-field performance. There are some absolute dolts writing and talking about baseball who can vote for these awards (here’s looking at you, Joe Morgan, Tim McCarver, Bill Plaschke).

    Paul SF October 29, 2006, 11:31 pm
  • quo, you got it…zero tolerance for all rule breakers, pine tar on bats, pine tar on pitchers, spitters, steroids, corked bats, you name it…hard to enforce retro-actively, although i’d say go for it…to be fair though, they’d need to subject every single major league player to the appropriate controlled testing…let’s say, TOMORROW!!, including your team buddy…nobody’s exempt…still ok with it?…
    …paul, i’m a big wakefield fan…one of the sox i actually “like”, so i can appreciate the hit by pitch problem, but it’s hard to legislate intent, by pitcher or hitter, so this one’s tough to resolve…i still say a pitcher throwing behind a hitter should be a no-no, coupled with some penalty for hitting batters within the same game…if umpires would enforce the batter’s box properly, pitchers would have more room to pitch inside…
    …way too much passion about awards, but understood, if your player is on the short end of it…unless the results are determined more by objective results [i.e. stats], and less on subjective [voting] criteria, we will have outcomes that invite criticism and debate…i’d hate to see a bcs-type alternative, since that method depends significantly on humans voting, but there may be a way to more clearly define statistical criteria unique to the particular award that will more satisfactorily decide the outcome…

    dc October 30, 2006, 12:19 am
  • I think Interleague play has some interest for fans but it should be limited to a home/away series with specific pair-ups. Only 6 interleague games a year for each team. There are natural rivalries that should make very interesting games. In order for this to work, Arizona or Colorado needs to move to the AL West – for argument sake let us say it is Colorodo.
    Then you could have the following fixed matchups each year:
    The fist set are the natural ones – no one would argue that these teams are or should be natural rivals:
    NYY NYM
    White Sox Cubs
    LAA Dodgers
    Oak SF
    KC St. Louis
    Baltimore Washington
    Texas Houston
    Clevelend Cincinnati
    Tampa Bay Florida
    Twins Milwaukee
    Colorado Arizona
    Then there are those that could become rivals if this was a permanent set up:
    Detroit Pitt
    Toronto Phila
    Boston Atlanta
    Seattle San Diego
    The Boston/Atlanta rivalry might be interesting since the Boston Braves moved to Atlanta – any simmering resentment from you Boston fans?
    Also, I would have it all take place in a single week in June or the first week in July. Maybe the week before the all-star break. Late enough in the season when interest is at a peak but early enough to not overly influence the playoffs and standings.

    bronxborn October 30, 2006, 1:35 am
  • dc, Do you really think no Red Sox player has been tested? I admit, it’s possible with the random screenings that the players you might suspect of wrongdoing haven’t been screened. But they’ve been tested just like the Yankees, Dodgers, Pirates, Royals, Cubs…etc. In short, nobody’s exempt NOW. I went back and read my comment, and I found nothing indicating that I believed it should only apply to Yankee players. Reading again…nope. Nothing. Snark aside, you constantly assume things of me that simply aren’t true.
    Also, my comment was meant on the sarcastic side. Honestly, if you can delude yourself into thinking that Sheffield and Giambi did not know what they were taking (or that it isn’t still their responsibility if they didn’t know), then I’m going to “believe” that Rogers had mud and rosin on his hand. It’s as simple as that. Call it a wash. Call it even, even though it’s not.
    In all honesty, I believe Sheffield cheated. I believe Giambi cheated. I believe Rogers cheated. We’ll never agree on the severity of their breakage of the rules of the game. I think it’s clear that a little pine tar on the hand is a little less than steroids and HGH to bulk yourself up for several years. Perhaps that’s just me. And that’s fine. No “proof” that Sheffield and Giambi cheated? Okay. Even if that is true, where’s the incontrivertible proof that Rogers cheated? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Perhaps in both cases, this is beating a dead horse. The one I’m beating is pumped full of steroids and HGH, but that’s besides the point, maybe.

    Quo October 30, 2006, 5:47 am
  • Umpires should enforce the time rules relating to pitchers and batters. No rule change needed, just enforcement. One of my biggest pet peeves, this one.

    SF October 30, 2006, 6:50 am
  • “Umpires should enforce time rules”
    SF: Totally agree with you on this one. A pItcher that dawdles and a batter that has some ridiculous 10-part plate ritual who likes to call time after six seconds makes me furious.
    Batter comes out of the on deck circle.
    Batter undoes velcro on gloves.
    Batter redoes velcro on one glove, then the other.
    Batter adjusts position of elbow pad.
    Batter taps dirt off cleats with bat.
    Batter checks position of the label in his grip.
    Batter steps to plate.
    Batter digs in back foot.
    Batter puts hand down to show he’s finally ready.
    Pitcher shakes off three pitches from the catcher.
    Batter calls time.
    Ump grants time.
    Batter undoes velcro on gloves.
    ARRGH.

    attackgerbil October 30, 2006, 7:51 am
  • HBP: I have to admit being strict on this one. Most HBPs – the overwhelming majority – are by accident. Automatically ejecting a pitcher after two is arbitrary and doesn’t resolve the problem. The problem is intentional beaning, and I’ve always felt that ejection is too light a punishment for this. My recommendation is that intentional beaning should mean an automatic home run, not just an award of first base.

    Ump October 30, 2006, 8:52 am
  • quo,…i agree that substance abuse may not be on the same scale as a pitcher rubbing up a baseball as far as severity, but in each case, it’s breaking a rule in order to gain an unfair competetive edge…in that sense [only], it’s hard to tell them apart…but it’s that exact lackadaisical attitude and inconsistent application of the rules [any rule], that has gotten baseball into the pinch their in right now…the guys in charge of our game proved that they have no backbone to address alleged rules violators when they had the [potential] evidence right in front of them on national television…
    …i’m glad to hear you agree that enforcing the rules is important, but you can’t go back retroactively because in each case the evidence no longer exists…in each case you mentioned, if the evidence did exist, baseball’s willingness to look the other way is shameful…the umpires never did examine rogers…he was allowed to simply wash his hands and go on with the game…
    …in the other case you mentioned, some sort of evidence and/or confessions have been alleged to exist, but baseball has done nothing about it…a fellow poster on this site told me recently that it’s because baseball would be obligated to punish as many as half the players [i believe that was curt shilling's and others estimate of the number of cheaters]…it’s not inconceivable then, that curt may have been talking about some of his own teammates in that 50%, although granted there is no evidence to support his estimate…
    …so that’s the reason for my sarcasm…baseball has no interest in enforcing their own rules, because it would apparently hurt them, there’s no interest in helping make the game better…now that’s criminal…

    dc October 30, 2006, 9:01 am
  • My point about retroactive punishments was not serious. At this point, there’s nothing the league can do about Rogers, or Sheffield/Giambi/Bonds for that matter. I think it is clear that they’re not going to go forward in the correct direction as far as all of that is concerned. My point, and you may or may not have said this dc, I don’t remember, is about all the Yankee fans calling for punishment on Rogers/replays of games/etc. If we did that, there’d be some playoff appearances/division titles that would need to be taken away from the Yankees. Again, not saying you said that, but the point is is that if the league did go back and do that with Rogers, where does it end?
    Honestly, this is where I’m somewhat proud of Frank Robinson, a la the Brendon Donnely incident. Stuck to his guns and requested the umpires check his hand. Did it possibly backfire on his own players? Maybe. But he felt it didn’t have a place in the game and acted accordingly. A manager observing a pitcher using an illegal edge and taking appropriate action? Absurd. MLB dropped the ball on this, no doubt. The umpires have some ‘splainin to do. But personally, Tony La Russa not taking a hard line on it was the most telling thing of all from that whole mess.

    Quo October 30, 2006, 9:22 am
  • And to be fair, I’m sure there were some A’s fans requesting a recount as well, so to speak.

    Quo October 30, 2006, 9:23 am
  • I think all of us should just acknowledge that we root for cheaters. I have long since assimilated the idea that a member of the 2004 Red Sox probably juiced at some point. Perhaps not that season, who knows, but I am sure someone on that team was artificially enhanced at some point. Since I don’t know who that/those player(s) is/are or was/were (and throwing out names haphazardly is something that we here at YFSF have tended to avoid, rightfully, though I have some suspicions), I don’t know what else there is to say. But I don’t have my head in the sand, and I imagine most SFs don’t either.
    YFs are in a little different situation, and I don’t envy it. YFs have at least two players on their team who are under clouds: Sheffield has admitted taking steroids (his “lack of knowledge” about what he was doing is a farcical excuse), and Giambi has, by most reasonable inferences, confessed. So the explicit knowledge of “who did it” versus the general vagueness of “someone probably did it” puts SFs at an emotional advantage. And I don’t mean that in some kind of superior tone; I mean it in terms of not having bubbles burst about specific guys, and not having to make a very difficult decision about “how” you root for a player. I don’t envy the task, honestly. I hope I never find out who specifically on the 2004 Sox actually took illegal substances (though I imagine I might someday). I fully admit there must have been someone. Personally, I want to remain in the dark (beyond this assumption that someone had to have juiced at some point), if only to protect what is likely a naive and childish idea: that the Sox did it unassisted. As long as I don’t know WHO, I don’t have to render what would be a very sad judgment about legitimacy. I hope that I wouldn’t use the “well everyone was doing it, so what’s the diff?” excuse. But I don’t know. The lack of oversight by the league, the lack of interest by the PA in a good policy to ensure a level field over the past 20+ years, all this has put us fans in a bad situation. The steroid policy (and lack thereof) has left only the fans to bear the emotional baggage of its weakness.

    SF October 30, 2006, 9:30 am
  • All good points SF. Obviously I throw those three names around when this type of argument comes up, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that a Trot Nixon or a Johnny Damon or even a Jason Varitek sneaks onto that list someday as well. I hope not, and you’re right, YFs are in a bad spot with that, and we could be someday as well. All the more reason, had he hit the market, to avoid Sheff like the plague.
    Personally, just as a baseball fan, I was nearly ecstatic (this is possibly pretty sad of me) when Sheff started coming up in the steroid discussion, and disappointed because Giambi seems like an okay enough guy and was an exciting hitter to watch in Oakland (kind of like Hafner is now, and let’s hope that’s where the similarities between those two end).
    In the end, YFs (and us SFs should that cloud find us) can at least be secure in the fact that with FA and all, basically any fans are rooting for laundry anyway.

    Quo October 30, 2006, 9:44 am
  • Ump: I would agree that my original suggestion regarding assigning a given number of HBP resulting in ejection being set is non-sensical.
    Regarding your idea of an intentional beaning resulting in a home run: I think that intent really doesn’t need to be part of the formula, but I like the message.

    attackgerbil October 30, 2006, 9:48 am
  • quo, right on with larussa…he got credit for “taking the high road”, but in reality he was sly enough to realize what a collosal hypocrite he’d look like in the end…
    …as for your question, where does it end?…right there with kenny rogers…i may not have said it, but they should at least have checked him and enforced the rules…otherwise they give the perception that they will continue to look the other way while players blatantly break the rules…i just don’t like the message that sent…there probably would be some resistance to going back to correct any possible past wrongs, because no tangible physical evidence exists to warrant it…just like they can’t undo bonds homers, or kick gaylord perry out of the hall of fame…besides, what a mess that would create…but if that’s what needs to be done to send a message [like the "black sox scandal], i got no problem with it…instead though, i’m advocating that going forward they enforce the damn rules as they were intended…if players are cheating on the field, punish them…if there are substance cheaters, punish them…if it means half my team, so be it…
    …i’m with you on robinson, a real class guy…maybe he should be the commish…

    dc October 30, 2006, 9:59 am
  • …great post sf…it is a real bummer to think our heroes [and worse, our kids heroes] may not be the fine upstanding gentlemen we wish they were…but if the estimates are true, it is likely that we all have been rooting for cheaters for some time now…i’m trying not to agonize over it too much…i still love to watch and talk about the sport…like you say, i want to stay naive…hang in there man, if the sox did win with a little help, rest assured that every playoff team in the past 10 years probably had the same help…so, no advantage…like my twisted logic?…if you can’t tell, i’m really pissed off at baseball [including the players assoc. for not fixing this problem]…it’s us that it’s hurting…that you even have to think about it with regard to it taking the edge off the sox win pisses me off more…

    dc October 30, 2006, 10:12 am
  • I’ve been on the DL for the past couple of days, so excuse the slow response to this.
    Realignment: The increase in teams competing for playoff spots has made the sport infinitely more interesting. Why do away with that? I’d try a bit less of an unbalanced schedule. The Yanks and Sox don’t need to play 19 times.
    Eliminate interleague: This is both popular and profitable. I would reduce the number of interleague games, not eliminate altogether.
    Outlaw body armor: Sounds good. Isn’t this mostly done, though? Only players grandfathered in can keep the big stuff. I assume this does not go for shin guards.
    Two hit batsman = ejection: I hate rules that reduce an umpire’s discretion.
    Umpires can not throw pitchers out of a game for throwing at a batter without hitting them (i.e., “intent”, or throwing behind after a warning): See above. And this makes no sense to me.
    Give the NL the DH or take it away from the AL: Don’t we want their to be SOME difference between the leagues? I like that they play a different brand of ball. It’s part of what makes the WS so interesting.
    The best record gets home field in the WS: YES!
    Introduce instant replay: Instant replay is the bane of my existence. Human error is part of the game.
    Expand the regular season roster to thirty players: Ownership is NEVER going to agree to this kind of salary escalation. And do we really need that many guys? Quality is already a problem. Who’s gonna be #30 when TLong is ALREADY in your 24?
    Eliminate the September roster expansion: Why, exactly? A good way to give regulars a break and younglings a taste of the bigs.
    Set a minimum team salary threshold. In conjunction with subsidy from the tax—yes.
    Eliminate fan-based input into “official MLB” awards: YES
    Raise the mound: Why? Scoring is fun. If Jeff Weaver can shut down the AL champs, maybe pitchers need no further advantage

    YF October 30, 2006, 10:23 am
  • Gerb – that velcro thing used to drive me Crazy too.

    Brad October 30, 2006, 10:25 am
  • I don’t lose sleep over who did what with steroids, HGH, or any other magical growth tonic in years past. I just don’t care much. I think it’s because I have always thought baseball to be a somewhat dirty game, and I’ve always held the assumption that most athletes will go to significant lengths to get and edge. There is testing now, and perhaps it is inadequate, but I’m glad steps have been taken. I was surprised there were no changes in the CBA regarding testing to make it more rigorous, but I’m pretty content with what has happened so far in this regard. With the church that is the National Football League basically laughing in the face of this issue and every sportswriter and congressman going Salem on baseball’s ass while giving footballers a wink and a nod this whole baseball fracas feels silly. Hopefully, baseball will enforce their current rules fairly and expeditiously, be proactive about dealing with the chemistry race, and more people will feel comfortable in putting at least part of this era behind us.
    I agree with SF that the player’s association and the ownership cabal bear the blame for not taking a stronger position, but attendance is up, so they won’t suffer.

    attackgerbil October 30, 2006, 10:39 am
  • ” … [A] batter that has some ridiculous 10-part plate ritual who likes to call time after six seconds makes me furious.”
    This is only slightly related, and I must be getting my anti-Jeter stuff out now in anticipation of all the man love that will take place a month from now, but it really annoys me how Jeter sticks his hand up as if calling time until he’s perfectly set in the batter’s box. Don’t know why this aggravates me so much — maybe it fits in with the entitlement/arrogance Yankee meme.

    Anonymous October 30, 2006, 11:02 am
  • YF: glad to hear you’re feeling better.
    Realignment: increase in teams competing for playoff spots has made the sport infinitely more interesting
    Debatable, but I can see your point. However, with two divisions, each sending two teams, you would be less likely to end up with the atrocity that happened with San Diego last year.
    The Yanks and Sox don’t need to play 19 times
    Totally true.
    interleague: This is both popular and profitable
    I still think it is an abomination.
    Outlaw body armor: Sounds good. Isn’t this mostly done, though?
    I didn’t know this. Good.
    I assume this does not go for shin guards.
    No problem with shin guards here.
    Two hit batsman = ejection: I hate rules that reduce an umpire’s discretion.
    Already offered a mea culpa on this and the other umpire idea.
    the DH..Don’t we want their to be SOME difference between the leagues? I like that they play a different brand of ball.
    Then get rid of interleague play; save it for the WS.
    Instant replay is the bane of my existence. Human error is part of the game.
    Until this year I agreed with you. Now, with home runs at the poles at the very least, I think they have to.
    Expand regular season roster…..Quality is already a problem.
    I liked this idea less the more I thought about it
    Eliminate the September roster expansion: Why, exactly?
    Too many players when battling for the playoff position. Dance with who brung ya, baby.
    Raise the mound: Why? Scoring is fun.
    I’m a pitching fan.
    If Jeff Weaver can shut down the AL champs, maybe pitchers need no further advantage
    Point taken. All those damn cheating ex-Yankee formerly sucky thuggish high-strung castoffs throwing playoff gems are really wrinkling my britches.

    attackgerbil October 30, 2006, 11:05 am
  • Anonymous: To be quite frank, it was specifically Jeter that I was referencing with that hand in the air part of that velcro. It just bugs me. And I’m a Yankee fan. Maybe it’s still too early; I’ve been up since 4 but haven’t had my coffee yet.

    attackgerbil October 30, 2006, 11:07 am
  • Nobody has mentioned the unmentionable: scantily clad cheerleaders!! A must-have, as far as I am concerned.

    SF October 30, 2006, 11:13 am
  • SF: that’s the best idea I’ve heard all day.

    attackgerbil October 30, 2006, 11:25 am
  • Clearly, SF. Probably why it was unmentioned. :) We all know the neccessity of it.

    Quo October 30, 2006, 11:26 am
  • Sorry, AG. Anon was me. Not sure what happened there.

    Paul SF October 30, 2006, 11:33 am
  • Seems like Paul made it pretty clear he has a Yankee-related hangup, dc, and that he wasn’t just picking a fight. I didn’t read his comment as all that antagonistic, but more that it was Paul just doing some pre-emptive (and, as he admits himself, possibly misplaced) Jeter-bashing. I saw it as tongue-lightly-in-cheek. But if Paul corrects my interpretation than yes, I agree with your comment, that it falls in the same antagonistic territory as your earlier one. No double standards.

    SF October 30, 2006, 12:25 pm
  • Sorry. I said rule changes, and obviously it wouldn’t be a rule change, so much as enforcing a rule that’s broken all the time.

    Quo October 30, 2006, 12:37 pm
  • …paul, the little “jeterism” with the hand annoys me too..but, i think you may have gone a little overboard suggesting that “…maybe it fits in with the entitlement/arrogance Yankee meme.” …annoying habit of yours perhaps?…
    …jeter probably picked up that quirk somewhere along the way, and may not even realize he’s doing it…nothing more sinister, i can assure you…
    …i wonder if sf will be as indignant with you as he was with me earlier in this thread:
    “dc, is it possible that you could make one single comment without trying to derail an interesting and intelligent thread by starting a flame war with SFs? Or is it just reflexive and you can’t control yourself?”
    darn it, there i going being all sensitive…

    dc October 30, 2006, 1:02 pm
  • Honestly, with the Jeter hand thing, it’s one of the things that makes us feel closer to those players we root for. We see it all the time. Expect it. Annoyed by it. Or it’s endearing. I’m sure there’s varied levels of annoyance/endearment when it comes to Papi’s spit on hands/clap them routine from all spectrums of fanbases. Manny’s readjusting of the helmet while looking down when he gets in the box. A-Rod’s “Imabouttopissmypantsinfright” expression.
    As far as it slowing the game down, absolutely. Ridiculous. Where do you draw the line? Make sure they get that crap done in the on-deck circle? Baseball players, and sports figures in general are superstitious folks. Personally, I’ll take the extra second of Papi with his routine if it means he’s more comfortable up there. I’m guessing it might be the same with Jeter. Without his “time-out” hand raise, he might not feel himself up there. Should these things affect them? No. Would it neccessarily with the rule changes? I don’t know.
    I’m all for making the game a little quicker, eliminating some of the unneccessary things that take up time. But where do we draw the line? Where the F do we start? Maybe stop the practice of relievers taking warmups on the field. They’ve just thrown a fair bit of pitches off the mound in the bullpen. They’re not ready? Don’t bring them in yet. Your groundskeeping crews will make those mounds/plates extremely close to those on the field. Only difference will be a hitter standing at the plate/crowd noise. And the crowd noise will be subdued during the warmups anyway.

    Quo October 30, 2006, 1:31 pm
  • Jeter’s handwave never bothered me. Nor Papi’s spit/slap. They don’t take time away from the game, or stall anything out, as far as I can tell. Nomar’s OCD glove-strap-jive doesn’t either – he does it in the course of getting ready, and I have never, ever seen a pitcher wait on Nomar. What stalls games are pitchers who step off the mound and wander around the infield after every pitch, or batters who call time way too frequently, who take forever getting back in the box. Guys like Jose Contreras, who take literally forever between tosses, are the major culprits. One of the joys of watching Pedro pitch in his prime (beyond the genius, of course) was that it was fluid and quick. Same thing with Greg Maddux. These guys (OK, they are among the best ever, so maybe there’s a correlation here that shouldn’t be extended to mere mortals) work/ed quick.

    SF October 30, 2006, 1:44 pm
  • …just so i get this straight sf, you think i was being antagonistic, but paul was just kidding?….are you kidding?…that’s always the cop-out response when you guys get caught in a double standard…aren’t we all just kidding with our anti-[insert team] comments?…or do just sf’s get a pass on that one, cause that’s how it seems…

    dc October 30, 2006, 1:56 pm
  • DC: If Paul wasn’t making a joke (which is how I read it) then I am wrong. I asked him to clarify. I didn’t read yours as a joke, and you admitted as much, basically. Can we get off this subject? It’s a total distraction. I think we both agree about the antagonism factor and how we should avoid dropping bombs just to get a rise out of people, and to reiterate I have no interest in giving anyone a free pass.

    SF October 30, 2006, 2:25 pm
  • FYI – my computer is back-posting comments. Either that or the Gerb’s computer is still daylight-savings deficient. Anyone else experiencing this oddity?

    SF October 30, 2006, 2:27 pm
  • I agree AG and SF. The part of slowing the game up on a pitcher’s side is tripley excruciating when you consider the guys that do it the most are the ones that stink and get slower and slower the worse they are pitching (i.e. Steve Trachsel and Joe Blanton and Curt Schilling!!!! Booyah! joking about the last guy).

    walein October 30, 2006, 2:42 pm
  • I admit that I am being petty by criticizing plate mannerisms. I’ve had my coffee and I’m in a better mood.
    Were it that there were more pitchers that approach the game like Pedro and Maddux. I love the quote from Vin Scully, “Bob Gibson pitches as though he’s double parked.”

    attackgerbil October 30, 2006, 3:00 pm
  • You guys’ crack me up with all the “I’m sorry(s)” I reading on here lately. We’re not supposed to get along, by nature. If you’re offended, well, too bad. We all hold different opinions on the other’s respective team and the players on it, and we’re free to express them on this site. In spite of the double standard we all live by on here, it’s starting to get crazy with the “you’ve hurt my feelings” and “you’re attacking me” and “you’re not being fair to…”. What are we, Fox?

    Brad October 30, 2006, 3:51 pm
  • Screw you, Brad.
    ;-)

    SF October 30, 2006, 3:54 pm
  • See, that’s what I’m talking about!

    Brad October 30, 2006, 3:55 pm
  • probably a stupid a question, but i’d like to know others thoughts…
    what if there was a league that allowed performance enhancing drugs? would you watch?
    i would. obviously this league would have to take place on a small island that allows such things.

    stem cell October 30, 2006, 4:06 pm
  • what if there was a league that allowed performance enhancing drugs?
    Wait, there isn’t one?

    SF October 30, 2006, 4:11 pm
  • It would be great if there was just one league where you were allowed to use the juice. But they would also have to have landmines and snipers, and there would be a word for those stadiums my friends…THUNDERDOMES!!!!

    walein October 30, 2006, 4:56 pm
  • I don’t know whether I was joking, but I was talking about myself when I talked about the “arrogant/entitlement meme.” It’s an impression I have of the Yankees, particularly of Jeter, rightly or wrongly, and Jeter’s hand in the air, seemingly saying, “I’ll let you know when I’m ready to play the game, Ump,” bothers me because of those preconceptions/stereotypes.
    Anyway, I’m kind of with Brad. The generalizations about what all fans are like/aren’t like get tiresome, but what’s the point if we can’t be antagonistic about the teams we all have a great deal of passion for and against. As long as it’s not over-the-top ridiculous.

    Paul SF October 30, 2006, 5:00 pm
  • Can one of the players be called He Hate Me?

    Paul SF October 30, 2006, 5:00 pm
  • …brad, you’re the biggest baby on the site…what are you talking about?…if you sox fans weren’t so damn sensitive, we wouldn’t need to apologize so much…uh, now i’m confused…am i kidding…help!!!!???…i’m ssssoooorrrrryyyy….

    he hate me October 30, 2006, 8:15 pm
  • …uh, that was a joke…

    dc October 30, 2006, 8:31 pm
  • as per Bud Selig, baseball is in its’ golden age due to three divisions, a wild acrd and interleague play. How about eliminating the dh and count a ball if the pitcher throws to first base to pick off a runner. imagine the extra strategy that will make baseball even more exciting!

    Bill Gorman December 25, 2006, 9:20 am

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