Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Baseball Show: The Greed Factor

That was a great post about realignment, Rick. I started responding to it and found my long-winded self writing an entire blog. Here goes.

Sports franchise owners obviously believe Gordon Grekko's philosophy that greed is good. Heaven forbid that they should ever wait to add new franchises until it is good for the game. There are some obvious factors to consider after all, such as arithmetic (duh) and, in the case of a huge land mass like North America, geography – with the added element of time zones when TV is taken into account.

Then there are continuity, tradition, fan interest, and just plain common sense. The NHL recently did the unthinkable – they actually put some thought into the realignment necessitated by the Atlanta Thrashers' recent move to Winnipeg. And several owners and general managers did something even more unthinkable – they put the league's and the fans' interests ahead of their own. Yikes! What is the world coming too?

Speaking of hockey, perhaps the NHL, whose All-Star game is deadly dull, should adopt baseball's accidentally brilliant strategy of awarding home field advantage to the conference that wins the All-Star game.

For me a basic problem with so many damn teams in all the sports is that you want to build and nurture rivalries but you also want to give the fans a chance to see all the stars from time to time. But you can't fairly do that in baseball. First, it goes against tradition, something that Selig has buggered up pretty nicely, and second, in baseball the teams don't play other teams once, they play three or four games in a row.

In a completely fair world, teams should play other teams as often as do their rivals. But you can hardly have everybody playing all of the teams in the other league (to keep things equal) three or four times, there would be no time left to play the teams in your own league. Again – too many flipping teams!

It's really too bad that so many things have to act like pendulums, swinging so far each way. In hockey for decades you had just six teams and many top players spent their careers in the minors. Then the NHL moved much too quickly to 12 and you had a lot of bums playing in the league. The players were treated like slaves and then thanks to expansion (and briefly the WHA) the players had all the power. The majority of NHL players are from small towns in Canada and almost none of the people who live there could ever afford to go see the kids play after they get drafted.

In baseball you had just two out of 16 teams in the post-season and just one round of playoffs. It was downright silly in the early 1950s when three teams from the same city (New York/Brooklyn) played in four out of five series. Now you have a bunch of teams in the playoffs and they go into October. (Hockey goes into June now!)

We all need to go MLB's website and suggest changes (or changes back) to the game. Then they should have a draw of the names of all the people who sent in suggestions. Winners would get free memberships in a very exclusive club – the Bud Selig fan club.

My first suggestion for MLB ... erect statues like the one at the right outside every major league ballpark.

1 comment:

Rick Blechta said...

The thing I hate the most about the way the game is being run nowadays is the scheduling. To me, it just makes no sense. Teams play their division rivals far too much and further games have been taken away by inter-league play. The result is that teams don’t play enough with the rest of their league to make the two-league system sensible. It’s crazy. If baseball has two separate leagues, they really need to keep them separate, so they can duke it out.

This is where the greed factor comes into play: inter-league series usually bring in more fans to see teams and players from the other league. And all teams want that money. (I “usually” because if the visiting team from the other league is from the bottom level, the extra reason to attend a game disappears.)

Bottom line: I think that Selig and his cronies have done real harm to the game by their silly, ill-thought-out changes. Moving the Astros to the AL has putting baseball right back where it was when they stupidly let in only 2 teams in ’97 and unbalanced both leagues. And now they have some majorly pissed off fans in Houston. That’s a terrific thing you’ve done there, isn’t it, Bug Selig?