Friday, September 21, 2018

John Smoltz Has a Pretty Damn Good Idea To Fix Major League Baseball

Let me preface this post by saying that John Smoltz is not my favorite person, nor was he my favorite player while he was with the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves. I think he is cocky and arrogant, but he is also one of the smarter minds in Major League Baseball despite it all. I am willing to give credit where credit is due, and Smoltz had a pretty damn good idea to “fix” and revolutionize baseball for the better. Smoltz wants Major League Baseball to adopt a similar schedule and policy that is already in place for Minor League Baseball, especially for the postseason.

Smoltz had many ideas actually to fix baseball, but the idea that most caught my eye was his idea to make September baseball and the postseason pennant races meaningful again. The way it is now basically every race for the postseason is all but decided and has been for quite some time now. The days of going down to the last day of the season to decide a winner seem to be all but over in Major League Baseball and Smoltz has an idea to change that by implementing first-half and second-half winners.

Smoltz wants to eliminate interleague play and go back to every team playing the same schedule, thus in the process dumping rivalry series with the hopes of bringing back pennant races again. Smoltz hopes that with this change the fans and the game would see more drama come to the game while the number of teams tanking for draft picks and such could also go down. This isn’t a new concept, the whole split-season schedule thing, as MLB did this back in 1981 after the baseball strike, so the idea is not as out of left field as you may think. Minor League Baseball is already doing it and it could create a lot more interest at the Major League level if this was to be implemented.

If MLB adopted this proposal the Oakland Athletics would be playing the Houston Astros to determine the winner of the American League West as Houston had the better record in the first half, while the A’s had the better record in the second half. The Tampa Bay Rays, who aren’t going to make the playoffs in 2018, would face off with the Boston Red Sox. The St. Louis Cardinals would face the Chicago Cubs and the Colorado Rockies would face the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Los Angeles Dodgers would be sitting at home come October. What happens if you win both halves? You get a first-round bye. Simple enough.

This would change the whole dynamic of the game, and not just the playoff pennant races. Why would teams sell off as heavily at the trade deadlines if they thought they had a chance to compete in the second half? Also, why would teams continue to push to win 110 games or more in a season when there is no advantage to it other than a possible first-round bye? September call-ups would be all-the-more interesting with most teams still locked into a potential second half pennant race and the overall number of games being played would have to be dropped from 162 games to 154 games, something the MLB Players Association wanted anyway.

The players win, the owners win, the league wins, and the fans win. So, what’s stopping this from happening?

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)