The Washington Times-Herald

July 18, 2013

Come on baseball, just make up your mind

The Washington Times-Herald

---- — It’s time for baseball to get its act together.

I know commissioner Bud Selig says he finds no real problems with Major League Baseball as it now stands. Let me suggest a different opinion.

For starters, how much longer can baseball continue with two leagues not playing the same game. This is an old discussion, I know, but yet one that Selig sees nothing in but smooth sailing. I dislike the designated hitter. I suppose it’s fine for youth leagues and high schools. Colleges need it because they have no idea which league their players will be competing until they are drafted.

That collegiate problem should be easy to solve. Of course, it isn’t because the designated hitter is not an issue of rules or style. It is simply a labor issue. And I don’t blame the players for taking that stance. However, that doesn’t solve the situation.

Do I think the designated hitter will be gone? It should be, but it won’t. The likely result is the National League adopting the designated hitter within the next 15 to 20 years. I haven’t heard of many National League-types saying they can’t wait for the change to come. Yet, I don’t see how baseball can continue playing two totally different games.

Perhaps the National Football League could allow the NFC to only have the one-point conversion, with the AFC having both one and two-point options. I really can’t see the difference, and football fans would certainly accept it.

Secondly, baseball needs to decide if the All-Star game is an exhibition, or if it is a win at any cost game to decide who gets home field advantage in the World Series.

The rules for team selection, as poor as that is, is to determine a roster for an exhibition game. Every team must be represented, managers try to get every player in the game. The approach sounds like when the game began in the 1930s.

But we all know that no longer exists. National and American League teams play each other daily. Despite not having the same rules, the leagues bounce back and forth faster than a new ball in the middle of a pack of puppies.

There’s also really no secrets anymore when the best of one league plays the other. With each league playing daily, home fans have many more opportunities to see the best from the other league. That’s for those attending the games. Television broadcasts every game played. It’s up to the fans to decide how many they have to see.

The All-Star game as an exhibition was played to give fans the chance to see the stars of the other league play against the other. That is no longer a necessity. It’s already being done.

So, if the game is to decide home field advantage, why do we need nearly three dozen players on each roster? Why does everyone have to play? Why can’t we take the best 25, no matter how many are from one team, and let the managers play the game to win, which is really the reason the game now is contested on the field?

I can’t wait for the rules to change to keep the starters on the bench until the last three innings when then game is supposed to really count. Now that doesn’t make much sense. So it should fit right in.

Please baseball. Make up your mind. Is baseball one game or two? Are we playing the game as an exhibition for fun, or is this midsummer nightmare something else entirely? Either way is fine with me.

— Gregg Simms, Times Herald