Sunday, June 9, 2013

Major League Baseball Needs Change

Baseball is a dying sport.  It is losing popularity in the United States to others sports, such as lacrosse and soccer.  It cannot compete with football, yet the MLB remains stubborn and refuses to change because of traditions.  However, baseball will have to change if it wants to remain relevant in the eyes of the public.  Here are my proposals:

1. Build Indoor Stadiums
Nobody wants to go to a game when it is 40 degrees and raining.  In the northern states, the weather is nasty for the first month of the season, and it is miserable for the fans and players.  When northern teams are building new stadiums, they should follow the model of the Milwaukee Brewers and build stadiums with retractable roofs.  This would make it more comfortable for players and fans, in addition to eliminating game delays (see Indoor Stadiums).  Although this is not a short-term solution, it could done over time.

2.  Shorten the Season
The MLB season runs for seven months, and fans lose interest by the end of the regular season.  By September, many people have turned their attention to football and could care less about baseball.  In my opinion, the MLB should shorten the regular season by a month (see Shortening the MLB Season).  This would mean that the World Series would be played at the end of September, so the weather would still be nice.  Furthermore, it would make the regular season more competitive, because teams would have fewer games to secure a playoff spot.

3. Instant Replay
As I stated in Instant Replay in Baseball, it is time for baseball to implement instant replay.  Follow the NFL system and give both managers two challenges for the first eight innings.  For the ninth inning and beyond, have all challenges be initiated by an umpire in the booth.  Baseball is a slow-paced game and having instant replay is not going to affect the speed of the game significantly.  If you could get the call right, why wouldn't you?

4. Salary Cap
How are teams like the Brewers and Royals supposed to compete with teams like the Yankees and Red Sox?  Small market teams cannot compete with these large market teams, because they cannot afford to spend truck-loads of money on free agents.  Moreover, these small market teams cannot afford to pay their owns stars and end up losing them to free agency.  Major League Baseball should implement a salary cap, because it would narrow the gap between teams and make the league more competitive.  In turn, it would make baseball more enjoyable to watch for fans (see Salary Cap in Baseball and Salary Cap in Baseball: Part II).

Ultimately, Major League Baseball is going to have to make some changes, in order to stay popular.  We live in the 21st Century, and they must change with the times.  They cannot remain stagnate and expect to stay relevant.  We live in a new era with new capabilities.  Why not embrace it?

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