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What would you do if you were MLB Commissioner for a Day


Matthew Lenz
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Recently, ESPN MLB “experts” came up with eight things they would do if they were commissioner for a day:

1. Shorten the season

2. expand and realign divisions

3. Add a pitch clock

4. Robo Umps

5. End blackouts and loosen video restrictions

6. Allow trading of draft picks

7. Pay minor leaguers a living wage

8. Rethink the role of the commissioner.

Which so you agree with, which don’t you, and what would you add?

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  1. Yeah, 150G
  2. Nope.
  3. Yep, 18 sec.
  4. Nope.
  5. Absolutely.
  6. Not sure about that one. I'm really leary of tanking.
  7. Nope.
  8. Sounds like Tim Keown doesn't understand why there is a commissioner and wants a 3 party system. That's neat, but the owners are not going to give up their control to some sort of neutral arbitrator.
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3 minutes ago, bean5302 said:
  1. Yeah, 150G
  2. Nope.
  3. Yep, 18 sec.
  4. Nope.
  5. Absolutely.
  6. Not sure about that one. I'm really leary of tanking.
  7. Nope.
  8. Sounds like Tim Keown doesn't understand why there is a commissioner and wants a 3 party system. That's neat, but the owners are not going to give up their control to some sort of neutral arbitrator.

Why are you against paying minor leaguers a livable wage? I actually wrote this up last year…

 

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1. Bring in minor leaguers under the MLBPA umbrella and give them a livable wage. $50k for A/A+, $60k for AA, $75k for AAA. 

2. Shorten the season. Anywhere from 120-150 games. 

3. Double, if not triple the MLB minimum salary.

4. Strictly enforce a pitch clock

5. Implement universal DH and realign the divisions to spark more regional rivalries

6. Move the pitching mound back to generate more contact plays

7. Implement a hard salary cap and floor

8. Build baseball academies in cities across the US to spark more interest in the game 

9. Kids 15 and under are able to attend games for free

10. Lower years of control from 6 (wink wink actually 7) to 4. Players reach free agency earlier and sparks more interest in the offseason. 

11. Implement a max contract length (5 or 6 years) to prevent the albatross 10 year $350 million contracts for players in their 30s. 

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1. Keep 162 games

2. Expand, realign, and play a balanced schedule within each league; keep AL & NL separate

3. Enforce 20 second pitch clock - this is done in milb, but may prove difficult, but the 30-60 seconds is unnecessary

4. Keep the umpires - they are human and make about the same mistakes  as the players and managers

5. End blackouts and video restrictions

6. Allow trading of draft picks

7. Pay minor league players a living wage

8. Choose a commissioner interested in baseball (end h.s game doubleheaders and extra innings nonsense)

Those are my eight but I do think MLB & MLBPA should focus on % of $ paid to players.

Perhaps media money needs to be distributed more equitably, because local contracts create huge discrepancies, but this would require some difficult changes and is extremely unlikely. NFL shares all media but that is a different game.

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2 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

1. Bring in minor leaguers under the MLBPA umbrella and give them a livable wage. $50k for A/A+, $60k for AA, $75k for AAA. 

2. Shorten the season. Anywhere from 120-150 games. 

3. Double, if not triple the MLB minimum salary.

4. Strictly enforce a pitch clock

5. Implement universal DH and realign the divisions to spark more regional rivalries

6. Move the pitching mound back to generate more contact plays

7. Implement a hard salary cap and floor

8. Build baseball academies in cities across the US to spark more interest in the game 

9. Kids 15 and under are able to attend games for free

10. Lower years of control from 6 (wink wink actually 7) to 4. Players reach free agency earlier and sparks more interest in the offseason. 

11. Implement a max contract length (5 or 6 years) to prevent the albatross 10 year $350 million contracts for players in their 30s. 

What this guy said.  The only one I'm hesitant on is #2...but the rest?  I'm your wingman on this one Van.  All rock solid, good for the game ideas.

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1. I would not shorten the season because I personally like how long the season is, though this is totally selfish.

2. Somebody was posting on here the other day about realigning the divisions, and I like the idea of stoking rivalries by making sure that teams are actually in the same division as teams near enough to travel to away games. I imagine it would only add interest to the game if the Twins/Brewers had a rivalry similar to the Vikings/Packers, rather than being mostly irrelevant to each other.

3. Pitch clock is absolutely a must, and for all I know, it might be all we need to fix the problem of not enough balls in play. If pitchers can't rest their arms for a full minute between pitches, they can't throw as hard. This may create other problems, with pitchers possibly going hard anyway and getting injured, or pitching fewer innings than they already do, so it may also be necessary to limit number of pitchers on rosters or something like that.

4. I'm split on robo-umps. They'd increase the consistency of calls, but would be an aesthetic loss. Pitch framing would no longer be a defensive skill for catchers, which would diminish the depth of the game. As I recall, they're testing robo umps in the minors. I'd want to make sure all the bugs are worked out before doing this in the majors.

5. Blackouts and video restrictions are the biggest threat to cultivating the next generation of fans, and must be aggressively dealt with.

6. No opinion.

7. Pay them and house them. A living wage is great, but a living wage still isn't enough to keep paying for your Wichita apartment until your lease is up, while also paying rent on a new St. Paul apartment. By most calculations, a "living wage" assumes that you only need one place to live. A living wage won't keep MILB players from living out of their cars. At minimum, teams should eat the cost of players' existing leases when they bump them between levels. But really they should own lodging that players can use, at least while they're transitioning to a new city. Heck, they should just start building apartments right into the stadiums.

8. No opinion

 

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8 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

1. Bring in minor leaguers under the MLBPA umbrella and give them a livable wage. $50k for A/A+, $60k for AA, $75k for AAA. 

2. Shorten the season. Anywhere from 120-150 games. 

3. Double, if not triple the MLB minimum salary.

4. Strictly enforce a pitch clock

5. Implement universal DH and realign the divisions to spark more regional rivalries

6. Move the pitching mound back to generate more contact plays

7. Implement a hard salary cap and floor

8. Build baseball academies in cities across the US to spark more interest in the game 

9. Kids 15 and under are able to attend games for free

10. Lower years of control from 6 (wink wink actually 7) to 4. Players reach free agency earlier and sparks more interest in the offseason. 

11. Implement a max contract length (5 or 6 years) to prevent the albatross 10 year $350 million contracts for players in their 30s. 

I endorse this....with the addition of robot umpires. Probably in the 148-154 range for me on number of games.

I'd also blow up the draft and playoffs, but zero people would like the playoff changes at first. Zero.

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1. I'd shorten the season, but there's no way anyone would give up the money that comes with the 162 game schedule.

2. Definitely realign divisions (especially with universal DH) to promote more regional rivalries.

3. 15 second pitch clock.

4, Once tech is really figured out I'd have robo umps for sure. The strike zone is the strike zone, not what the ump feels like making it. (I also don't really believe in "pitch framing." That "stat" isn't really measuring what they say it is. It's just measuring how many times umps screw up.)

5. They're getting better at some loosening of video restrictions, but definitely need to get rid of blackouts and make it so their fans can see games.

6. Some sort of pick trading would be fun. If they're going back to 40 rounds I think they'd have to put some limits on it, but I like the idea of teams being able to move up if someone like Kumar Rocker starts falling a little like this year.

7. Don't know why anyone would be against this.

8. Commissioner is always going to be a puppet for the owners to be used to attempt to push more money into the owner's pockets and less into the player's. Never going to change.

9. I'd add a floor and cap for payrolls and have all media money pooled to allow every team to make the minimum and base the floor and cap on league revenues (50/50 split with players and owners like NFL).

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Make the ball 5-10% heavier. Pitchers throw with less velocity, breaking balls spin less, batter exit velocity decreases and HR are harder to hit. Foot speed becomes more important. Strikeouts and HR go down, athletic fielding plays and stolen bases go up.

 

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7 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

Make the ball 5-10% heavier. Pitchers throw with less velocity, breaking balls spin less, batter exit velocity decreases and HR are harder to hit. Foot speed becomes more important. Strikeouts and HR go down, athletic fielding plays and stolen bases go up.

 

Joe Ryan said the balls in the Olympics were lighter and had better grip, and should be used here. Also read somewhere that heavier balls could cause more injuries.

1. I would go to 154 but that is the lowest.

2. Sure

3. Yes

4. no on the Robo umps

5. Sure no blackouts. I don't have cable now so I am basically blacked out anyway.

6. My gut says yes, but with something like this the unintended consequences usually cause more or bigger problems to solve later.

7. I have no idea what a living wage is, so I can't say yes to that. I know they should be paid more, probably a bunch more, but if a first round high school kid signs a contract with a huge bonus and a low salary does that count? is if divided over years? Should a college kid with a wife and two kids moving across country get paid more than a singe guy? Just pay them more, don't set floors, because they will probably reduce the options of signing some one that is hurt or for just a short time.

8. I don't have an opinion on this one.

 

 

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1 hour ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

Also read somewhere that heavier balls could cause more injuries.

There is no data to support this assertion. Pitchers commonly train with weighted balls, if that was an injury risk they wouldn't. The ball weighs 5 ounces. My suggestion is increasing that to 5.5 ounces. A football weighs 15 ounces and NFL quarterbacks have a lower rate of throwing injuries than MLB pitchers.

A pitcher would probably like a ball that is lighter and has a better grip because he can get more spin and strike out batters more easily. Pitchers WILL NOT like a heavier ball that spins less. The idea isn't to make pitchers happy, it's to get us out of the "Home Run Derby" era of baseball and get more athletic action into the game. A lighter ball that spins more would mean even more strikeouts, even fewer balls in play and an even more boring MLB.

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3 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

There is no data to support this assertion. Pitchers commonly train with weighted balls, if that was an injury risk they wouldn't. The ball weighs 5 ounces. My suggestion is increasing that to 5.5 ounces. A football weighs 15 ounces and NFL quarterbacks have a lower rate of throwing injuries than MLB pitchers.

A pitcher would probably like a ball that is lighter and has a better grip because he can get more spin and strike out batters more easily. Pitchers WILL NOT like a heavier ball that spins less. The idea isn't to make pitchers happy, it's to get us out of the "Home Run Derby" era of baseball and get more athletic action into the game. A lighter ball that spins more would mean even more strikeouts, even fewer balls in play and an even more boring MLB.

You are probably correct, the article I read was asking why Japanese pitchers have more TJ surgury after coming to the MLB. They conclusion was admittedly not scientific was the heavier ball in MLB and/or the rest between starts.

I am not claiming to know the answer, but was just throwing out what I read. But I will say if they wanted to do a heavier ball I would hope they figure out a way to study it first.

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On 8/19/2021 at 8:49 AM, Vanimal46 said:

1. Bring in minor leaguers under the MLBPA umbrella and give them a livable wage. $50k for A/A+, $60k for AA, $75k for AAA. 

2. Shorten the season. Anywhere from 120-150 games. 

3. Double, if not triple the MLB minimum salary.

4. Strictly enforce a pitch clock

5. Implement universal DH and realign the divisions to spark more regional rivalries

6. Move the pitching mound back to generate more contact plays

7. Implement a hard salary cap and floor

8. Build baseball academies in cities across the US to spark more interest in the game 

9. Kids 15 and under are able to attend games for free

10. Lower years of control from 6 (wink wink actually 7) to 4. Players reach free agency earlier and sparks more interest in the offseason. 

11. Implement a max contract length (5 or 6 years) to prevent the albatross 10 year $350 million contracts for players in their 30s. 

Everything here, but I think anything less than 150 games are too little. The poor conditions in the minors makes me sick.

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Designate 60% of baseball revenues to the players union. The players union will then pay the players based on results from the previous season and time spent in MLB.

This would mean that players would not move based on competitive bids from teams.

This would mean that a team from a smaller population could compete with the large metro areas.

This would probably mean less player movement and more fan loyalty.

Lots of other interesting things would happen, but when players are paid based on production the emphasis will be put on productive baseball.

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On 8/18/2021 at 7:47 PM, Matthew Lenz said:

1. Shorten the season

2. expand and realign divisions

3. Add a pitch clock

4. Robo Umps

5. End blackouts and loosen video restrictions

6. Allow trading of draft picks

7. Pay minor leaguers a living wage

8. Rethink the role of the commissioner.

Which so you agree with, which don’t you, and what would you add?

1. It really doesn't matter.

2. It really doesn't matter. Rivalries are dependent more on teams playing each other often than on geography. Realignment would not mean more or fewer or better or worse rivalries, only different ones. So what's the point in realigning?

3. OK, if you must, but only if there's also a batter's clock and only with the bases empty.

4. Absolutely, positively, undoubtedly.

5. Whatever allows the most fans to see games.

6. IDK.

7. Of course. That would also mean exorbitant MLB free agent salaries will be reduced. Win/win.

8. There's always room for improvement.

I will also add this: Revamp revenue sharing so that all teams have similar operating budgets. Because each team would have about the same wherewithal to run a franchise no salary cap would be needed. Let each team do as it sees fit.

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On 8/20/2021 at 10:48 AM, DJL44 said:

Make the ball 5-10% heavier. Pitchers throw with less velocity, breaking balls spin less, batter exit velocity decreases and HR are harder to hit. Foot speed becomes more important. Strikeouts and HR go down, athletic fielding plays and stolen bases go up.

 

Heavier? Absolutely not. This would impede fielders as well as pitchers. Softer? Yes.

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On 8/20/2021 at 12:41 PM, DJL44 said:

A football weighs 15 ounces and NFL quarterbacks have a lower rate of throwing injuries than MLB pitchers.

Apples vs oranges. A typical quarterback throws a football really hard only a handful of times per game. 17 times per season, with a full week between games. A typical starting pitcher throws a baseball really hard 80 or more times per game. 30 times per season, with 5 days between games.

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Provisional Member
On 8/20/2021 at 2:20 PM, East Coast Twin said:

1. Go back to four divisions.

2. Only division winners go to the playoffs.

3. No interleague play.

4. Allow ties after ten innings.

5. Increase major and minor league minimum salaries.

6. No more "everybody clap your hands!" or Addams family theme songs at the ballpark.

Totally agree with #6

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RE: Living wage. Cut all the signing bonus slot values to $0 and cap their signing bonus to $10k and pay a living wage. I'm cool with that or modifying the signing bonus to having a floor of $142,000. I'm also okay with just making a signing bonus floor for rounds 11+ of something like $40k. I'm also okay with ending round 11+ drafting.

Tyler Jay's signing bonus was $3.8MM. Rob Refsnyder was a 5th round pick and his signing bonus was $205,900 in 2012. Even Mitch Garver, a 9th rounder received an (under-slot) $40K signing bonus in 2013 more than offsets your living wage MiLB career calculation.

Players who are going to make the big leagues as contributors are in round 1-10 and have already been compensated more than enough to offset cost of living. The rest are chasing their lottery tickets and are long shots to make MLB for a cup of coffee, let alone any substantial career and are chasing their dreams like lottery tickets, essentially working as apprentices. 

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Provisional Member

1. Use DH in both league

2. Eliminate 7 inning DH rule

3. Eliminate extra inning player at 2B rule

4. Eliminate inter-league play

5. Play less divisional games. Tired of seeing the Royals 19 times a year. Play East and West teams more.

6. Remove reliever pitching to 3 minimum batters rule. It's not speeding up the game.

7. Allow drafts picks to be traded like every other league. Would make MLB draft more interesting.

8. I would not have a salary cap, but I would impose a salary minimum for the team total payroll.

9. I'm old, so I don't like the bat flipping/showmanship stuff.  But that's just me.  Times have changed.  

10. I would make Rocco Baldelli rely on old-school baseball instinct instead of analytics. I'd also hire a new pitching coach for the Twins.

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The big thing on this list I would go for is the umps. I would put in an automated strike zone but continue to let home plate ump make all the rest of the calls. I do agree with giving minor league players a livable salary, but more in the line of 50k or so. I would also like to see a rule put in that states all the bling players are wearing today must be out of sight, tucked under the uniform or left in the locker or whatever. I don't know if a pitch clock will help much unless a) there is another rule to keep the hitter in the box, and b) the umps are strict in enforcement. I could go along with a shorter season if it meant expanded playoff format.

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I would balance the schedule more.   No more mirage that your organization is successful because they beat up on KC an Detroit 36 times per year then get exposed against NY.  Yes every division has an also-ran but the Central seems to more often.  

No more champagne after clinching playoffs.  Only for winning the pennant.

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I won't answer on ALL of them, just a couple.

 

Universal DH.  It's about damn time.

No more 7 inning doubleheaders.  Or runners at 2B to start an extra inning. (this is MLB for crying out loud, not Fast-Pitch Softball).

I'm not sure about Robo Umps.  But I'm leaning that way.  No more "Star Player' treatment.  The strike zone is the same for everybody.

Outlaw defensive shifts.  It infruiates me to no end that a guy like Kepler can't hit .260-.275 with the whole left side of the infield WIDE OPEN.  I would put hash marks on the outfield grass by near the infield where SS's 2B's and 3B's must position themselves. If someone cheats, the batter is given first base.  Not sure how you would score it, but with MLB hitters unable to figure this out and batting averages going down, and down and down, (I'd rather see a HIT than a WALK as a fan) this is my most drastic suggestion.

I would cut the season to 154, balance the divisions and schedule, but still keep A.L. & N.L.  The reason I would shorten the schedule "somewhat" is that I HATE playoff baseball in late October and World Series games in NOVEMBER !!  End the regular season so that whatever the playoff layout is has a Game #7 of the World Series no later than October 20-21.  

Finally, Minor League wages and housing.  Honestly, as RICH as MLB is, I don't understand why some enterprising and enlightened organization hasn't thought about this before.  Buy or construct housing for the TEAM somewhere near the minor league stadium of complex.  Room and board is FURNISHED by the TEAM.  Like a training table.  If players are married/have families, separate housing accommodations would also be provided and again, in close proximately to the "bachelor' teammates.  These properties would have playgrounds for their kids/families to hang out together.  This should be standard in the upcoming agreement between the players and the owners.  The Twins should be building a community within the organization that allows the players the utmost ability to focus on improving as a ballplayer to pay off as an investment for the Twins.  This would also be a HUGE step and commitment from the owners.  MAJOR League players make a TON of money.  They don't really need significantly more.  By bringing all signed players into the Union, the owners are again taking a HUGE step.  How greedy do the players want to appear.  Are they truly a "Brotherhood" or just cash driven mercenaries.  

A salary FLOOR is needed.  A cap may always be impossible.  But competitive balance is an issue.  The Dodgers, with ALL their resources and advantages should never have gone 32 years between World Series Titles.  Dave Roberts get less out of more than most managers.  The Giants skipper is running circles around him this season.  The Dodgers only have themselves to blame.  Maybe pigs will fly.  But the fact the Dodgers can potentially just eat whatever happens with Trevor Bauer's contract (something that would cripple at least 25 other teams) shows that "competitive balance" is in the eye of the beholder.

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