Originally written on Full Spectrum Baseball  |  Last updated 5/7/12
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Chris Davis Bringing High Heat

Seriously, cast aside all pretenses and facades.  If the commissioner wants more interesting baseball near the end of the season, then he should be just as interested in compelling baseball at the beginning of the season.  Since Uncle Bud does not appear interested in returning my calls, I am left with no recourse but to write about my ideas in hopes that someone close to Selig will approach him on my behalf.

  1. Place a limit on the number of pitchers that a team can carry.  Make sure the number is low enough that fans are all but guaranteed at least 1 game per team per week in which a position player is called on to pitch.  The final numbers are not yet known, but you can pretty much bet that the 17 inning affair between the Red Sox and Orioles really picked up extra viewers who were interested in the baseball train wreck that is 2 position players battling on the mound for the win.  Heck, it was exciting just watching Orioles 1B/DH Chris Davis go 1 inning, and the 2nd inning was all gravy for many fans.  Why is there not more of this kind of entertainment?  Those about to play out of position, we salute you!
  2. Eliminate the “phantom tag” play at all bases, but especially at second base.  It simply is not good enough that a shortstop swipe his foot somewhere in the vicinity of the bag.  That does not constitute an out on a force play while he is in possession of the ball.  Rules are rules.  It is high time that MLB started using them – all of them.
  3. As a bit of an addendum to number 2 in this list, MLB should enforce the rule that already exists on the books regarding players sliding into a base in order to break up a potential double play.  This should not even be an issue.  Dangerous and/or poor slides into the base often force the defender to choose between attempting to complete the play and protecting themselves.  They should be able to do both, because runners by rule are required to make an attempt to slide into the base.  Not beyond it by 3 feet.  Not off to the side by 4 feet.  If the runner is not making a legitimate attempt to gain the bag safely, then he should be called out.  Protect the players and simultaneously make the game more enjoyable.  Maybe there will then be more double plays.  On the other hand, maybe teams will send runners more frequently in order to try and avoid the double play.  Either way, I believe that the fans and the players both come out ahead.
  4. Consider this one a pet peeve of mine that goes back to Barry Bonds and Craig Biggio.  Do away with allowing players to wear any kind of body armor or protective gear other than a helmet while at the plate.  Alternatively, do not award first base to any player who is actually struck in the body armor or protective gear they use.  The current rule regarding players hit by a pitch includes a clause that requires them to at least attempt to move out of the way.  Players very rarely make an earnest effort unless the pitch is thrown at the shoulders or above.  Just enforce the rule the way it was written and do away with the cheap HBP incidents that are so frustrating to watch.  Leaning into a pitch or taking a slider off of your body armor does not equate to earning your way on base.
  5. Start calling the the “fake to 3B and throw to 1B” exactly what it is – a balk.  It is obviously an attempt to deceive the runner at 1B, and it almost never, ever works.  As a matter of fact, there are not many plays in baseball guaranteed to elicit more groans from the crowd at any ballpark than that play.  Moreover, it does not seem to matter which team is attempting the play.  The fans simply do not approve.

Finally, I have a bonus idea for fantasy baseball leagues, and it could be implemented without much difficulty.  Start counting stats for all players in all situations.  That is to say that pitchers should be credited for things like AVG, OBP, OPS, R, and RBI.  Position players who pitch should have their ERAs, WHIPs, and everything else included as well.  Sure, it does not make a HUGE amount of difference over the season, but a pitcher who actually works hard at all aspects of his craft should be rewarded.  Maybe instead of counting RBI, pitchers could be credited with successful sacrifice attempts and have that number added to the RBI category for the entire team.  The change I propose probably would not affect things like draft rankings too much, but it would be fun to get a couple of RBI from your pitcher as a bonus every once in a while.

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