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Rated: E · Editorial · Sports · #2269026
reflections on baseball
Making Baseball Great Again - Revised

Making Baseball Great Again - a Call for Bold Action to Save the Game
I sent this around to the MLB Commissioner, the Baseball Hall of Fame and the SF Giants, Oakland A’s and the Nationals and will update it if anyone bothers to respond.

https://wp.me/p7NAzO-297

Now that the COVID pandemic is fading and life is returning to normal, it is a good time to step back and reflect upon the future of professional sports. this is especially true for baseball now that they have ended the walkout and are about to resume the season,
American Professional sports, especially baseball, are in trouble! Attending a professional sports game has become unaffordable for the average person, and that is a damn shame. Fewer children are learning how to play in school as schools cut back on sports and fitness programs because of costs, liability issues, and changing preferences among the public. Sports teams are losing their connections to their local communities.

When I was a young lad, American sports comprised football, basketball, and baseball. Everything else was just a minor sport!
Unfortunately, baseball is now in fifth place - it is football, basketball, hockey, soccer, and baseball. And if things continue as they are going, baseball could soon be becoming a minor sport, falling behind tennis, golf, bowling, track, and field, or even after cricket, which is the fast-growing sport in the US.

Yes, the state of American professional sports is deplorable. But I have a ten-point plan to make American sports great again, particularly baseball. These apply also to Football and Basketball, but my focus here is on Baseball.

My proposal consists of the following basic principles

Making The Game Affordable!!!
Expanding The Number of Professional Teams
Real World Series
Adopting Local Schools and Colleges
Requiring Professional Athletes To Have A Degree, And Helping Them Find Jobs After Retirement
Bringing In More International Players
Changing The Incentive Structure So Winning Means More Money Per Player, Losing Means Less Money Per Player
Setting Up A North American Sports Commission
Allowing Corporations to Own Teams
Expanding Broadcasting of Games So That One Could Watch Baseball 24/7 Anywhere In The World For Free or a Small Monthly Fee
Make The Games Gendered Neutral
Getting Rid of Racist Legacies
Enhancing Security Including Health Checks


Making The Game Affordable!!!



We start by making the games affordable for the average person. These comments apply equally to all the major sports, but my focus is on baseball, my favorite professional sport. If one wanted to attend a professional game, one would have to spend hundreds of dollars to get tickets, go to the stadium, and spend a minor fortune on food and drinks. Preposterous and unacceptable.
Professional sports should cap the price of most tickets at 50 dollars per ticket. They should sell tickets at a price that people could afford to attend a game. Perhaps setting the average ticket at 25 dollars? And on game days, sell remaining tickets for 5 dollars, and release free tickets an hour before the game start. Filling up the stadium for every game. That would generate excitement and generate loyalty among the fan base. Better for everyone than the current system where the average price of tickets is about 100 dollars a ticket if they can get one at all. The goal should be to fill the stadium with fans who did not pay a fortune for the tickets and that the average price is very reasonable. One reason that soccer is so popular is that it is the cheapest professional sport to attend in person.

Expanding the Number of Professional Teams


I think there are too few professional teams. There is a market for baseball that is not being met. At a minimum, there should be a professional sports team in every major metropolitan area, and in some areas, more than one team could compete, ice, NYC, LA, Chicago, SF Bay Area.

First, a dramatic expansion of baseball so that there are major league team teams in every state in the US, every province in Canada, and Mexico, and in the DR, PI, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua. That would mean expanding the number of teams to 120 teams from the 35 teams that exist today.

This would not be as difficult to accomplish as you might first think. First, you would convert minor league teams into major league teams. You would make sure that there is a major league team in each state in the U.S., each Canadian province, each Mexican State, and in the baseball-playing countries of the Caribbean, and in Asia and Europe as well, making it a real-world sport.
Some obvious places could and should have a team. Anchorage, Honolulu, Sacramento, San Jose, Portland, Reno, Nevada? Salt Lake City? Boise, Phoenix, Tuscan? Tacoma, Vancouver, Edmonton, Quebec City, there could be up to 75 teams competing across North America. I would also add teams in Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. This will replace the current two-league structure which should be retired.

Each team would play mostly in its region with a few inter-league games per month for excitement, the new league structure would consist of the African League, Asia League (East Asia, SE Asia, and Indian divisions) the North American league (Northwest, Southwest, Southeast, Northeast and Central Divisions) the Caribbean/Mexican League, European League, Middle eastern league, and Latin America Leagues.

This would make it more affordable for teams to travel, as they would mostly play against teams in their region. I would adjust the leagues a bit to ensure that they are all about the same number of teams.

And there would be intense regional rivals for example in the Bay area there would be regular games between SF, San Jose, and Oakland.

At the end of the season, the North American champion would be crowned, and that champion would advance to the world series, which will be held in the spring just before the beginning of the new season.

And perhaps to start the season off on an international basis, the season-opening games should be international teams. I.e. the SF Giants could host the Tokyo Giants for a best of seven games to start the season.

Real World Series



I would change the way the world series is done. Each country that has pro baseball (there are over 32) would choose their national champions through the team that won the national championship, and then the champions would compete in a world series of baseball held in the early Spring. For example, if the SF Giants won the North American series, they would represent North America in the world series and represent the US in the Olympics. The location of the world series would vary among the 32 countries that have professional baseball leagues, but the US should host the first series, and perhaps offer to always host the finals, to ensure the world still associates the US as the home country of baseball and ensure that the US media and public fully engage with the world series.
The games would be world cup style until the last set of games, which will be the traditional best of seven-game format.

+Adopting Local Schools and Colleges


To develop the next generation of players and fans, I would have the professional teams adopt local school districts and colleges and fully fund all sports programs, not just baseball, thus alleviating the burden on the school district or college’s budget. They would do this in cooperation with the other professional teams in the region, splitting the costs between the professional teams. The school districts and local colleges would have a fully funded sports program. Professional athletes would volunteer to serve as coaches during the off-season. The student-athletes would be given passes so that they could attend professional games for free.

This one action would guarantee that children have grown up playing sports and generate excitement for the game among the next generation. And it would not cost the professional team a lot of money and generate a tremendous amount of goodwill. Finally, playing baseball for an MBL sponsored university would give the student-athlete preference is going to play for that team.

Requiring Professional Athletes to have a Degree, And Helping Them Find Jobs After Retirement



All the professional sports federations would jointly agree that they would only hire professional athletes who have finished their college playing days with a degree. They could compete in the professional league for one year on a provisional contract but must have their degree in hand before they begin their second year. While in college they would receive a full scholarship, housing, a monthly stipend, and free tickets to all professional sports games, they would also work part-time as coaches in High schools in their communities. These costs would be paid for by the local team.
I would keep players in one team for five-year contracts to build fan support. The typical baseball player would then play four years of HS baseball, four years of college baseball, and 3 contracts (15 years total) for up to three different teams, and few players would be able to do a fourth contract.

Finally, after a professional athlete ‘s career is over, the professional teams would make every effort to help the professional athlete stay involved with the game by assisting them in getting full-time employment as coaches across the country, or work for the baseball teams, or working as sports announcers. The key is that former players will remain professionally engaged in promoting baseball after retiring from active service.

Bring In International Players



With the proliferation of overseas teams, I would also bring in the best foreign players and let US athletes play overseas, and encourage US players to play overseas during their time with the US-based team perhaps allowing them to play one season overseas while keeping their contract with the US-based team?

Changing The Incentive Structure So Winning Means More Money Per Player, Losing Means Lots Let Money Per Player


It seems that sometimes professional athletes are phoning it in so to speak. So, I would change the compensation so that winning teams get most of the proceeds from a game, with the losing team getting their costs covered. This minor change would make the games so much more exciting as athletes would have a real incentive to compete.


Setting Up a North American Sports Commission


I would set up a North American Sports Commission to oversee professional sports across North America - comprising the head of NFL, MLB, NBA, MLSS, Hockey, Tennis, Golf, Bowling, Track and Field, and Olympics. The commission would comprise player representatives, owner representatives, and high school and college sports representatives.
I would set up a Public-private partnership to set policy for professional sports in North America including the Caribbean, annual conference after the week after the world super bowl followed by the drafting for professional sports teams (all at the same time) just before the beginning of Baseball, soccer, etc.

Thus, the MLB would become one of the NASF commissioners, etc. The head of the North American professional sports commissions would be called the North American Professional Sports commissioner. His or her job would be to coordinate all aspects of the game along with his/her counterparts in the other sports leagues and the Olympics, Pro Golfing, Pro Tennis, Pro Bowling, and track and field.

Each city would have its own sports commission comprising the heads of the local professional sports teams, and the university athletes’ directors. The sports federation would also have players serve on the commission. The local commission would also encourage local teams to share facilities, broadcast revenues, and share in the cost of running the local high school and college athletic programs.

Finally, the US champion team would compete in the Olympics and other international competitions representing the United States.

Allowing Corporations to Own Teams



In Asia, most sports teams are owned by corporations. I don’t see why we can’t do that in the U.S. Unlike in Asia though the corporation would still have to name the team after the location instead of the corporation, unlike in Asia where the corporation’s name is associated with the team and not the location, for example, you could have Microsoft owning the Mariners, but the name of the team would be the Seattle Mariners, not the Microsoft mariners, but the corporate owner could name the stadium after the corporate name.

Expanding Broadcasting Of Games So That One Could Watch Baseball 24/7 Anywhere In The World For Free Or For A Small Monthly Fee


I would expand the MLB website, which would show every game worldwide streaming free. The paid site would include access to past games, statistical analysis, commentary, etc and links to the baseball sites around the world and also broadcast college baseball games.

Make The Games Gendered Neutral


It is time to allow girls to play baseball. They can compete with the boys and should be allowed to play on the teams. Perhaps we could have about 40 percent female players to start? Allowing woman players would also help grow the fan base as more women would get interested in watching the games.

Getting Rid of Racist Legacies

{/center

}I would change the names of all professional sports teams to get rid of racist names like the Indians and the Braves, and college-level names as well.

Enhancing Security Including Health Checks



Unfortunately, COVID will likely be sticking around and everyone will need booster shots every year. Baseball teams should offer free flu/covid and other vaccinations throughout the season and require patrons to wear masks during the early spring season (April and perhaps in October) as well. Certainly, all players and staff must get their flu and COVID shots to play. Finally, baseball stadiums should encourage the use of public transit to get to and from the games to cut down on DUI Perhaps offering free Uber rides home to anyone who drank too much and letting people park their cars overnight would help.

Summary


It is time to face reality, baseball is no longer “America’s pastime”. It is in fifth place! And with the way things are going could become a minor sport but it is growing in popularity worldwide. It is time for the good of the game and the good of the country for MLB to save baseball as America’s greatest sport.

Taking these steps –

Making the game affordable!!!
Expanding the number of professional teams
Real World Series
Adopting local schools and colleges
Requiring professional athletes to have a degree, and helping them find jobs after retirement
Bringing in More International Players
Changing the incentive structure so winning means more money per player, losing means less money per player
Setting up a North American Sports Commission
Allowing Corporations to Own Teams
Expanding broadcasting of games so that one could watch baseball 24/7 anywhere in the world for free or for a small monthly fee
Make the games gendered neutral
Getting rid of racist legacies
Enhancing security including health checks

Would go a long way to solving the crisis facing American baseball. Doing nothing will end in baseball becoming a minor sport in its spiritual homeland.

Note (Update) the Redskins just announced that they are finally getting rid of the racist redskin name but they picked a lame name, the Washington Commanders in my opinion but at least it is not racist anymore. MLB needs to get rid of the Indian, and Braves names and other racist names, and come up with more inclusive names, especially for expansion teams.


Jake Cosmos Aller

Lifetime SF Giants, and Oakland A's Fan


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