By JOEL SOLOMON
2 Point Lead
New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has made changes to baseball to speed up the pace of the game. But honestly, it's going to take a lot more than taking the length of a contest from 3 hours and 10 minutes to 3 hours and 5 minutes to make America's pastime more interesting to fans.
Baseball has been around nearly two centuries without many drastic changes. Basketball added the three-point shot. Football's vertical passing game has increased scoring. Even hockey finally caved and opted for an overtime shootout.
It's your turn, baseball. Let's shake things up. The helmet sundae is incredible, but here are five new ways to radically change your image:
Three Pitchers Per Game
Want to really add managerial strategy to the game? Forget a bullpen full of arms and a revolving bullpen door matching up one pitcher for one batter, then another pitcher for another batter. This isn't speed dating. Instead, managers are given three pitchers per game, that's it. Use them wisely because once that third pitchers takes the mound, he's it.
Extra Innings, Home run Derby
Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Nine innings is a lot of baseball. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen innings now we're talking a Ken Burns documentary, director's-cut length amount of time. So here's how we settle it, after 10 innings if the game is still tied, each team selects one batter each for a 3-out homerun derby, winner take all. If it's tied we keep going and each team sends up another hitter until one team wins.
Hit by Pitch Three Bases
Unwritten rule or not, throwing 90mph retaliation pitches at hitters is ridiculous. There's nothing like a team losing their star player for a few weeks because he took one to the wrist or breaks a rib because some manager woke up on the wrong side of the bed. But don't worry they are given a free base, no different than a base on balls! Just like fouls and flagrant fouls in basketball, if an umpire deems that a batter was hit intentionally after being warned, the umpire can give two or three bases based on the level of harm it inflicted on the player.
Baseball Standings Points
Make regular season series really count, with three-game and five-game series where teams that win the series are awarded points in the standings. This way regular season games become more meaningful with teams knowing each series something is at stake. Overall records will still count, but winning a three-game series is worth one point and a five-game series is worth two points. Most points in the standings at the end of the regular season determines division winners and wildcards.
Reinstate Pete Rose
Believe me this would be a radical change. It's been 25 years and the closest the Hit King has gotten to Cooperstown is when he goes to sign autographs down the block from the Hall. It's time to give a majority of fans what they want and put Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame. He earned it for what he did on the field -- and he's paid his price and then some.
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