This is a wide ranging field with a lot of possible decisions to make. I could just list mine here and be done with it, but you readers are all pretty sharp and opinionated. Before I get into my proposals, I urge all of our readers: Create your own set and put them in a Fanpost. The best one (as judged in a completely arbitrary and entirely subjective fashion) will get Front page status. Be serious or funny or controversial or turn it into a beat poem or a communist manifesto or anything that works for you. I want to read lots of interesting takes and have trouble choosing a winner. I'm a masochist like that.
Now, for my proposals. As I'm sure you know the new Commisioner will be voted on by Owners this week. There are 3 competitiors (and none are named Ruben Amaro, Jr.). I won't bother with details of the 3 here. Suffice it to say they're all more well prepared than I am, better suited to the job and likely much more skilled negotiators. I'm an internet hack about to write my own ideas down, the new Commish can feel free to claim this genius as his own, anything I can do to help.
- No more All Star Game deciding Home Field in the World Series. If the idea that a meaningless game having no meaning bothers you, get a hobby. I get that Bud panicked and tried to keep people from turning off an exhibition game, but MLB still has the best ASG of the 4 sports. The NHL ASG is vaguely shinny, made watchable more by the gimmicks than the game (choosing sides by picking sticks from a pile, outdoor versions, etc.). The NBA is a glorified pick-up game with Defense strongly frowned upon. The NFL isn't even worth discussing. Truth is the other 3 sports have to modify and tone down their games to avoid injuries. Baseball doesn't, a star can go just as hard in the ASG as a normal game with or without B.S., made up stakes. I'm not sure it matters much as the World Series rarely goes 7, but this idea is stupid without needing to justify how stupid it is in practice
- We go back to 1 Wild Card per league. No more watering down the product. This is another advantage over the other major sports, Seasons are largely meaningless for most NHL and NBA teams beyond setting up their seed. Half the damned league gets in and you end up with hot, bad teams beating a good team looking past them. Sure, a team should never look past an opponent, but I'm more bothered by the fact that the playoffs would even have a team worth looking past. Cut the fat and get rid of this idea about every team needing to feel like they have a shot. Quality should be MLB's calling card. I realize this one would never fly, but I would put it forward as a way to prevent additional playoff expansion nonsense (disclaimer: I like the one game playoff, as it re-emphasizes the value of winning a division. I just fear further expansion of this idea).
- Use MLB Network to promote the Minors and Draft. All sports are built on stars, but honestly, MLB sucks at marketing its stars, especially up and coming stars. Air a few Minor League games each week on MLB Network using the local broadcaters. That way Phillies fans who can't make it out to Reading can get excited about Kelly Dugan and Aaron Altherr (or Crawford and Quinn. or Nola and Franco, etc.). Further develop your own Mel Kiper, Jr. I know someone will say "It's different NFL Draft picks play right away MLB picks are 3-4 years away." True, but I don't think it matters. Get to the 4th Round and beyond in the NFL draft and you'll never hear of most of those players either. Yet there's fans in the building and eyes on the TV. Get someone with Kiper's enthusiasm and delivery in there and the MLB draft could become a big thing too. Not as big as the NFL Draft, but it would beat the half assed snooze fest the current MLB draft is.
- Institute a pay per game policy for the MLBTV. I understand Comcast/Time Warner and other companies that paid big bucks for exclusive rights want to force people to buy their full product, but I also know a lot of people love to go to games and follow feeds on their phones/tablets/etc. Why not charge a fee for in-market games, in addition to the overall fee, with the in-game fee going to the content provider? It would be much cheaper for someone to buy the cable package, than pay the MLBTV and individual game fees for 162 games, so the goal here is to service people who want it for a few games, while in stadium or for certain stars. It's never good business to block people from your product.
- Modernize. Loaded word. I hear complaints that MLB is slow, that there should be a "pitch clock" (horrid idea). No, make use of the pace by integrating technology. MLB is 100% perfect for this interactive nature. Pitcher taking too long, check your handheld device to get the broadcaster's take, look at PitchF/X data or look up splits to argue with a friend whether the Manager chose the right Pinch Hitter. All the natural breaks in baseball are perfect for that content, provide it, link to it, allow it. Make the in person experience valuable. Utilize the "second screen" elements many TV shows now use, the pace of baseball is built for this and if you give tech savvy people a reason to be engaged during otherwise "down" periods between pitches and innings, the game would stop seeming so languid and old fashioned. The other sports move too fast for this, utilize that advantage.
Now, let's hear your ideas and feel free to tell me how genius/stupid my ideas are. I can take it.