Major League Baseball enters its unofficial second half Friday as the teams come out of the All-Star break and get ready for the stretch run to the postseason.
The first half has been filled with plenty of highlights and surprises (see: the Oakland As and Pittsburgh Pirates) as the game is having another strong season overall.
That said, there are several things baseballs leaders could do to make the game even better, although we all know exactly how slow they are to move on just about anything.
Expand replay: This could actually be done now and should be done now. But for some reason, the games leaders just dont see the need for it.
But there are several games each week that are affected by atrocious calls by umpires, and that doesnt need to carry over into the playoffs.
Were not talking about the strike zone, although its pretty silly that each umpire has his own strike zone. There is one strike zone, which is in the rule book, and it just doesnt make sense that the umpires cant get that right. But thats a totally different column.
Replay, however, could certainly fix some of the other calls that come up in almost every game: Calls at the bases, fair-foul balls down the lines and disputes on catches/non-catches are just a few of those, and they could be fixed quickly if baseball officials would step up to the proverbial plate.
Be consistent on the DH: Ive never been a fan of the DH, but its ridiculous that the AL has it and the NL doesnt. The spotlight on that is even brighter after Houstons move to the AL, which gave each league 15 teams and sprinkled interleague games throughout the season.
My first thought is to eliminate the DH, but that will never pass, so baseball should just go ahead and have the DH in both leagues. Its not ideal, but its a lot more ideal than having different rules for the different leagues. That maybe made sense when the two leagues didnt play each other during the regular season, but with interleague games on the schedule the entire season, it would be better to just have the same rules for both leagues.
No more now it counts: Houstons move to the AL also comes into play here. There is no reason that the All-Star game, an exhibition, should decide the home-field advantage for the World Series.
There is an easier way to do that now that both leagues have 15 teams: Whichever league has the best record in interleague games throughout the season gets the home-field advantage in the World Series. Its as simple as that.
Another full round for playoffs: Every Atlanta Braves fan vividly remembers last years horrible infield fly rule call in the teams loss to St. Louis in the NL wild-card game. It was an awful call; theres no way to sugarcoat that.
It wasnt the only reason the Braves lost the game (their struggles defensively were key to that), but it certainly didnt help their cause.
But, again, its something that could be avoided pretty easily. The wild-card round should not be limited to just one game. Maybe it doesnt need to be seven games or even five, but three would work perfectly. A single game opens up the teams to a fluke helping determine the winner and which team will advance in the playoffs. Thats just what happened to the Braves last year, and it doesnt need to happen again.
Contact Daniel Shirley at 744-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org