Monday, March 3, 2008

Big Baseball Roundtable

Well, it's finally posted, ready for all to see. I don't want to copy/paste the entire roundtable since that's not fair to Diesel who pulled it together, but I'll put only my answers below. Please, please, please check out the link above for the entire roundtable, it's more than worth it.

Jason Rosenberg is the author of the blog It IS About the Money, Stupid, the platform upon which he unleashes a daily fusillade of anti-hypocrisy rants that warm the cockles of Diesel's heart. Unfortunately, Jason is also a Yankees fan, which means that all the good deeds of the world will never stop him from ending up here. We kid, Jason; you can't be that bad of a guy, because you accept the fact that Jeter is absolute death going to his left.

Bud Selig asks you for two suggestions. Provided you don't ask him to resign, what ideas do you promote?
Rosenberg: First, I’d change some rules regarding the All Star game. I’d eliminate mandatory representation by every team, unless rosters expand to 32-35 to account for the expansion over the years. I’d also eliminate the “World Series” home field advantage bonus; it’s just an exhibition.

There are many subtle rules changes that I’d want to see changed to speed up the pace of the game but the main ones I’d propose would be a stricter enforcement of the “pitch clock”. Get on the hill or in the box or it’s an automatic strike or ball depending on the guilty party. I’d also change the rule requiring pitching 4 balls on an intentional walk. Call the intentional walk and send the runner to first. This is not Little League.

But my main “platform” involves making the game more kid-friendly. To do this, I’d make all Playoff and All Star games to begin at 7pm EST during the weekend and 6pm on week nights. This will be challenged by the West Coasters understandably but games cannot end after 11pm EST. No playoff games on the weekends will be scheduled during the evening. During the season, after every weekend day game, all kids 12 and under will be allowed to run the bases. I’d also give every kid 12 and under a raffle ticket upon admission to every game. Draw 10 tickets each game and the winners get to meet one player after the game. Can you imagine the impact this would have, to actually run the bases or meet a real ballplayer? Talk about building a lifetime connection to the game!

What's the one thing you don't think the industry is doing enough of, on the whole?
Rosenberg: As you can probably tell, one of my biggest “issues” lies within MLB’s ignoring of the kids with respect to game start times. This is most prevalent and important for the “showcase” games, including the all star game and the entire post season. Kids need to be more engaged with the ballplayers and the game. By allowing them to run the bases after every weekend day game will build an instant bond with the game. This can also be done by randomly selecting some number of kids (say 10) to meet a ballplayer after the game. Kids will not care who it is, just that they got to meet a real major leaguer. If that player gave each kid an autographed ball, all the better. It’s easy, it’s cheap and it’s the right thing to do to get kids re-invested in MLB. (Note to Brian Cashman: If you want me to come on board to help you with this, let me know! I’m ready and just 15 minutes away!)

Whom is the one player you're most excited to see play this season?
Rosenberg: Joba Chamberlain. A bit of a homer call but I want to see what he can do over an entire season. He was incredibly exciting to watch in limited action last year so I’m excited to see how he continues to develop.

Aside from guys on my hometown team, I want to see if Ryan Braun can match or better his 5 month blitzkrieg from last year.

What's the one thing that stands out the most to you about all the PED hand-wringing this offseason?
Rosenberg: How incredibly unnecessary and self-inflicted it all was/is. Selig didn’t have to commission the Mitchell Report. In addition, Clemens’ predicament is also seemingly self-inflicted with his apparent lying to a Congressional Committee. Clemens could have simply given the same excuse as Pettitte (“I did it to recover from injury”), gone quiet for some period of time, and go about his private life. He would have been a pariah for a while and likely never made the HOF, but if he took his celebrity and set out on an anti-steroids campaign, he’d be so much better off. Mark McGwire’s efforts to help the anti-steroids campaign rival OJ’s efforts to find the real killer, after all.

Who do you consider to be the most invaluable person in baseball?
Rosenberg: I’m not a huge Selig basher, and while I think as long as he’s Commissioner he’s the most important, that doesn’t make him the most invaluable (which I define as irreplaceable). I don’t think anyone is irreplaceable. I think the most invaluable person in baseball is the one who stands up to the Union and demands change in their stance regarding PEDs. Who that is, I am not exactly sure. I wish Jeter’s comments recently about blood testing were more assertive and definitive, but he’s not going to go that far. Not his style. Who is the conscience of the league? Who can force change even against the CBA? Can’t be Selig; it needs to come from within the players’ ranks, against the advice of Donald Fehr.

What non-favorite team of yours are you most interested in this season?
Rosenberg: They are becoming overhyped underdogs already, but I want to see what Tampa Bay can do this year and next. Can they finally make the leap? Besides them, I’m really excited to see what the Brewers can become. Great young talent there and it should be fun to watch.

What's the one annoying thing you hope this season will be the swan song for?
Rosenberg: Do I have to pick just one? So many things annoy me that I’d like to see gone for good, including: “Manny being Manny,” Congressional hearings involving baseball, mandatory representation in the All Star game, pink Red Sox hats, the Marlins, Fox broadcasts, Carl Pavano, and discussing how players are “reporting in the best shape of their lives."

What kind of contract are you offering Bonds right now if you're the GM of a team that can reasonably say it's bordering on contention?
Rosenberg: $5M guaranteed, with $1M bonuses at 400, 500, 550 and 600 at bats (including walks, naturally). Full protection for each game missed due to legal issues. Fully voidable if found guilty.

Great job, Diesel. Again, thanks for the invite. Can't wait to do another!!!


jintman1 said...

Nice Job Jason,I agree with you on most of your points. How many people outside of us diehard baseball fans actually stay up to see the end of playoff games not involving our home teams. Unfortunatly the networks rule the roost and it wont change.
It is so true about how a simple interaction between a kid and a player can have such a major impact on that childs love for the game. I had experiences both positive and negative which i still carry with me that have till this day.

Jason said...

Jintman, I know that most of my "wishes" were merely pipe dreams, but the exercise wasn't to say which we thought had the best chance of happening, only those things we'd LIKE to see happen.

I would just kill for a spot with any club that had me focus on getting kids involved and attached to the game. Just having them run the bases would build that bond.

alas, it won't likely happen as bottom-line guys will kibosh it.