This Commish For A Day entry comes from Brad, who was good enough to go hog-wild on the balanced schedule idea while eliminating Inter-League play. I thought this made a nice follow-up from the realignment idea earlier this morning. Brad, following his balanced schedule/Interleague reasoning, riffs on a number of the ideas I originally posed. Despite the length of this posting, I included it all.
My one move would be to eliminate interleague play. Here are the repercussions of its elimination.
As for the other suggested moves, allow me some time to explain why I think they are less worthy of being changed compared to the above-mentioned tact.
Also, let's assume the playoffs were expanded to include two wild card teams per league, those being the two teams with the top records of non-division winners. Here are the second wild card teams that would have been added since the Wild Card began in 1995:
2008: Mets & Yankees
2007: Padres & Tigers or Mariners
2006: Phillies & White Sox
2005: Phillies & Indians
2004: Giants & Athletics
2003: Astros & Mariners
2002: Dodgers & Mariners or Red Sox
2001: Giants & Twins
2000: Dodgers & Indians
1999: Reds & Athletics
1998: Giants & Blue Jays
1997: Mets or Dodgers & Angels
1996: Rockies & Red Sox, White Sox or Mariners
1995: Astros & Angels
Other than the Blue Jays, all of these teams have already seen the playoffs between 1995-2008. The Pirates, Royals, Orioles, Brewers, Rangers, or Expos/Nationals would still have been the curdle of the inept crop. Yes, adding another team would increase fan interest as the end of the regular season approaches, but the 14-season data indicates the playoff appearance benefit for teams would be as cyclical as the quality of individual franchise management. Add in all the other scheduling issues added playoff teams cause (along with the as-yet unmentioned likelihood of more off time between games which can decrease the quality of play), and this doesn't seem like a good move.
All in all, while while I'm loathe to accept it, adding playoff teams does have great potential benefit. There is additional TV money to be had, and it does increase fan interest as teams could remain in contention longer and another team would make the playoffs. It all seems to contradict the regular season, though. Why have 162 games to determine the playoff-worthy teams if so many are going to make the playoffs? Add two more playoff teams and then one-third of the teams will qualify each year. That seems a bit much for my tastes and it leads to some scheduling issues. While I don't like the overall idea, and there are some quirks to work through, it's hard to deny the strengths of adding more playoff teams. Knowing my luck, this will be the next big move Selig makes.
Another point: Baseball's guaranteed contracts, which would likely disappear under a cap system, make things intelligible for fans. Teixeira looks like a great move for NY, but will they regret it in the later years since the contract can't be voided and they're on the hook for all of the money? Perhaps a better example would be Todd Helton of the Rockies. Fans love him, he was once an elite player, and everyone now seems to wish he weren't a financial burden. But at least it all makes sense. If we had NFL style cap rules, the Rockies would release him in mid-January (about a month before Spring Training, just like how NFL teams release players in early June), and fans would have no way of understanding how the Helton contract impacted the franchise even after the player was released.
I think it's good for fans that all of these commitments are clearly understandable, not like those 39-year old NFL safeties signing 5-year contracts to spread out the salary cap impact even though it's unlikely the player will reach year 3 of the deal, let alone the near-certainty he won't play all the years.
There are too many franchise-owned [Regional Sports Networks] which could adjust their rights fees for their own benefit. Right now, MLB is concerned that a team like the Yankees undervalues its YES rights fees. What can the league do if the Yankees start overvaluing those rights fees?. On top of that, why should the Pirates have to raise their payroll because the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field may strongly inflating league-wide revenues? Combined, I've seen estimates that those new stadiums could mean a total of around $1-1.2 billion. Can all other teams withstand the accompanying salary structure these NY-based revenues might cause?
I don't know, but if I'm a Diamondbacks fan I don't want to hear anyone explain my rising ticket prices have gone up because the team had to raise payroll in accordance with league rules.
Other moves I considered but disregarded (I'll spare you the reasons):
For previous CFAD entries:
- Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
- Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS
- Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites
- Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay
- Commish For A Day #5: Playing by the rules
- Commish For A Day #6: 40 Man Roster
- Commish For A Day #7: No DH!
- Commish For A Day #8: Realignment