The recent Weekly Writing Challenge called for a focus on history in the making. With a new commissioner of Major League Baseball on the horizon I thought I’d write a letter.
Dear Major League Baseball Commissioner Search Committee,
Outgoing Commissioner Bud Selig has been considerate enough to give you more than a year to select his successor, having announced he will retire at the end of next season. No doubt you have already begun putting together a list of criteria and qualities that you will be looking for in the new commissioner. You may even have some candidates that you are going to approach. Before it is too late I wanted to suggest a few things that may make your selection if not easier, a little bit better.
The new commissioner should be open to adding available technology to improve the game while not losing sight of baseball’s long heritage of human imperfection.
The new commissioner should be open to adding available technology to improve the game while not losing sight of baseball’s long heritage of human imperfection. It’s one thing to use video replay to confirm fair or foul balls, but let’s keep in mind that the game is played and officiated by humans. The odd blown call at second is as much a part of the game as a player error. Tennis is a game that lends itself well to technology with all those uniform straight lines and a minimum number of players to block views. I suspect there are those who have already created “smart bases” that will somehow electronically eliminate the need for umpires. Please avoid candidates who express a keen desire to update the game in this way, it works just fine thank you.
In a similar vein, please rule out anyone who wants to push for uniformity. While all infields conform to set dimensions, the rest of the field varies by stadium. This includes foul territory, bullpen placement and of course depth and shape of outfields, and can best be summed up as character. Anyone who says anything such as “Well, that Green Monster in Boston is quaint, but really doesn’t belong in a major league ballpark” should be immediately discounted.
The incoming commissioner will have to deal with the ongoing scourge of performance enhancing drugs that at times overshadows the game itself. They say a new broom sweeps clean, and that’s exactly what needs to be done with those who are caught using any drugs. Three strikes and you’re out should only apply to batters.
… the new commissioner must demonstrate that he or she has a love of the game and its history. … running a huge corporation is no doubt an asset, but baseball needs more than just a bean counter.
Involving more teams in post season play is fine, but the new one game wold card playoff has to go. Baseball is all about averages and trends over time, not one game winner take all play. During the regular season teams play series, not individual games like other sports. Why then does a one game playoff make sense in the post season?
On the whole the new commissioner must demonstrate that he or she has a love of the game and its history. It’s not sufficient that they have proven themselves in business; running a huge corporation is no doubt an asset, but baseball needs more than just a bean counter.
Thanks for your time.