There is a new sherif in town. He goes by the name of Robert D. Manfred, who has just been hired to become baseball's 10th commissioner in the sport's history. We say goodbye to Bud Selig, and hello to a whole new realm of possibilities in the sport of baseball. Here are three things that I would like to see Manfred achieve while he is in office.
1. Reinstate Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame
The one thing that always troubled me while Selig was commissioner was the fact that he would not allow Pete Rose into the Hall of Fame. For those unfamiliar with Rose's troubles, he gambled for the Reds to win while he was manager of the team from 1984 to 1989. Rose was banned of Hall of Fame entry by then commissioner Bart Giamatti. He applied for reinstatement during Fay Vincent's (Giamatti's successor) term as commissioner, but he kept Rose banned from the Hall. When Vincent left the position to Bud Selig, Rose again applied for reinstatement, but was once again denied entry to the Hall of Fame.
Enough time has passed to let Rose into the Hall. Rose is the MLB's all-time leader in hits (4,256), at bats (14,053), plate appearances (15,890), and games played (3,562). What he did wrong was while he was manager, not while he was a player. Yes, I do understand that what he did was wrong. But he did it after all the years while he had created a Hall of Fame pedigree. He was "clean" while he was playing, and he deserves to go into the Hall for his playing career. If he had gained a Hall of Fame pedigree as a manger, yes it would be a different story, but he did no wrong while he was playing. I hope Rob Manfred understands that and lets one of the game's greatest into the Baseball Hall of Fane.
2. Improve Pace of Play
Whether it would be to create a pitch clock (where pitchers would have to deliver their next pitch in a specific time period), force hitters to stay in the batter's box in between pitchers, or both, baseball needs to fix something that has hurt the game's popularity with the younger generation for a long time now. In the last issue of my Middle School's newspaper, I wrote that my generation has brushed baseball off its shoulders, and has gotten more interested in higher scoring affairs, or "faster-paced" affairs, such as football, hockey, lacrosse, basketball, and other sports.
While I enjoy the game of baseball as it is, I do want the game to be able to be loved for generations to come. Many of my friends find the game very boring, and do not want to sit in front of their TVs for three hours to watch a ballgame. It is that simple. Going to the game is still fun, but the reason that baseball is no longer registering high TV ratings is because nobody has the time or the attention span to watch a game. Even if the people are at the game, many leave in the seventh or eighth innings, before the game ends, because it is too "late." Manfred has to find a way to keep the sport at its nine inning length (to appeal to the traditionalists), but also has to keep the games under three hours.
3. Add the designated hitter in the National League
The designated hitter needs to be added to the National League. First, with all the interleague play that occurs during the season, the away team is given a huge disadvantage, because either their pitchers are not used to swinging a bat or the manager has to put a bench player in at the DH spot. This really can give the team with home-field advantage in the World Series a big boost, even bigger than the fact that four of the seven games are being played in front of their home crowd.
I do not want to remove the DH from the American League for two reasons. First of all, this generation like scoring, and while that would slow down the game, seeing more extra base hits and runs being scored is something that appeals to many of the younger fans, even more than a fast-paced game. Second, removing the DH from the American League would cause full-time designated hitters, like David Ortiz, to lose their jobs, and perhaps be forced to retire. I hope Mr. Manfred does see that adding a DH to the NL would make the game better, in a sense.
While there are many more issues that I would like Rob Manfred to work on, these three things are on the top of my priority list in being changed as the 10th commissioner of baseball steps into office in January 2015. The new sherif needs to make a positive impact on the sport with the changing world around him. It would really improve the modernness of the game of baseball.