Let's Shake Up Baseball!

Rodd CaytonCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2009

Baseball is the most traditional and quintessential American sport.
It's a day at the park; throw the ball around, sit a spell, and you leave when you leave.

Sad thing what steroids, greed, and television have done to the former national pastime.

Here's what I feel Major League Baseball needs to regain its heft.

Inter-League Play

I was against inter-league play initially, but now I guess I'm for it. I'd change it up so that each team plays one three-game series against each team in the other league. That way, you're all on level ground in the league race.

The Juice

Fans deserve a clean game. Random testing for everybody, and a 162-game ban without pay for a first positive test.

The Playoffs

A simple idea: Let's play as few night playoff games as possible. World Series games don't start until almost 9:00 pm now, and if you live on the East Coast you are sometimes forced to catch the final score in the paper the next day.

At a minimum, let's have weekend World Series games start no later than 6:00 pm EST. This "Baseball-as-the-Carson-Show" stuff is costing the game young fans by the thousands.

Now you traditionalists will definitely not like this one: Expand the playoffs to 16 teams.

Make the first round a one-game crap-shoot. That'll restore some sanity to the bidding wars. It will encourage team building rather than signing a few megastars who could go "Poof!" in one bad outing.

Additionally, it'd keep the Royals and Pirates in the playoff race longer, encouraging them to keep, rather than trade away their young stars. That should also help boost attendance for these clubs in the final months of the season.

The next round, I'd make best-of-three, with all games at the higher seed. Essentially, you'd then be in the same timeframe as the current three-round playoffs.

That's a league we all can enjoy. PLAY BALL!

By the Way

The NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament is the most perfect postseason I can think of. The only thing I'd do differently is re-seed the teams at the College World Series.