MLB's 5 Biggest Headaches

James MaahsContributor IIINovember 15, 2012

MLB's 5 Biggest Headaches

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    Major League Baseball has had its fair share of headaches and problems that would turn any fan off from the game they love.

    Though while problems do exist, fans find ways to ignore them and even forget their presence altogether.

    Bad calls by umpires, the increasing length of MLB games and the fact that some teams are struggling to get fans to the ballpark. All these come up around the league and have to be dealt with in a timely manner.

    These are Major League Baseball's five biggest headaches:

Pitching Helmets

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    It's hard to imagine the game without the inclusion of helmets. Catchers and hitters must wear the headgear when they step up to the plate and get 90-mph fastballs thrown at them.

    Is it time to say the same for pitchers?

    While standing 60 feet in front of home plate, the pitcher is one of the closest players to the hitter. It may be time to experiment with a pitcher's helmet, since they can prevent concussions and even worse head injuries.

    In Game 2 of the World Series between the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants, pitcher Doug Fister was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Gregor Blanco. He remained in the game until the sixth inning when he finally was taken out.

    The decision to keep Fister in that game was risky at best. He could of been concussed and worsened the symptoms by playing through the pain.

    That is just one example of why the pitching helmet looks to be a legitimate option in the near future. The safety of players in all sports is becoming a main priority after a rash of head trouble was linked to sports-related concussions.

    As of right now, Major League Baseball is looking into the matter and may experiment with pitcher's helmets in the minors.

Where to Go with Instant Replay?

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    Instant replay has been a recurring issue for the players, Major League Baseball, and even die-hard fans that examine clips online.

    The main question now: where does instant replay stand in future seasons?

    According to FoxNews.com, Major League Baseball is considering an expansion of instant replay for future seasons. Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations, said that it would expand to two additional types of calls (via FoxNews.com):

    He was talking about really basically fair-foul, trap plays. But we're looking into more than that. We still have some questions on the way it is now, if that's going to fit with baseball. I'm not saying it can't be adjusted or they can do something would make it work for our game.

    It's a headache that's here to stay after it was introduced into baseball back in August 2008 to see if home runs were fair and cleared the fences.

    Both sides of the argument can be made on the issue. Some fans may not want to ruin the history of the game, leaving it to the umpires to make all the rulings and calls on the field. Some agree that it would more accurately determine game winners; the umpires can only see so much on the field.

Bad Calls by Umpires

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    Umpires, in general, need to be on top of their game in order to correctly call the game on the field.

    Although, some calls are bound to be incorrect, leaving many players and fans disgruntled at the end result of the game. 

    Over the past two years, the amount of bad calls by the umpires has increased.

    Most recently, a bad call was made in the NL Wild Card game between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. With one out in the eighth inning, Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons hit a a fly ball to left field. The ball dropped between two Cardinals in the outfield, and the Braves thought that they had bases loaded with one out. 

    However, left-field umpire Sam Holbrook made a delayed infield-fly rule as the ball approached the ground. Simmons was called out and fans grew angry as it pretty much eliminated any chance of a comeback.

    Atlanta would lose the game 6-3 and watch their playoff hopes go up in smoke; controversy would ensue shortly after.

    Calls like these have become so devastating to big MLB games; some might even say that these calls are ruining the game.

    Scrutiny is bound to increase, so will the pressure on MLB umpires to call the game as accurately as humanly possible.

Length of MLB Games

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    The average MLB game is taking longer to complete then it did 40 years ago.

    According to MLB.com, the average game time in the 1970s was two hours and 30 minutes long. Today's average game time is two hours and 45 minutes long.

    Give or take, 15 minutes may not seem like that long of a time for many fans. Though it's not just length that matters, it's the question of what's different in the game today that makes it 15 minutes longer?

    Pitchers are taking longer on the mound while watching to make sure that base runners don't steal another base. Batters are walking out of the batter's box after every pitch to readjust their helmets and put more pine tar on the bat. Coaches are switching up their roster every few innings to get the best quality players out on the field.

    All of these are valid reasons why the game is a little bit longer than in the past, and all of these need to be reviewed by the MLB.

    The longer any organization lets the players take up time the sooner they use it as a strategic advantage. If momentum is not in your team's favor, back away from the pitching mound and call the catcher to discuss options.

    A faster game in the future will be key to gaining and even retaining MLB fans.

Television Blackouts

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    Every fan deserves to watch the game that they love.

    With Commissioner Bud Selig still in power, blackouts may be here for a while. This is even more true since Major League Baseball makes a good profit on blackout deals.

    Fans are unable to watch certain games due to the regions that they live in. Worse yet, baseball is likely willing to pay a premium to keep these blackouts, which will also keep their business model intact.

    The time has come to end these blackouts and let the fans, who pay good money, keep up with MLB action through their television or computer.

    It could greatly benefit the game's fanbase by allowing young fans to see the game in ways they might not have been able to without a subscription to the MLB Network.

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