The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire and Major League Baseball is considering some ground-breaking changes that could alter the course of baseball for years to come.
ESPN reports that Major League Baseball could make a series of changes to the 2012 regular season and postseason. These include shortening the regular season, making the Division Series a best-of-seven series and increasing the amount of wild card teams.
Changes to the 2011 regular season and postseason are unlikely and would be minor.
These changes would be bad for baseball. By the time the World Series comes around, people are tired of watching baseball and that has led to the declining television ratings for the postseason. Adding games to the postseason would only worsen this problem.
Adding more wild card teams would also negatively impact the game. Currently, many teams clinch the postseason early in the season. With more chances to qualify for the playoffs, the possibility of a meaningless September would only increase.
The NFL and NBA have more postseason qualifiers than baseball, which is an argument being used by supporters of postseason reform. Both sports have considerably less games than Major League Baseball does, so it makes sense that more teams should make the postseason.
Furthermore, there have been many instances in the NBA where teams who clearly don’t deserve to make the postseason end up making it.
The one possible change that does make sense is to shorten the regular season. However, the players' union has said that it is unlikely because teams would lose revenue.
I am the last person to feel bad for Major League Baseball in this regard. True, shaving 10 games off the regular season would cause teams to lose millions of dollars, but that is the equivalent of me losing 25 cents.
Even so, I really couldn’t care less about how much excess money is going into the pockets of these already wealthy organizations.
Finally, all of these arguments are aimed at increasing revenue for Major League Baseball. If this is going to continue to be their objective, we might as well send Alex Rodriguez to law school and Albert Pujols to medical school.
In other words, baseball should be shying away from the business aspect, not embracing it.
Baseball is a business. I do not doubt that, but too often, people involved in the sport think they are entitled to much more than they deserve. That alone has been, and will continue to be, very harmful to the sport.
Enough about increasing revenue. Baseball is supposed to be fun for the fans and the players, not a money-making machine. It may just be possible that Derek Jeter doesn't need a spare gold-plated hubcap after all.
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