MLB: National Pastime in the 21st Century

Jon S.Contributor IOctober 12, 2008

On Aug. 20, 2008, Major League Baseball signed an agreement with the World Umpires Association, approving the implementation of instant replay for disputed home-run calls. With a vote of 25-5 in favor of using instant replay, general managers used this significant step to bring baseball into a modern era.

Even though the NFL has had replays since 1986, the sport has adapted even more with the use of technology. Within the two-minute mark of the second and fourth quarters, the replay booth uses a specialized electronic pager with a vibrating alert to signal the referees.

In NBA basketball, officials watch a replay of last-second shots to determine a team's victory. Beginning of last season, they can now review brawls for ejections and flagrant fouls.

While our "National Pastime" has taken this bold move into the use of replay, here are three more steps, I believe, will help bring Major League Baseball to take a more drastic step in the 21st century.


1. The use of a Designated Hitter in BOTH leagues

On Jan. 11, 1973, the American League owners voted 8-4 to approve the designated hitter for a three-year trial run. To this day, the result has brought a higher batting average than the National League and protection to their pitchers.

The last injury came to Chien-Ming Wang of the New York Yankees on June 15, 2008. Wang had pitched five scoreless innings until he was rounding the bases on a single hit by Derek Jeter. As Wang rounded second, he partially tore a tendon and sprained his right foot, not only ending his game, but his season.

After the game was over, Hank Steinbrenner had a message to the N.L., "I just think it's time the N.L. joined the 21st century."


2. Unify the numbers

In 1997, Mark McGwire hit a major-league total of 58 home runs and didn't win the home-run crown. 34 of his home runs came with the Oakland A's before being traded to the National League, St. Louis Cardinals.

This 2008 season, Manny Ramirez was traded from the American League, Boston Red Sox, to the National League, L.A. Dodgers. While there are talks about winning a possible National League MVP, chances are less than likely, since he played in the NL for only 51 games. If you combine his total stats for both leagues, only Ramirez and Albert Pujols would finish in the top seven in home runs, RBI, avg, OBP, SLG, and OPS.

Before the 1997 season, teams in the American League and National League did not meet during the regular season. Now, since interleague play is here, why not combine stats and have only one MVP, one Cy Young, to go with one World Series Champion.


3. Fewer games, more rest

While I know this will never happen, just think of the possibilities. It takes nine months from Spring Training in mid-February, 162 regular-season games, to the end of October playoffs. By the time the season is over, it seems like players are already arriving to train for next season.

Fewer games provides more rest. More rest allows starting pitchers more games, while allowing the playoffs a full healthy lineup.

One can complain about owners and their revenues. However, you could argue that less games can provide more sellout crowds, unless you live in the state of Florida.

While we are at it, don't play games on Saturday and Sunday night. They are pointless and kids are not allowed to enjoy the games when they're ending at midnight. All weekend games should be in the afternoon.


In conclusion, while the third rule may never happen, I would love to see a N.L. DH and one unified statistical award.