MLB: Realignment Among 5 Changes Bud Selig Needs to Make to the Game
The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies alone are not enough to keep Major League Baseball viable into the future. The league has some very important and crucial changes that it needs to make in order to compete for the sports dollars fans are spending.
Baseball is the only sport where both those inside and outside the game remain determined to hold on to tradition no matter how detrimental it is to its popularity and success.
Here are changes that MLB can make to improve the game.
Jamal Wilburg is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
You can follow him on Twitter @JWilburg
More Color Uniform Matchups
Baseball can be a very boring sport to watch on television. Part of the reason is because it is the least visually stimulating of any of the major sports.
We live in a world of High-Definition television that produces very vivid colors on LCD screens, yet most baseball games still pair white uniforms against gray uniforms.
There is no reason not to add more color on color matchups. Black and white televisions are a thing of the past and so should this tradition. Obviously New York Yankees pinstripes, Chicago Cubs pinstripes, and Dodgers white uniforms are too traditional to change. However, the Tampa Bay Rays light blue against the Oakland A's green seen above was a very nice uniform matchup to watch. The same scene in white and gray would not be as exciting.
A lot of teams now have nice color uniforms and it would be nice to see them more often.
Some divisional realignment could also create some added excitement in baseball. The obvious need is to balance the number of teams in each league and division.
With that in mind, I would move the Houston Astros from the NL Central to the AL West. This would not only balance every division to five teams but also create an in-state divisional rivalry between the Astros and Rangers.
I would also swap the Tampa Bay Rays and the Washington Nationals among the AL East and NL East. This would create a regional trio of the Rays, Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins. Also, it puts the Nationals in a potential local rivalry with the Baltimore Orioles. It keeps travel costs down by segmenting a majority of the northeast and southeast teams together.
The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays make up a third of the Tampa Bay Rays regular season schedule. This is significant because all three teams are above .500 this season. In contrast, the Detroit Tigers have the luxury of playing a third of its games against teams that are currently below .500 this season.
The way the postseason is setup in baseball, with the three division winners and one wild card from each league qualifying, makes the scheduling disparity a serious issue. How can teams be expected to compete for the same singular wild card spot while playing schedules with varying degrees of difficulty.
Whether the solution is shorter schedules or fewer divisional games the schedule is definitely in need of balance.
Expanded Instant Replay
There is a pink elephant with large glasses and polka dots in the middle of Bud Selig's office. That elephant is expanded instant replay.
The technology already exists and just needs to be implemented. What is the point of having players and fans endure over six hours of baseball for the ending to be so amateur? The "human element" argument has been proven inadequate.
In the social media and Internet world that we live in, whether or not the league institutes replay the officials will continue to suffer ridicule from fans, managers and players for human errors that could have been corrected.
It is time Selig provides his officials with the tools necessary to do their jobs correctly, efficiently and remove the unnecessary scrutiny from their jobs.
Selig argues that expanded replay would affect the pace of the game. I am sure that replay would take up less time than the manager arguments when calls are made. You also can't talk about the pace of a game in which there is no clock.
Let's attempt to get the calls right.
Along with the balanced schedule, the postseason is in need of expansion. It's not healthy for the sport when the American League wild card race is virtually locked in with two months remaining on the schedule.
Adding an additional wild card to the postseason will keep more excitement through August and September each season. The Tampa Bay Rays were expected to be sellers at the trade deadline since they were presumed to be out of the playoff race, although they were second in the wild card race at the time.