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The world would swing, if I were king (of baseball)

August 17, 2014 - Zach Baker
Keith Olbermann and I don't agree on much.

And by much, I mean, anything. At least not politically.

Olbermann, who once hosted a show on MSNBC that focused almost exclusively on politics, returned to ESPN about a year ago to do a sports show.

In the 90s, before he re-invented himself as a political pundit, Olbermann was yucking it up with Dan Patrick on ESPN's flagship show SportsCenter. He was great in that role. I always enjoyed his work there.

Of course, I had no idea what his politics were. The MSNBC show cleared that up. But now that he's back on ESPN, I can (usually) sit through his commentaries without losing it.

But Olbermann did do a very interesting thing. He held a mock press conference where he was announced as the new commissioner of baseball. And to my surprise, I agreed with almost all the changes he instituted.

But it did make me think: If I were running MLB, what changes would I make? Hey, that's why I have a blog, right?

1. Abolish the designated hitter.

Most of my friends, born in American League cities, know little but the DH. So they don't understand why — being born in an AL city — I detest it so much.

When you went out to play baseball, did you just want a bat? No, you needed a glove. When you pitched, you got to hit too. Hit, pitch, run, field. The game is one of specialization, but not one where you only have to do one thing. (OK, David Ortiz is an exception.)

People always say they don't like watching a pitcher hit. Those people never saw Bob Gibson hit (I didn't either, but I know he hit 26 career home runs). They also miss the point.

American League Baseball is an incomplete game. I have friends who don't understand what a double switch is. In fact, I think there are PLAYERS who don't know what a double switch is. It's simple. Bring in a pitcher, and bring in a fielder so you can switch spots in the batting order so the fielder bats before the pitcher.

Sure, some people want to see old players who can't field stay in the game.

Personally, I could do with never seeing Ortiz flip a bat again.

2. End interleague play.

Wow, do I hate interleague play. The novelty of AL and NL teams playing each other is dead. Derek Jeter's retirement is sad for me not because I'll miss him (he had too many big hits against the Indians for that) but because he's just about the only guy left who played when the American and National Leagues only met at All-Star Games. Now, a game between teams in different leagues has all the intrigue of a Golden State Warriors-Atlanta Hawks mid-January clash. Yawn.

To be continued...


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