If I ever became Commissioner of Baseball, there are a whole lot of things I would do and change. I have narrowed down my list to 10, and here it is (in no particular order of execution):
1. I would eliminate the Intentional Walk. As I've said before, it is "chicken" to walk someone on purpose just to get to the next batter. You can go ahead and throw 4 straight balls to a batter, but don't make it so obvious, with the catcher standing 50 feet from the plate. And how often does it even work? The Intentional Walk, GONE!
2. I would eliminate the Designated Hitter. It's only been around for about 40 years, so no one will miss it (except for maybe "Big Papi"). Let the pitchers bat - it's part of the strategy!
3. Fine a player every time he strikes out looking. Don't just stand there; swing! Even if it's an ugly swing and you look like a fool trying to hit a ball that wasn't meant to be hit, you look even more foolish just standing there doing nothing. Just ask Jayson Werth.
4. All baseball parks will have to be retro-fitted so they all have the same outfield dimensions. Why should Yankee Stadium's center field be at 408 feet while Wrigley Field's is at 400? And don't even mention the funky dimensions of Fenway Park! I'm all about the Green Monster, but does there really have to be that weird cut-out in left field? All parks will have to have the same measurements; let the owners worry about how to pay for that!
5. All uniforms will have to be "uniform." White at home and gray on the road. No special jerseys in bright colors; no "weekend" jersey; and for the love of mankind, everyone's last name must be on the back of their jersey. Sorry, Yankees and Red Sox - I know you all haven't changed your uniforms since 1885, but some of us like knowing who the players are from behind!
6. I would eliminate inter-league play. It's unnecessary, and it takes away from the excitement of the World Series. Leave the inter-city "rivalries" for Spring Training, when the Yankees can play the Mets, Pirates can play the Phillies, and Nationals can play the Orioles.
7. All players must look presentable. There is a difference between the long hair of Rickie Weeks and Tim Lincecum and the long hair of Manny Ramirez. If you look like you haven't washed in weeks, get a haircut! And I'm not anti-tattoo, but baseball players should not look like Dennis Rodman. Oh, and get rid of those stupid rope necklaces; they're distracting and just plain ugly! And before you start saying that I sound more and more like Marge Schott, I'm OK with facial hair (which Marge was not); just keep it trimmed and looking nice (not like Brian Wilson).
8. I would revoke the ban on Pete Rose. Yes, he bet on baseball and even on his own team. No, he does not belong in the Hall of Fame (he belongs in the record books, but not in the actual Hall where the player plaques are). But I think the lifetime ban was pretty harsh. I would not let him manage, but he would be a very good commentator/analyst. He would be way better than Dennis Eckersley is for TBS Sports.
9. I would ban the "Tomahawk Chop." I'm all for fans showing support for their team, but that Chop is just downright annoying. Why can't people just clap or cheer? You can hurt yourself making the chopping motions and may even end up with lateral epicondylitis. Stop it, Braves fans!
10. I would ban tobacco products from baseball. Dipping looks ugly and spitting is gross. And why doesn't anyone ever mention the effects of tobacco on oral health? No one has mentioned that Tony Gwynn has had numerous cancerous tumors removed from his mouth. Stick to chewing gum like Adam Jones and Iván Rodriguez - a root canal due to tooth decay is not as bad as losing the roof of your mouth to cancer.
So there you have it - my top 10 list of things I would change if I ever became Commissioner of Baseball. Now if only Bud Selig would read my blog...