OPINION: Make baseball great again

Sean Blevins headshot

Sean Blevins

I love the game of baseball, but there are so many things about it that need revamped or modified.

I think most people’s main concern about baseball is that the pace of play is extraordinarily slow compared to other sports. That pace, coupled with several other issues is, in my mind, the main reason for the MLB’s decline in ratings and attendance. That said, I have no issues with the speed of the game, but almost everyone else in the world does. There are many small changes, that if implemented, could possibly revive a dying sport.

Some groundbreaking changes that players and executives have proposed recently are ideas like implementing an electronic strike zone, putting a 20-second pitch clock in, limiting instant replay, decreasing the amount of mound visits allowed per game and requiring pitchers to throw to a minimum of three hitters. All of these ideas are totally feasible and would surely help speed up the pace of play.

Another thing wrong with the MLB is its free agency system. Players currently have to wait six full service seasons before they can enter free agency, it should not be that way. This causes players to be relatively old by the time they are eligible for free agency. Some teams are also holding phenomenal prospects in the minors for far too long, which angers fans and players alike. I also think the MLB should limit the length of player contracts because no player should be signing a 10-year contract, no matter how good they are. The NBA has a five-year limit and the NHL has a seven-year cap. Over the past 20 years, there has been an abundance of players who have signed massive contracts that have not worked out the way that teams thought they would. Players like Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton, to name a few. The only player in the MLB that I would hand a blank check over to is Mike Trout, who is rumored to receive the largest contract in professional sports history soon.

The current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) ends in 2021 and there are growing concerns that there will be a player strike when it runs out. The MLBPA signed a horrible deal back in 2016, one that has backfired on them.

Almost every team has been reluctant to sign free agents this offseason and that has led the MLBPA to believe that the owners are colluding against them. Owners are basically refusing to sign anyone over the age of 30 and that is certainly not good for anyone. The current CBA is broken and many of the aforementioned issues will need to be addressed or there will be a long lockout in 2021.

I will always love the timeless game of baseball, but there are so many things behind the scenes that need modified or the game will be left behind if they refuse to adapt.

Sean Blevins is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].