A commissioner is needed, not bigger bases

A commissioner is needed, not bigger bases

Baseball doesn’t need bigger bases.

It needs to drop the price of beer. It also needs to drop the price of hot dogs and everything else inside the Major League ballparks.

Yet, bigger bases, not a price decrease, are in the works for Major League Baseball, most likely starting next year. They will go from 15 inches to 18 inches square.

The bigger bases will be tried out in Triple-A this season.

Baseball’s thinkers say that it will prevent injuries by giving the runners three more inches to slide around defenders. They also think it will provide more action by making it easier to steal bases.

Next up, look for really big bats and larger baseballs. Maybe make the pitcher throw underhand. That will increase the action of a game that was darn near perfect before Rob Manfred took over as commissioner.

While the baseball thinkers concoct ways to make it easier to swipe a bag, the price of a beer at Wrigley Field is $9.75. A hot dog cost $6.25.

Ticket pries are also outrageously high. In 2021, it cost an average of $253 for four people to go to one regular-season baseball game.

Apparently, that figure includes “four adult non-premium tickets, single-car parking, two draft beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs and two adult-sized adjustable hats.”

As if four people can get by with just two beers. So, add at least $50 to that.

Sure, you can save a few bucks by bringing your own hat, but you will be sitting in the Bob Uecker seats.

If you want the good seats, you will probably have to go on the secondary market and pay a whole lot more.

Watching the games at home is a better option, but it certainly isn’t cheap. The MLBTV app cost went up $10 to $129.99 after the lockout. The Extra Innings package on DirecTV rose to $139.99.

Baseball doesn’t need a pitch clock.

It needs better owners.

While it takes an incredible talent, a whole lot of work and some luck to make it to the big leagues as a baseball player, all you have to be is rich to own a baseball team. Really rich.

While the owners most certainly worked for their money, a good chunk of their fortune also came from inheritance and a whole bunch of luck. None of them made money because they were good at owning baseball teams.

The only thing they know is that they want more money to add on the pile.

Yeah, you want to blame the millionaire players for demanding such outrageous contracts, but the fact that the owners always pay it shows that the players are worth it to them.

Don’t fall for the line that takes sides with the billionaires over the millionaires. To put it into context, a million seconds is 11.5 days. A billion seconds is 31.5 years.

It only takes one second to realize that putting advertising patches on players is a bad idea. Yet, that is what the owners are going to do. They are going to make every player look like Phil Mickelson so they can bring in a few more bucks.

They are also falling for the television network lie that baseball games are too long. That is why they want a pitch clock to speed things up.

That is also why they are going back to the automatic runner on base to start each extra inning.

Why on earth would a businessman who sells hotdogs for $6.25 want the crowd to clear out so quickly? You would think that business sense would tell you the longer the game the better.

If the fans don’t like it, they can go home. Or they can change the channel.

If you have ever been to a big league ballpark for a game and complained that the game was too long, then you should have your head examined.

At the very least, you should not be the fan baseball caters to.

The automatic runner is just a crime. It is also maddening to hear announcers and reporters refer to the runner as a “ghost runner.”

A ghost runner is a runner who earned his way on base, but he isn’t there. Baseball’s automatic runner is the exact opposite.

Any kid who ever played a backyard baseball game can tell you that.

While claiming they want the games to get over faster, the owners are also whining about the need for more hits and runs. Well, more hits and runs will lead to longer games.

To make that contradiction a reality, the owners want to move the mound back a foot and outlaw the shift.

A shift means that the defense moves its infielders away from their traditional positions. Sometimes, you will see extreme shifts where there is no infielder on the left side of second base.

They used to call that the “Ted Williams Shift,” and it got crazy when the Ivy League geeks started taking over front offices of teams earlier this century.

If an owner wants to beat the shift, he just has to hire a coach who can teach players to bunt or hit the ball the opposite way. It really is that simple.

The Red Sox once put an extreme shift on Ken Griffey Jr. when the Mariners still played on the Astro Turf of the Kingdome.

Junior said “thank you very much” and dropped a bunt down the third base line for a double. The next time he was up, the shift was gone.

Any fan in a sports bar can tell you how to beat the shift. Any fan in a sports bar would generally make a better owner than any of the rich guys who currently own baseball teams.

Baseball doesn’t need a draft lottery to discourage tanking.

It needs a real commissioner to protect the game from looney owners.

The days of a commissioner ensuring the integrity of the game are gone. Long gone. For decades, the commissioner’s office has consisted as one shill for the owners after another.

Just when we thought they couldn’t possibly get worse than Bug Selig, Manfred came along and said, “Hold my cosmopolitan.”

It makes you shudder to think how bad the next guy will be.

If a team like, say, the Orioles is tanking and not spending any money on payroll, a real commissioner would just cut off the sharing of the national TV money. Problem solved.

Manfred is making $11 million a year, and he cannot come up with that? Instead, that $11 million is buying us one bad idea after another.

You literally could not mess up baseball more than Manfred has if you tried.

We are, after all, talking about the guy who decided to eliminate 43 minor league baseball teams around the country.

Under no circumstances should the answer to any problem in baseball be “less baseball” when you are the commissioner of baseball.

In addition to providing a place for future MLB players to develop, those minor league parks plant the seed for more fans to follow the big leagues.

How anyone could think cutting minor league baseball could be a good thing is criminally mind boggling.

Not only is Manfred easily the worst commissioner baseball has ever seen, he’s the worst commissioner in the history of sports.

He almost makes Roger Goodell seem likable. Almost.

Literally any kid who ever played a game of backyard baseball would make a better commissioner.

Even the ones who didn’t play can tell you there is no need to make the bases bigger.

— Bill Foley, who also makes Roger Goodell seem likable, writes a column that appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74.



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