Starting 13: raising the quality of baseball
since I can’t seem to fix anything, might as well float a wonderful/impossible proposal.
In too many baseball games today, fans are not allowed to see Best vs Best. It’s ridiculous. And it’s tradition.
Am I about to plug spreading the DH to the National League? Nope. Why go for a half-measure?
Let’s get this right. Every baseball team should have a defensive squad: the eight best fielders they can put together. And a few starting pitchers, and a few relievers. And every baseball team should have the best offensive squad they can assemble. I’m thinking four batters is perfect, but five could work. Eight, nine or ten would be ridiculous.
And the result? Day after day fans would get to watch the best hitters face the best pitchers, backed up by the best fielding. The quality of the play would soar. No longer would the steady hands, no-hit infielder be a compromise – he would proudly take the field without creating weakness in the order. And no longer would the powerful slugger create a question mark at first base.
There would be whining about losing strategy. But football does fine with separate offensive and defensive squads. Why not baseball?
And old players would insist they could play both ways… and they would, for a while.
Top pitchers would thrive. But the middle of the pack might not do so well. Imagine facing Albert Pujols every inning, sometimes twice an inning? Perhaps more days off would make sense.
We would see the top hitters every inning. And only the top hitters.
Managers would have new strategic questions – 3 guys who can hit the gap, and a slugger? 4 guys who swing for the fences? 4 speedy, high average hitters?
And think of the emphasis on quality defense.
They’ll never do it. Makes too much sense. And we will continue to pretend that it is exciting to watch the light-hitting defensive replacement at 3rd swing at the third middle reliever’s breaking balls. Instead of watching the best face the best in every at bat.