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Commissioner for a Day

June 13, 2011 1:23 AM

Some people think that Bud Selig has a difficult job. He's got 30 bosses, multiple unions to deal with, and millions of critics.

Others think that Selig would have a difficult job -- if he did it. I read some recent tongue-in-cheek speculation that there's no reason Selig should retire. He might actually continue indefinitely as commissioner for decades, Weekend At Bernie's-style, with little change in the results.

There's no question that he's a magnet for blame, and hardly a popular personality. The most awkward moment in the recent Killebrew memorial at Target Field was when his name was announced, and the applause covered barely half of the long walk from his seat to the podium. (One also has to question his choice of the black trench coat which, while technically appropriate to the occasion, just reeks of evil.)

Alright, he does have a pretty thankless job. But it's hard to argue that his leadership has been founded on wisdom. It's not that he doesn't love the game -- clearly he does -- but he's a foot-dragger and cow-tow-er, and when decisions have finally been made, they are often somewhat short-sighted.

So imagine my shock when I read of some changes being considered which actually sounded, at least in part, like they might have the long-term health of the game at heart. At first, I thought it had to be parody.

Like you, I've thought about what I might do differently if I were to wake up one day and find myself Commissioner of Baseball. (The job may suck, but is there a cooler title anywhere?) Like you, I've thought from time to time, "Hey, I could do that!"

Still, what follows is not a plea for consideration for the position when he retires. It's a fantasy which answers the question, "What would I do if my name were called and I got to be Commissioner for a day?"

1. National League gets the DH

As a purist, I hate this one, but it's so obvious that I can't believe it hasn't happened yet.

Yes, pitchers should have to hit. It keeps them complete players, and makes them much more valuable on the roster.

Player training and conditioning is so much better now than it ever has been that I can't believe there isn't a way to include both disciplines. In fact, I'd go the other way too and say that every roster should have a few position players who can also pitch regularly. A seven-man bullpen could easily be a 10-man bullpen, and a five-man bench could become an eight-man bench. Managers would surely drool at the additional flexibility.

But the DH genie is out of the bottle. The position lengthens player careers, and helps with the delicate pitcher/hitter balance. (Did you know that pitchers win, on average, more than 7 of every 10 at bats? Strange but true.)

More to the point is that any roster built with a DH position is at an inherent competitive disadvantage when you take it away. While this is a common issue in inter-league play, I care most when it comes to the World Series. No team which has relied upon a DH for the entire season should have to give it up for three or four post-season games.

That's insane.

2. Eliminate all post-season rounds except the World Series

Generally, people consider the expansion of playoffs to be one of Selig's big successful contributions to the game. Indeed, part of the proposal linked above is to add two playoff spots and another round.

But let's face facts: The World Series is no longer a battle to determine the best team in baseball. It has become the final round of a tournament designed to determine which of the top eight regular-season teams is the hottest at the moment.

This very fact is what has led to a central premise of the Twins way. They openly admit that the team is built to win the division, and they'll take their chances in the playoffs. (The only difference between the Twins and the other 29 teams is that they admit this strategy and discuss it openly.)

While I'm sort of interested in watching a post-season tournament like that (if my team isn't out there), I'd care a lot more if it was just the two best teams in baseball out there, as determined by the results of a 162-game schedule, battling for the championship (even if my team wasn't out there).

Look at what might have been if the best team in each league had faced off immediately following the end of the regular season:

2010: Rays and Phillies (Actual: 2nd place Giants over 4th place Rangers)
2009: Yankees and Dodgers (Actual: Yankees over 2nd place Phillies)
2008: Angels and Cubs (Actual: 2nd place Phillies over 2nd place Rays)
2007: Indians and D'backs (Actual: 2nd place Red Sox over 2nd place Rockies)
2006: Yankees and Mets (Actual: 5th place Cards over 3rd place Tigers)
2005: White Sox and Cards (Actual: White Sox over 3rd place Astros)
2004: Yankees and Cards (Actual: 2nd place Red Sox over Cards)
2003: Yankees and Braves (Actual: 3rd place Marlins over Yankees)
2002: Yankees and Braves (Actual: 3rd place Angels over 4th place Giants)

I would put on this face.

For the record, that's 18 teams which have gone to the World Series in the past nine years, and only four of them (22%) were the best team in their league.

Again, insane.

The common argument is that more playoff spots means more markets engaged in the postseason. But that ignores the power of a pennant race (which can engulf many more teams). That thinking also assumes a damaging sort of partisanship, where fans are assumed/ encouraged to ignore any team but their own.

Indeed, the real reason that big market teams secure bigger ratings in the World Series is because the whole marketing apparatus has alienated fans in the other markets. The media positively swoons over just a handful of teams, as if the others are destined for also-ran status. (I'm talking to you, Miller and Morgan. And you, Buck and McCarver. And you, FOX and ESPN knobs too numerous to list.)

It's the difference between caring about the game as National Pastime or caring about my team as entertainment. Say what you want, but I see no reason why the actual teams out there should make any difference in the ratings -- if the fans are truly fans of the game as a whole. It is now the way it is because that approach has been cultivated throughout the marketing of the game (and its financial structure -- more on that later), including the design of the postseason.

Oh, and home team advantage should be decided by record, plain and simple.

And on that score...

3. Realignment and schedule reform

Surprisingly, the elimination of divisions is currently on the table. I like this idea a lot because these mini-leagues that we have now really serve no purpose beyond diluting the goal.

We've all had to admit that we don't care that much about seeing another AL Central Division championship flag go up. Yes, it's something which can be celebrated, and it is an accomplishment in the current environment, but it's hollow and we all know it.

Also a surprise from current deliberations is the idea of moving the Astros to the AL. I think the reasoning (foster rivalry with the Rangers) is faulty, but opening up the subject is a hopeful sign.

They are apparently starting with the notion that unbalanced leagues are a bad thing, and I agree. It should be 15 teams per league, period.

That's a problem in the current environment because there would always have to be an inter-league series in progress somewhere. Without the DH in the NL, that really is a problem. But with the DH throughout the game, no problem at all. In fact, it's an opportunity of the highest order.

I mean, why cram all the inter-league play into a few short bursts? Why not stretch it out across the season where it can draw more attention?

Now, I'm not talking about the inter-league play we have today. I don't give a damn about seeing the Twins play the Giants, beyond its novelty. If we've learned anything about inter-league play, it's that the rivalries are the only series that anybody cares about -- and they care a lot. Cubs-Sox. Yankees-Mets. Dodgers-Angels. These games sell out in a heartbeat.

So my realignment would move three teams between leagues in order to create the closest thing to a natural geographic rival as possible for each team. It's Pittsburgh and the Diamondbacks to the AL, and Toronto to the NL. Then you have inter-league rivalries which look like this:

A's-Giants
Angels-Dodgers
D'backs-Padres
Indians-Reds
Mariners-Rockies
Orioles-Nationals
Pirates-Phillies
Rangers-Astros
Rays-Marlins
Red Sox-Braves
Royals-Cards
Twins-Brewers
Tigers-Blue Jays
White Sox-Cubs
Yankees-Mets

A couple of these are a little forced, I know, but it's never going to be perfect. (Red Sox-Braves is historical as neither has a good geographic rival. And most people don't realize that Detroit and Toronto are only about 200 miles apart, or 100 miles less than the distance between Minneapolis and Milwaukee.)

The key thing is to spread these 30 series out throughout the season so that one of them is being featured at all times. And play the two series in each rivalry as far apart in the schedule as possible. (I know that travel schedules are a consideration, but I don't care. These guys make a lot of money, and this would make them more. They should go wherever needed whenever needed.)

Next I would restore the fully-balanced schedule, again in an attempt to determine in the fairest possible manner which team is the best across a 162-game season. Those games would be split up this way:

- 11 games against each of the other 14 teams in the same league
- 8 games (two 4-game series) against the natural rival

My schedule reform would also include a principle about scheduling series against the same team as far apart time-wise as possible.

4. Officiating reform

This also seems like a no-brainer, and I've started to hear people like Mike Scioscia advocating for it: Adding a replay umpire to each crew. I've written about this before.

There would be no formal challenge process. Managers could request courtesy reviews, and umpires would decide whether to allow them. The ump in the booth could override an ump on the field.

It's really not that hard.

But I'd also advocate for automatic boundary equipment like that found in tennis. Did the ball go over the bag? Over the fence? Was that pitch over the plate? Let lasers do the heavy lifting here.

And finally, it's time to lift the moratorium on showing close calls on the scoreboard. Everything should be eligible, and everything interesting should be replayed. There's no good reason to do anything else.

5. All-Star reform

This one is going to sound pretty radical, but stay with me.

The current format does not work. Fan voting is a joke. The remainder of the process is fraught with flawed reasoning and practices. In short, there's a very real sense that the players just don't care about it like they used to. I have to bet that it's actually an annoyance for the managers -- all of them. At that point in the season, many players seem more to want a few days off.

So I say, scrap it. And scrap the home run derby too (which is the dumbest competition I think I've ever seen).

In its place, create a two-day tournament between four teams (total of three games).

Four managers and GMs are chosen (managers of the year? rotation? honorary? retired?) to manage a team named with some historical monicker no longer in use (Superbas? Knickerbockers? Senators? Mutuals?), and they then each draft a 25-man team from the entire roster of major league players -- either league.

It's kind of like a fantasy league played with real players. Every baseball fan would relate.

The draft itself would be a huge event. Who would get drafted first for each team? There would be tons of decisions to scrutinize and discuss.

Each of the three games would be a huge event, complete with unique (retro or not) uniforms.

There would be no requirement for selecting somebody from every team, but with 100 players being selected, odds are good that every city would be represented somehow. Obviously, there would have to be some limits on the number of players selected from each club (just to prevent shenanigans), and to allow clubs to protect certain players with a valid reason.

But the whole vibe would be different. There would be no formal meaning to the games. The World Series home field advantage would be decided by overall record -- the only logical way to do it.

Too crazy?

6. Media contract reform

Right now, as you probably know, each team negotiates its own media contracts. In the NFL, they negotiate together. The difference is gigantic.

It means that baseball is leaving literally billions on the table. They are living in a dark ages of media, despite the technological advances being developed in the Advanced Media group.

The most visible sign of this is blackouts, which we all hate and generally do not understand. They must end, and the Commish needs to be the one who goes to the teams, sets a firm sunset date for all new contracts, then demands that the teams finally put their heads together to get it right -- for the teams, for the players, and for the fans.

More...

I'm running out of steam here, so I can't get to things like competitive balance initiatives and expansion (New Jersey, Nashville, Portland, Las Vegas). Maybe another time.

I'm waking up from my dream now. I'm just a fan again.

Whew. That would be one busy day.

Comments


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Nice post Rick.
Isn't Bud Selig the "boss of them" (the 30 owners) and not the other way around?

I would like to see some realignment as well as the DH in the NL. I think there could be some good hitting pitchers out there. As far as the schedule, there's 30 teams. I think each team should play the 29 others twice during the season: once at home, once on the road. Most would be three-game series, with a couple two-game series to keep the total games at 162.

I like ESPN's suggestion of moving the Astros to the AL to get the Astros-Rangers rivalry, or the Marlins to get the Marlins-Rays.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 07:03 AM by luke Highlight this comment 1

Well written as usual.

I do disagree with the elimination of the playoffs. Your charge that the playoffs are merely a tournament to determine which of the best regular season teams is the hottest is true of any sport, at any level. This may sound sophomoric, reflexive, and may expose me as (gasp) also a football fan, but I think there's value in measuring both regular season superiority and post-season survivability, when the overall question is, "Who's the best team?". Taking away one of those metrics, in my opinion, lessens your accuracy.

I say this because (hold for roll-of-the-eyes from the purists) I don't think the regular MLB season is any more a "marathon," and therefore no more-able to accurately determine "superiority," than a 17-game NFL season, an 82-game NBA season, or for that matter, a 25-30 game high school basketball season, during which the players are in school full-time. Can the "best" of those regular seasons beat the others in a single-elimination tourney? Play it and find out - don't just hand the Western Conference title to the Spurs instead of the eventual deserving champion Mavericks. Or the 2002 AL title to the Yankees instead of the eventual deserving champion Angels.

I wouldn't expand the playoffs further, but I also wouldn't eliminate them.

Everything else looks good - how soon can you take office?

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 09:24 AM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 2

Well the old kiss of death yours truly will be at the game tommorow! Will my record go to 0-7??? Somethings got to give. No way I can go 0-20 @ TF this year? Maybe the Twins can pay me not to show?

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 09:53 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 3

Rick, it's all about the do re me! Money! Baseball wants to expand the playoffs for tv revenue. I say can the DH. Make the mgrs manage. Realignment for sure. Put Milwaukee back in the AL central and put KC in the west. Instead of 19 divisonal games make it 14. Then play each other team 9 games and inter league play games 16 games for a total of 162.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 10:18 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 4

Selig is in for the short money. A smarter commish would be in for the long money, which is much bigger.

Imagine a World Series where each game gets Super Bowl numbers.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 10:30 AM by Rick 5

That idea scares me, Rick. All I can think of is the number of commercials they would try to squeeze into the broadcast...

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 10:59 AM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 6

Same number of commercials. Each one worth ten times as much.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 11:32 AM by Rick 7

The British are coming! (insert Sarah Palin joke of your choice)

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 11:40 AM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 8

Yikes! Must. Get. Tickets. Now.

For the younger set, Paul McCartney was formerly a member of a group called "Wings." They had a few big hits in the 70s.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 11:46 AM by Rick 9

Nice article Rick.

I remeber "band on the run", but I think Paul is better known for a group he was part of in the 60's.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 11:58 AM by minn55441 Highlight this comment 10

Wha?? Was that when he did the duets with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson?

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:01 PM by Rick 11

Hate to see what the field will look like after that! Better hope it ain't wet or raining! Why not play over at the U of M?

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:03 PM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 12

Just what are you imagining that Paul will do to the field? (I don't think he even wears spikes during concerts anymore.)

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:10 PM by Rick 13

Gotta love the end quote:

"When contacted late Monday morning the Minnesota Twins said they could not comment on or confirm reports of a McCartney concert at Target Field."

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:16 PM by tk Highlight this comment 14

The Twins are so protective of their grass, I cannot imagine the concert looking like it will in NY, click name for map.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:18 PM by tk Highlight this comment 15

The Twins couldn't comment on the possible concert? Do you suppose Paul McCartney has bilateral leg weakness?

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:35 PM by terry Highlight this comment 16

The Twins are protective of their grass?

I love the stadium but The grass looks like shit. For the first two months of the year I assumed it was due to the weather, but now its June, that field should be flawless, yet its an off shade of green, close to brown. You can see dirt in it and then there is the Cuddy Patch. Its been a year since that was put in it is still noticable, did they not use the same grass to patch it? Midway stadium's grass looks better.

In the Twins travels thats one thing I've noticed every other fields grass looks amazing, unlike Target Field. Arizona's looked the best and greenest by far. Oakland's grass is nearly perfect, of course come August the outfield will be destroyed by the roll-a-seats and the Raiders.

If I had anything more than a Point and Shoot camera I would document all the flaws because there are numerous ones.

I still am curious, is the playing field height regulated by MLB? I read that Target Field is kept at 5/8 inch long. This is nearly as short at Astro Truf. Its like playing Baseball on the fairway of a golf course. No wonder it gets chewed up. Couldn't they keep it longer? Growing up I don't think I ever played on a field with grass shorter than two inches, which isn't that long.

The other thing I found amazing was the placement of the sprinkler controls. They couldn't find a way to keep those off of the playing field?

Sorry for the outburst, which I'm cutting short, can't wait to get back there tomorrow night, haven't been there in over a month.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:49 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 17

Duffman, unless your associated with a team that is playing, part of the grounds crew, or part of a pregame celebration, they do not let anyone off the warning track.

I completely agree about the grass at TF, it looks horrible.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 12:56 PM by tk Highlight this comment 18

When I took the $10 stadium tour last October, they let us onto the warning track in front of the visitor's dugout, but made it quite clear we shouldn't walk on the grass.

So, I squatted down on the track, and just ran my fingers through the grass. It's much nicer than the grass at my house!

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 1:04 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 19

I've heard that most types of grass need to be left at least three inches long when cut in order to be thick and healthy. When Noah ran the bases last fall, it was definitely shorter than that.

I know that at one time the team wanted it kept short so it would play like the turf at the Dome. Maybe they aren't over that yet, even though slower grass might do their defense the occasional favor.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 1:12 PM by Rick 20

i gotta agree, for all the hype about our grounds crew i see better fields just scanning on mlb network.

and seems a no-brainer to move the astros to american league west. it's simply not fair to have a division with only 4 teams. I hope they keep the divisional set-up.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 1:17 PM by tim Highlight this comment 21

Agreed puts some scotts fertilzer in there to jack up the color and keep it longer. No way those patches they do should look that faded if they fertilize properly. And go back to the classic checkerboard cut also!

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 1:42 PM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 22

The only thing I have never liked about TF is the grass...

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 1:45 PM by tk Highlight this comment 23

I agree with most of your re-alignment Rick, my suggestion went as followed and simply enough- Astros to NL west with Padres to AL west, (but wouldn't mind AZ there either, I used to live in AZ and went to their first playoff game the year they won the WS, would be fun to watch them play the Twins multiple times). This alignment keeps the Texas interleague rivalry intact and creates one between AZ and SD no matter how you do it. Even with current divisions, moving Toronto to the NL with Pittsburgh to the AL... Pitt to AL east in the Blue jays spot and Toronto to the NL central in the Pirates spot wouldn't be so bad... but Poor Pittsburgh.. haha, I guess it doesn't matter which division their in.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 1:58 PM by jcm-baseball Highlight this comment 24

I'm admittedly still in favor of 3 Division per League. I feel a perrenial late season battle for first place between Chicago and Detroit adds a lot of excitement to a Twins season, with it often coming down to the wire, at least in recent history. It also gives us a chance at another pennant to raise at TF (corky I know) but the chances of the Minnesota Twins raising an AL or WS pennant is very very slim...

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 2:02 PM by jcm-baseball Highlight this comment 25

I picked the D'backs just because the Padres have been around longer. Really, I could go either way. And I love San Diego, so it would be fun to have the Twins travel there multiple times per year as well.

Of course, I'm imagining division-less realignment. Having heard that it's being considered, I'm choosing to treat it as a foregone conclusion. It's so much smarter.

And I think that the Astros-Rangers are much better as an inter-league rivalry.

It's partly about how you define "rivalry". The Yankees and Red Sox are rivals, obviously, and they play each other 19 times per year during the regular season. One could reasonably argue that this and this alone is the primary reason for the unbalanced schedule (network execs wanting as many Yankees-Red Sox games as possible).

If they think you can get something similar from a same-league Rangers-Astros rivalry, they're nuts.

You can't manufacture a same-league rivalry. They develop organically over long periods of time. But an inter-league rivalry exists instantly by default.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 2:07 PM by Rick 26

Based on the crappiness of the patches they've done, and the comments made especially about the RF repair, I suspect the sunlight isn't great for growing grass at TF. They definitely need to let it grow out a little bit and thicken up.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 2:21 PM by jctwins Highlight this comment 27

It was amazing to see Kumala the Ugandan giant aka Hrbek take a huge chuck of that sod all the way down to the sand on the knee slide during the old timers game last year! Was shocked to see it rip up that easy! Divito in tears as he tried to repair it back into place.

http://www.foxsportsnorth.com/pages/video?PID=xaUW1Av1giuSkXThN6dCs1CMnQnkgQ4I

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 2:43 PM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 28

Dump the unbalanced schedule and dump the rule where the wild card team cannot play a team from its same division in the Divisional Series.

Bring Milwaukee back to the AL and put Kansas City in the AL West.

As a result of two 15-team leagues, there will either be an Interleague matchup every day or else two teams will be having a series off.

It's no different than the Inter-conference games in the NFL, NBA and NHL. In fact, it would be nice to see teams like the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals, Braves and Mets more frequently, even if its just 3 games.

On the other hand, I am not sure how a 2-4 day break would impact a baseball team, but its just an idea. Personally, I don't think it would be a big deal. I think the players would like to get away from the ballpark for a few days throughout the year but than you run into scheduling issues and trying to fit in a specific number of games played.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are the team to blame for a lot of this mess with balance. They were originally supposed to be in the AL but at the last moment, their owner said he would did not want to join the AL. So MLB needed an AL team to go to the NL, the opportunity was offered to KC, who said no, than eventually Bud decided to relegate his Brewers back to the NL.

Believe it or not, a simple balanced schedule would resolve a lot of this unbalance. Teams like Toronto would benefit a lot more from a balanced schedule while teams like the Twins would probably be hurt by a balanced schedule.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 2:47 PM by Mike Highlight this comment 29

The funny thing of the Hrbek divot is that it was caused by his knee.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 2:50 PM by tk Highlight this comment 30

How are these types of decisions made in baseball? MLBPA and owners coming to the table, commissioner making a decision based on an up/down vote?

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 2:53 PM by tk Highlight this comment 31

Are they going to have another legends game this year?

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 3:00 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 32

Dumb question: How many 'series' does each team play every season? If they go with 15 teams in each league, the fairest thing would be to have every AL team play every NL team in one series each year. How many series would that leave?

In my perfect world, all the series within your league would be four game series, all the inter-league series would be three games.

Just counted on the 2011 schedule, 52 series. Of course some of them are only two games, but I counted them as a 'series'.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 3:01 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 33

I understand the purist desire to reduce the post season to the World Series only, but that would be bad for the game. It would render too much of the regular season irrelevant for too many teams. Right now we're hopeful of the Twins perhaps climbing back into the AL Central or Wild Card races. Under this proposed plan, the season would already be effectively over. Attendance would suffer as would TV ratings and the game's other revenue streams would therefore be devalued. I have no desire to see the playoffs expand further, but it's right to keep them as is.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 3:33 PM by Jorge Highlight this comment 34

FTK I would go with 14 games within your division that would be 56 games then 9 games with each remaining 10 teams. Thats another 90 games. Then play 16 times vs National league for a total of 162. Course TV wants those 19 games with Boston vs NY every year.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 4:25 PM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 35

I gotta agree with all the dissenters about the TF grass: how many patches have they put in there since installing it just last March?
I know there's a small patch right in front of the mound and a much larger one out in right-center field. I'm sure there's more.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 4:56 PM by luke Highlight this comment 36

Twink, you're talking about three divisions of five teams each, correct?

I was thinking more about the 'no divisions' idea - which I think is just wrong...

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 5:06 PM by F_T_K Highlight this comment 37

" --- just last March?"

Luke ,,, I think they played on grass at TF in 2010 as well.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 5:16 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 38

well, Ben, yes I meant March 2010 - which to me is "last March" as it was March of last year. March 2011 to me is still either March or "this past March"

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 6:08 PM by luke Highlight this comment 39

For the realignment I would stay with the 3 divisions per league. I would move Kansas City to the AL West and bring Milwaukee back to the AL and put them in the Central. Geographically it would make sense.

I don't think the centralizing of the TV contracts would do much for the league except penalize the teams (Yankees) that make more money than the other teams. Baseball has far to many games and too many games that do not mean anything to ever come close to Football in terms of TV money. Plus like it or not Football is a much more TV friendly sport.

Back to the grass at the ballpark, I believe there are patches in right field, in front of the mound, behind where SS and 2B play, and where the 1st and 3rd baseball umpires stand. Really how does grass get that worn out by someone standing on it for 3 hours. Its not like the Ump is kicking the dirt like a little kid in the outfield.

The other thing I have noticed about the infield is the dirt looks to be as hard as concrete. The only way the dirt moves is when a cleat digs into it. Is this how it is around the league?

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 8:36 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 40

Why move the Royals to the AL West?
That makes about as much sense as the Winnipeg Jets being in the Southeast Division in the NHL.

Posted on June 13, 2011 at 9:04 PM by luke Highlight this comment 41

Eliminate all post-season rounds except the World Series

This is a really bad idea. I would only begin to entertain the idea if teams played each other an equal amount of time throughout the regular season. And if you do that you may as well get rid of the two leagues and divisions.

Determining which two teams should go to the World Series would still be subjective. There are many ways to statistically judge how good a team is. Win/Loss record may appear to be the best way, but is it really? Or should it be total runs minus total runs given up? Should team batting averages, ERA, errors, stolen basses, etc. be used? In the end, head-to-head tournaments are the best way rather than statistics.

From little league, to high school, to college, to pro sports the natural fan rooting order is 1)your team, 2)your division, 3)your league. If anything MLB needs to better embrace this. Both in how they set up their divisions/leagues and in how playoffs are set up to represent them.

Given two leagues with 3 divisions each and 5 teams per division, I would suggest a three tiered playoff approach.

1)A tournament to determine divisional champs. The four best by season divisional record would make the division playoff, one team gets left out. 1'st plays 4'th, 2'nd plays 3'rd. 3 game playoffs. Two winners play a 5 game divisional championship match.

2)A tournament to determine league champs. 3 divisional champs play 3-game round robin to determine league champion. Tie breaker Head-To-Head single elimination.

3)A tournament to determine overall champion. Your typical Best-of-seven World Series playoff.

Total playoff time would take a maximum of 28 days given a minimum of 2 days rest between each phase. So you could start in October and end in October.

Yes, you could have a 4'th place divisional team get hot and play outstanding baseball throughout October and win the World Series. It's highly unlikely but if it does happen, it would be a huge media draw. Everyone loves a Cinderella Story.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 12:13 AM by Dave Highlight this comment 42

Luke-

Your not the brightest bulb on the tree, are you? Milwaukee makes geographical sense being in the AL Central with Chi-Sox, Twins, Cleveland and Detroit.

The Al West is already spread out. KC is is closer to Arlington than any of the other AL West cities.

Sidenote the hockey team moving to Winnipen is not offically the Jets yet, and Hopefully in a year or two they will realign the NHL and get the Wild out of the Northwest division.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 12:36 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 43

What about the Nationals going back to Montreal it has been suggested.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 02:28 AM by Leroy Highlight this comment 44

Duffman-

Before calling someone out on not being the brightest bulb, make sure you know the difference between "your" and "you're".

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 06:42 AM by Paul Highlight this comment 45

Dave –

Eliminating the playoffs may be a bad idea. Adopting a playoff which includes 24 of the 30 teams is worse.

Why would anyone even watch a regular season whose only purpose is to determine the one worst team in each division? I’d rather watch a race for first place, than a race to avoid last place.

Keep things the way they are or, if they eliminate divisions, let no more than the top 4 from each league into the playoffs, but don’t expand the playoffs.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 06:59 AM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 46

lol Paul. Or the spelling of "WinniPEG" for that matter.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 07:00 AM by luke Highlight this comment 47

FTK yes I'm talking about 3 divisons 5 teams in each. Dump the DH. I think one wild card team is enough! I like the 14 games in the division then 9 games with the 10 other teams and 16 with the National league. Yes I like the move of Milwaukee to the central and dump KC into the west. That or move Houston into the AL west! Would like to see the Brewer Twins rivalry back.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 09:08 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 48

When division play came into being in 1969, teams played 18 games against each team within the division and 12 against each team in the other division. That was about the right ratio 3:2. You played more games within the division, but you still had more than just 2 or 3 home games a year against those teams in the other division. Of course that was a lot easier to accomplish when you only had 2 divisions in each league.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 09:18 AM by terry Highlight this comment 49

There's yet another story about this idea today.

What's left unspoken is how the schedule would be adjusted without divisions. To my mind, a return to the balanced schedule is the only way you can eliminate divisions (and have the top five teams overall move on). Otherwise you could have a scenario where a teams wins its division but, because it doesn't have one of the top five records in the league, does not advance to the playoffs.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 09:54 AM by Rick 50

Also as commisioner I would tell all teams to lower beer prices to $3.00 each. And make dogs $2.00! Get rid of rap music and add more organ music. Minimum goat ropping music also. A little Frank Sinatra here and there would be good also! Who cares what the kids like. They ain't buying most of the tickets anyways! Got a shot at going 0-7 at TF tonight! Mercy!

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 10:02 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 51

I understand the purist desire to reduce the post season to the World Series only, but that would be bad for the game. It would render too much of the regular season irrelevant for too many teams.

Jorge,

Two things:

First, it's not exactly a "purist" desire on my part. In other words, I'm not saying, "Things were so much better back when there was only the World Series."

Instead, I'm trying to say that, if the goal is to determine the best overall team for a given season, the whole 162-game thing isn't much of a tool if all you have to do is get into the top 1/3 to get a shot at riding a hot streak to a title.

I mean, why play 162 games then? Why not just play 81 games and have three months of a long tournament (like some sports I could name)?

What we've got now is great for determining the best team at a particular moment, but it's pretty lousy for figuring out the best overall.

Two leagues, playing a fully balanced schedule, with a single playoff series at the end, is nominally better at determining who is the overall best (though I think Dave may be onto something by suggesting other metrics). I think it would also pay some serious financial dividends in pennant races and a rejuvenated World Series. (My official position is that the current playoff structure hasn't added any money to the pot. It has just shifted some from September to October, and actually lost some by pushing the big event so far out.)

Second, the divisions do make it seem like more teams have hope, but it's a deception. It's not the existence of divisions which keep more teams having hope, it's the existence of more playoff slots. As a percentage, just as many teams have no real hope as ever before, it's just harder to see.

I'm willing to concede, however, that there may be some real value in that because it keeps the fans engaged longer in losing campaigns (which means more income). But I think this is short-term income, not long-term.

Because this is also the mantra of the "I only care about my team" method of marketing the game. The Cubs are just about the last team that will draw crowds even when they're losing. And even that support has started to evaporate in the past few years as the underlying marketing message gets its grip on the last batch of holdouts.

What if every team could continue to draw crowds whether they were winning or losing? What if the fan base was devoted to the game just as much as they were devoted to their own team.

I think such a scenario is possible.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM by Rick 52

Rick, I don't agree with your single playoff series. Your "best team at a particular moment" also relates to your suggestion. What if the best team has a very poor series and happens to lose the World Series because of that. Pretty lucky for other team.

I would much rather see a team earn the World Series title by having to defeat the top teams in the league in a tournament type format. (The current playoff series format does need some changes.)

Overall, I will take the current format over a single playoff series even if it means they are the "hottest at the moment" team.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 11:27 AM by Jeff Highlight this comment 53

There are many ways to statistically judge how good a team is. Win/Loss record may appear to be the best way, but is it really?

Dave,

It would be a hard sell to switch to a metric other than wins, but I see your point.

And the idea of round robin play is a good one, because it's generally considered accurate -- statistically -- in determining which team is the best. But isn't the fully-balanced schedule just a long round robin tournament?

So my plan is basically just suggesting two round robin tournaments happening simultaneously (AL and NL), with intriguing inter-league series in place of a bye, followed by a single elimination seven-game playoff. Statistically, I think that's just about the most accurate way to determine which team is the best.

An alternate approach might be to have three 10-team leagues, each playing fully-balanced schedules, followed by a short round robin tournament of the winners. Not ideal, obviously, but a single elimination tournament there would only work if one team gets a bye (which isn't a good thing).

To keep the division structure as is but convert it to a more accurate determiner of who is best, you would have to consider them six separate leagues, playing fully-balanced schedules within each, and the winners advancing to either a single elimination tournament, or another round robin level. Again, hardly ideal.

I think the underlying point is that the current approach, with divisions playing arbitrary unbalanced schedules within and across arbitrary "league" boundaries, followed by a short single elimination tournament (with the entry qualifications being muddied further even as we speak), is -- without doubt -- not a fair way of determining which team is best.

It's a weird machine with convoluted entry doors, cogs turning in strange directions, and from which one team always emerges, albeit without having proven themselves as "best team in baseball".

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 11:34 AM by Rick 54

Sorry I failed to proofread before I posted. My point still stands, which you failed to address. Why wouldn't KC in the AL West make sense?

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 11:54 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 55

Rick-

Isn't the regular season essentially the round-robin part before the playoffs?

Also isn't a "hot" team just a team playing to their full potential? If a team was to get "Hot" in time for the playoffs good for them.

I would love to see them shorten the length of the season. Not the number of games, but add some double headers and cut a few off days so the season ends prior to October. Then change the first round of the playoffs to 7 game series instead of the current 5.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 12:09 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 56

Only if they play a balanced schedule, duffman. As it sits now, the regular season is not a round robin tournament.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 12:15 PM by Rick 57

With trades, injuries, promotions, demotions, training, practice, etc., teams change over the course of a season. I want to know which team managed all these aspects the best. I don't care how good or bad they were 4, 5, 6 months ago; how good are they at the end of the season?

Some form of tournament at the end of the season is the best way to answer that question in my opinion. This does not devalue the importance of the regular season. If anything, it magnifies how well teams managed themselves throughout the regular season.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 12:59 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 58

I should be more precise. This whole discussion is not about nostalgia, but about implementing the most efficient algorithm for determining the best team.

(Programmers, put on your algorithmic hats. If you are not a programmer, you're going to have to take a few things on faith. But the efficiency of various algorithms is generally measurable and verifiable -- in other words, not strictly opinion. The beauty of the various solutions is another matter entirely.)

The regular season schedule, if it were fully balanced, would effectively be a long round robin tournament, and therefore the most efficient way -- from an algorithmic standpoint -- to determine which is the best team.

It's valid to say that teams evolve over the long season and that the team at the end of the season may not even be the same team as it was at the beginning.

But if we are to use the concepts of "team" or "franchise" at all, we have to set such issues aside. Yes, it becomes about laundry, but the alternatives (considering each separate roster iteration to be its own "playing unit") are preposterous. How a franchise manages such long-term issues is fairly part of the game.

So, if the season is too long, it would be better to just split it somewhere and have a "first half champ" and a "second half champ". I doubt that would satisfy anybody.

The most efficient way to determine the best team would be a single, very large round robin tournament (aka "the regular season"). Each team would play every other team exactly the same number of games, and the team with the best record wins.

This is easily the purest option of all, but it's quite cumbersome with 30 teams (playing each other team five times would result in a 145-game season, while playing each other team six times would be a 174-game season). And it loses the drama associated with a playoff at the end.

Less pure, but still reasonable, is to split the 30 teams into two 15-team "leagues" and determine, by way of round robin tournament within each (again aka "the regular season") which is the best team in each league. Then have those two teams meet head-to-head to settle which is better (aka "the World Series").

That's what I am suggesting above, and the option which was in place before divisional play started in 1969. To make it work, each team must play exactly the same number of games against the other 14 teams in the league. Because each league has an odd number of teams, one team would always be sitting idle. To fill that gap, I've suggested two inter-league natural rivalry series. It's a knock against purity, I know, but it's more fun (and lucrative).

But to reiterate, the reason to go back is not for nostalgia, but rather because it is, in actuality, the most efficient algorithm for determining the best team.

There are other options, of course, which are progressively less pure and less accurate and less fair, but it becomes a subjective question of when you should stop.

Three 10-team leagues? Four 8-team leagues? Six 5-team leagues?

Each is less pure and introduces other problems, but could still work provided that the playing schedules are always fully balanced, limited to contests within each league (again with the exception of the rivalries), and there is a fair way at the end for the champions in each league to duke it out.

But here is where I draw the line: Either you are trying to accurately determine the best team or you are not.

If you are, then your approach must be sound and logical. If you are not, that's fine, but don't claim that you are (by declaring the last team standing as the "best team in baseball").

One could argue that the title "World Champion" does not necessarily imply "best". I would accept that.

But I'd much prefer that the two were synonymous.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 1:32 PM by Rick 59

My math says this post equals a slow work day for Rick :)

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 1:49 PM by jctwins Highlight this comment 60

Believe it or not, I've been making videos the whole time!

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 1:52 PM by Rick 61

I think they should scrap the playoffs altogether and have the Associated Press vote on a champion.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 2:18 PM by FD Highlight this comment 62

(considering each separate roster iteration to be its own "playing unit") are preposterous

I find that statement to be ironic in a baseball forum. If anything, baseball is all about the stats and match-ups. Which is why trying to come up with a pure algorithmic formula to determine the "best team in baseball" is in itself preposterous. It simply can not be done.

Given that fact, what is the next best approach to declaring an overall winner? To me the answer is simple, some form of elimination head-to-head tournament at the end of the season.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 2:23 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 63

"Preposterous" primarily because of small sampling size. How many lineups has Gardy already used this year?

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 2:28 PM by Rick 64

The most efficient way to determine the best team would be a single, very large round robin tournament (aka "the regular season"). Each team would play every other team exactly the same number of games, and the team with the best record wins.

How would you propose to deal with teams that tie for the best league record? Rare, yes, but not unheard of. Winner-take-all game 163? Short (gulp) playoff series?

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 65

Small sample size is exactly the problem. You have to play the same team many many times to get a large enough sample size to accurately determine the better team. Just doing starting pitcher match-ups for a 5 man pitching rotation on each team would require 25 games to get one sample. If you wanted 10 samples of each match-up that would be 250 games between two teams.

This is one of the reasons divisions are a good idea. At least within the division you get a more accurate sampling size.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 2:47 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 66

"How many lineups has Gardy already used this year?"

I think it was during the game Saturday or Sunday that DickBert said that only four games so far have seen a previously used starting line-up.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 3:19 PM by Ben Highlight this comment 67

Rick-

The three current systems that use a Round Robin tourny (World Cup, WBC and Olymipics) all seperate teams in to Groups, Pools or divisions. In essence they play an unbalanced schedule and the best team out of that division advances to a tournyment.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 3:28 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 68

Sorry Paul and Luke,

Tournament, not Tournyment, and separate nor seperate.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 3:30 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 69

oh and I guess I added an extra I to olympics, sue me.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 3:38 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 70

The three current systems that use a Round Robin tourny (World Cup, WBC and Olymipics) all seperate teams in to Groups, Pools or divisions.

NCAA baseball tourney/College World Series does as well.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM by Expectorate Highlight this comment 71

Radar not looking good! WOW 7th game and looking like # 5 with rain so far this year! OUCH!

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 4:50 PM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 72

OK Duff, I'll give you my rationale for that one: the whole concept behind these geographical divisions is to moreover place teams in, hopefully, the same time zones which is a big TV thing.

Think about it, if the Royals were in the AL West, a good majority of their road games aren't going to start until 9pm CDT. I think Kansas City as a whole shuts down about 10pm. Are Royals fans going to want to endure about three times MORE the West Coast games that they do now if they played in the AL West?

It sucks when the Twins are out at Whatever-The-Hell-It's-Called-This-Week Coliseum in Oakland because the broadcast doesn't start til 9pm or later our time. Think of how many MORE late starts we would have to endure in these parts if the Twins played in the AL West.

It's the whole reason also that the NFL went to the divisional alignment that they did. They're trying to put the teams closest to each other in the same division to get relatively the same start times for TV's sake.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 5:12 PM by luke Highlight this comment 73

Ok, but Arlington is in the Central Time zone, so by your rationale its already unfair for the Rangers. Would it not be fair to the Rangers to have another team in their time zone, making the 3 west coast teams travel a bit more? Could that be done with Houston, yes, but it would be the same problem for Houston as you describe for the Royals. Say you moved Arizona over to the Al, you just introduced a 3rd time zone.

If you looked at a map of the AL teams and took the 5 furthest west team guess who would be included....Kansas City.

The Brewers were an AL team anyway, think of the great rivalry it would foster between the Twins and the Brewers. Maybe not of the level of the Packers Vikings but it could be close.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 5:51 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 74

Three divisions, ten teams each. Three division champions plus a wildcats play two nine game series.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 8:22 PM by Jlh Highlight this comment 75

Glad I never left home for the game tonight. Looks like they will not make the game up this series.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 8:41 PM by twinkfan Highlight this comment 76

I've been to 7 games so far. The opener was played in nice (for April 8)weather and they won. All 6 of the others have been played in rain, cold or both and they've lost all six. My son had our tickets tonight; at least it wasn't another loss.

Posted on June 14, 2011 at 8:51 PM by terry Highlight this comment 77

Nice job Twins. I was at the ballpark last night to watch the rain. I know the Twins have been criticized in past for calling off games too early, but last night, once the rain started at 5:30, anyone with half a brain watching the radar could have determined that it was going to rain hard all night. So the Twins wait until almost 8:00 to call it off. Nice business move, they get a couple of thousand people to spend 2 and half hours buying their food and beer and now they to have them back to spend more another night. With those weather conditions, there was no reason to wait that long to call it off, I can only assume they wanted some more concession revenue.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 06:52 AM by Jay Highlight this comment 78

As long as Selig is around, there will be no strengthening of any Twins-Brewers rivalry. Besides, the "rivalry" is mostly considered so mainly on this side of the St. Croix. Milwaukee fans will always consider Chicago their biggest rival, no matter the sport.

Now if Des Moines could lure an expansion team* .....

*denotes sarcasm

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 07:07 AM by The Truth Hurts Highlight this comment 79

this was probably mentioned earlier....selig wanted the royals to move to the national league back when the brewers moved. that was his first choice. the royals were approached and obviously were not receptive. It's very difficult for MLB to move a team from it's traditional base. now I'm reading the astros are against moving to the AL. it's understandable on the astros part and easy for us here in an AL market to dismiss their tradition/history.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 07:33 AM by tim Highlight this comment 80

That's why moving the Brewers to the AL Central would make the most sense while moving KC to the AL West. Also, KC has a big rivalry with Oakland in football so the Oakland-KC battle could be big for the fans just like Minnesota fans do not like Chicago and Detroit. (Now if we could only get the Wild back into the Central to play the Red Wings and Blackhawks, which may actually happen next year)

Texas is also a winner in that they would gain an additional team in the division within the central time zone.

Jay, I totally understand your point...I was at that April 22 game which was postponed TOO EARLY....rain stopped by 6:40 or so that night and the Twins had already postponed the game by 6:30.

At that time, the Twins simply "enjoyed that extra day off" but could care less about the fans that traveled and paid for parking, concessions and other things. To make matters worse, they rescheduled the game for a Monday afternoon in July. So go from a Friday night to a Monday afternoon? Where I work, the vacation calendar fills up very fast (in January and February) for the summer months June-September. So you guessed it, I am out for the makeup game on Monday July 18. They could have played the makeup game on Wednesday night July 20, but that is not our decision as fans.

Also, not sure if anyone else mentioned it, but the postponed Yankee game in New York has been rescheduled for Monday, Sept 19. So the Twins will have to play home on Sunday, fly to NY to play on Monday than fly right back to Minnesota to play again on Tuesday.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 08:03 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 81

The Twins were accused of pulling the trigger too quickly on an earlier postponement because the team was depleted by injuries and wanted the game postponed. There were only 3 or 4 players on the DL back then. What would people, i.e. Ozzie, have said if they called yesterday's game about 3:00 in the afternoon when they have 8 or 9 on the DL?

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 08:27 AM by terry Highlight this comment 82

I wonder how many people were actually in the ballpark at 7pm last night. I know I was not going down there unless the radar looked good and they pulled the tarp off. Course I'm 10 minutes from the park and I like to arrive late anyways and leave early most of the time. In by the bottom of the first and out by the 8th unless close.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 09:05 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 83

Is the postponement decision still in the home team's hands once gametime has arrived or does it switch to the umps at that point?

I think it would be nice if some accommodation were extended to a ticket holder who is in attendance at a postponed game.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 09:06 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 84

Just think if the boys were 16-9 at home instead of 9-16. Would be 33-32 and 4 game back. Gonna really have to improve the home record. Now that Tigers are in first might make it tougher to make up ground!

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 09:08 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 85

Ben,

The home team has the decision until the first pitch is thrown. After that, everything is in the hands of the umps.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 09:16 AM by Rick 86

Would think they would play the Chicago game as a split double header on Saturday Aug 6th. Noon start and move the 6pm back to 7pm. Sox don't have any open dates that match the Twins. Otherwise may be looking at a split double header on maybe Labor day instead with the game to be made up at 7pm?

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:03 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 87

Okay, honestly, what do we really expect from the Twins? Bitch when they call the game too early (as a meteorologist I agree they called the game too early, wont hear me complain) then bitch when they call it so late (they could have called the game way earlier last night, no complaints here) and then think we are owed something afterwards. Its ludicrous.

What are the Twins supposed to do about your parking, the food you ate or the distance you traveled? How are they supposed to show they cared? Start a reimbursement program? If the game were completed you would have paid for parking, concessions and other things and still traveled the distance and not complained. They can't give the miles back and you can't give the food back that you ate so that you can get your money back. AND if we think they called the game too early before and too late now, how can we even assume that "they just wanted the concession money"?

So the game gets called. Then we EXPECT that the game should be a night game. Why? Because it was originally a night game? Because it fits YOUR schedule best that way? Everyone thinks everything should be done in their favor and it doesn't always work out that way. Get over it. I had/have tickets to some of those rainouts only to miss the rescheduled game but I won't complain. We aren't owed anything other than a make up game and that's what we are getting.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:08 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 88

Jared are you the new guy on Ch 11 weather?

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:15 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 89

Agreed, Jared.

And, conversely, I had tickets to a rainout that I couldn't use, but I was able to get to the make-up game.

It's a crap shoot. I think the Twins are actually doing pretty well managing weather-related issues. The rain was light enough last night that, despite what the radar said, it felt like it could stop at any moment -- or continue for hours.

What are you going to do?

Long ago, I thought maybe the Twins could create and sell some sort of "rain insurance". Pay a couple of bucks extra per ticket and be guaranteed some sort of credit if the game was rescheduled.

I still think that could make some money.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:21 AM by Rick 90

Really ought to quit calling it a "split doubleheader" - it's either a doubleheader (two games for one admission) or it's not. Anything else is BS.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:23 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 91

Ah, two games for one admission...

When was the last time we had that here in Twins Territory? Jimmy Carter in the White House?

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM by Rick 92

Rick you will never see those 2 fer ones again thats for sure. Remember many of those out at the old met!

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:29 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 93

Sorry TwinkFan,
That is Jerrid Sebesta. I have "known" him professionally for a while now. Not personally but have been following him since he started in Sioux Falls, which is near my hometown. He started there before I graduated high school and was on the station we watched regularly. He's a good guy.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:48 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 94

Ben-

Two games in a day is a double-header whether they split them or not. Just because you don't want to pay for both games doesn't change that.

Jared-

I think what annoys people is the ambiguity of the process of the weather decisions. Who is making the call? Earlier in the season it was supposedly Ron Gardenhire. What does he know about the weather?

They should hire one of the local weatherman, preferably not Paul Douglas, to make the offical call by an hour before game time.

I went down last night in incase they would try to play, but looking at the radar it was pretty obvious they wouldn't

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:50 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 95

My point exactly --- there is no longer any such thing as a doubleheader.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:50 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 96

Duffman ---

The definition of doubleheader is two games played in the same day BEFORE THE SAME CROWD. What I pay for - or do not pay for, has no impact on the English language.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 10:54 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 97

Duffman,

I think Ben's point is that the term "doubleheader" used to refer to a special promotion: two games for the price of one.

That promo is long gone, but the term has stayed around, modified slightly, as if we might not notice that it's two separate tickets and two separate crowds.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 11:08 AM by Rick 98

Merriam-Webster states a doubleheader as : two games, contests, or events held consecutively on the same program. Nothing about "BEFORE THE SAME CROWD" We can argue about what same program means, but I believe the word spilt takes care of the consecutively part.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 11:16 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 99

Actually, "the "term" is a word. My point, at least insofar as the word applies to baseball, is that it is confused with marketing terms such as "split doubleheader" which, as I pointed out, is not a doubleheader.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 11:21 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 100

Would not " --- events held consecutively on the same program --- " be construed by most to require but one admission?

I got my definition from WIKI: "A doubleheader is a set of two baseball games played between the same two teams on the same day in front of the same crowd."

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 11:27 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 101

I will grant you (Rick & Duffman) that simply using the term "split doubleheader" probably sells more tickets than pointing out that the term refers to two separate events which just happen to be scheduled to occur on the same day and at the same location( and require two admissions). Such does not, however, alter the definition of the word.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 11:44 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 102

Well, in marketing, as in politics and much of life, a word means exactly what its speaker intends it to mean, and simultaneously what its hearer understands it as.

(That was an overly-tortured sentence. Not sure it actually means anything. Frankly, it's a miracle we communicate at all. Or do we?)

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 11:55 AM by Rick 103

Jared, the fans have every right to complain, especially in the case of April 22.

The Twins have said since day 1, to expect a game to be played no matter the conditions. The only reason they postponed the game on April 22 was that they were beat up at the time and the off day would be to their benefit. At that same time, Cleveland was rolling along and playing really good baseball. Chris Schafer from WCCO was actually broadcasting from the plaza that night for the 5pm and 6pm news and was shocked that they called off the game. There was NO PRECIPITATION falling from the sky what-so-ever after 6:30. The entire drive home was dry. Why did they call it at 6:30 when the rain had stopped and nothing was on the radar? At least wait until the scheduled game time to make that decision, because most fans are already on their way to the ballpark at that point.

I understand rainouts happen and the rescheduling can be inconvenient at times. It's no different than any other outdoor activity.

But there was no reason to postpone that April 22 game. I was there with my jacket and rain poncho ready to battle the elements, however, the Twins were not ready and clearly did not want to play that night.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 11:58 AM by Mike Highlight this comment 104

Duffman - understood and agreed. If that's the case however, I like to think that people around this site are well versed in the game of baseball (considering Ricks nano-detailed posts) and to complain on this site about how something is done before clearing the ambiguity someone may have of the decisions is a bit backwards.

It's been well covered on this site how the decision is made and even if you are new, asking first then making the argument against is more warranted. I think the ambiguity lies more in not "whom makes the decision or when", it is the process before that. This was also covered here but as a refresher, the Twins employ services and products from a private company out of Burnsville (I used to work for them, they are very good at what they do) and have a meteorologist at TF in his own weather 'office' that provides the necessary information to those who make the decision, Gardy, Larry DeVito and the Umps. It is not the forecasters call at any point (at least that I am aware of), he is only there for information.

I like the idea of a one hour before game deadline to call it off but with the chaos that is weather, the logistics of that would create issues. The atmosphere can change so much so quickly (as we all know too well) that I think it would do more harm than good.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 12:00 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 105

Have the right to complain-yes. Should complain- In my mind no. There is nothing that warrants them. Especially on the topics covered. Just because you can doesnt mean you should.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 12:05 PM by Jared Highlight this comment 106

Having attended both the April 22nd rainout and the rainout last night, calling the game last night at 8pm gave the appearance that the Twins tried to get the game in, and that postponing the game was the right call. A delay also gives fans some time to experience the stadium, wandering around, eating some food, etc.

I had sprung for Legend's Club seats (a one-time treat) last night so I was comfy while I waited. The Legend's Club is an attainable level of ballpark snobbery for someone who'll never sit in the champions club, a little gated community of short lines and open concourses, a clone of a posh little airport terminal. With everyone sitting around last night going nowhere fast, it was just like a flight delay. Having seen it once, I might not pay the premium to go in again, it's "too airporty." Of course the sighlines were great and my opinion could change had I actually watched a game from there.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 1:05 PM by GoneBuggy Highlight this comment 107

Wow, at a conference this week and didn't expect this to be the conversation I would stumble upon. My wife sold our tix to a colleague last night who drove from St. Cloud, and hung out for 2 hours until the announcement. Once made, my wife got a text saying, "do you have tix for tomorrow's game?" It was not, "damn we got screwed, can we get our money back from you?"

Look at the Yankees/Red Sox game from last week, they were in a 3.5 hour or so delay before starting, imagine how some would criticize that one around these parts...

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 1:45 PM by tk Highlight this comment 108

there isn't patience here for the delays we see in nyc and boston. the local sports culture has always been a "be home for the 10 o'clock news" mentality.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 3:03 PM by tim Highlight this comment 109

Based on what actually happened with the weather that night, it's tough to defend the April 22 decision.

I don't remember what the forecast was, or the condition of the field, or what the radar looked like that night, but I bet that the weather looks a lot worse when you are as hurting as the team was at that point.

Whoever makes that decision is trying to balance a lot of different, potentially conflicting, motivations. I'd hate to be that guy on a night like that.

I remember thinking at the time that the decision didn't have much meteorological justification, but was not surprising because the motivations were so obvious. The press tweaked the team, but sort of gave them a pass.

I can understand why fans might have been upset, but you have to let it go. The team reserves the right to reschedule games for any reason or for no reason. It says so right on the back of the tickets.

No question that they spent some fan goodwill on that one.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 3:14 PM by Rick 110

I see Severe thunderstorm warning now in west metro. I see on weatherunderground for April 22 nd in mpls was high of 45 and a low of 40 .13 of precipation for the day and graph shows rain from 4 pm till about 8:30 pm!

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 3:38 PM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 111

How many surveys are Twins STH gonna get this year? Geeeeez.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 4:17 PM by Steve Highlight this comment 112

Maybe if the Vikings get their retractable roof stadium they will be willing to swap stadiums with the Twins.

Of the two sports, baseball by far is more effected by weather. Outside of lighting, I'm not sure an NFL game has ever been postponed/canceled due to weather. Any logical thinking person would put a roof on a baseball field before they would football.

I had a blast playing wiffle ball in the gym as a kid. Which is pretty darn close to baseball. But I never once played football indoors.

Just stirring the pot.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 4:41 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 113

Going back to the divisions and schedule brouhaha for a moment, how about this:

Divisions: I don't care who it is, just pick some NL team out of a hat and toss them into the AL. Brewers, Marlins, Diamondbacks - I don't care. Make it 15 teams each, three divisions of five. Done.

Schedule: There are 30 teams in MLB. Every team plays two three-game sets (one at home, one away) against 27 of those teams. Ergo, 27 teams, six games with each team = 162 games. So for the Twins, say they play everybody in MLB except for the Giants and the Dodgers. Twins have played every team in the league, no games dropped, no games added, and we'll just play the Giants and Dodgers the next year leaving out two teams played the year before. Done.

Bud Selig, if you're listening, there's a plan to sink your teeth into.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 4:49 PM by luke Highlight this comment 114

what is the weather tonight in the cities, does anyone know if the game is being played tonight????

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 5:26 PM by sara Highlight this comment 115

Hmm. It'll probably be a late start...


Posted on June 15, 2011 at 5:59 PM by Rick 116

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 6:00 PM by Rick 117

Who could have predicted two months ago that Nishioka (broken leg) would be off the DL before Mauer ("bilateral leg weakness")?

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 6:04 PM by terry Highlight this comment 118

If I were commissioner I would:

A) Get rid of the two leagues

B) Six divisions with 5 teams in each.

C) Total renaming and realignment of divisions.

West Coast
Mariners
Giants
Athletics
Dodgers
Angels

Sun Belt
Padres
Diamondbacks
Astros
Rays
Marlins

Great Plains
Rangers
Rockies
Twins
Royals
Cardinals

Great Lakes
Brewers
Cubs
White Sox
Tigers
Blue Jays

Appalachia
Indians
Reds
Braves
Pirates
Nationals

East Coast
Orioles
Phillies
Yankees
Mets
Red Sox

D) Schedule: 5 5-game series against each team within your division (100 total divisional games). 20 3-game series outside division, 10 away and 10 home (60 total non-divisional games). 160 total regular season games.

E) End of season, 8 bracket best-of-5 double elimination playoff. Winner of each division earns playoff birth. Two wildcard births based on overall record.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 6:11 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 119

So we have a pretty good example here of just how the weather radar can be a mercurial tool for predicting the future.

Right now, it's sunny. And whatever caused that echo looks like it never got to the ground.

Looks like the game will get off without a hitch.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 7:01 PM by Rick 120

Vikings-Eagles game last year was postponed one day (from Sunday night to Monday night)due to unusually heavy snowfall on the east coast. I believe the mayor of Philadelphia or the governor of Pennsylvania decared a state of emergency, limiting traffic to emergency vehicles only. Or something like that.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 7:26 PM by Winona Mike Highlight this comment 121

Dave - hats off to you. I think that's an even better plan.

Posted on June 15, 2011 at 8:08 PM by luke Highlight this comment 122

Turned out to be a pretty nice evening. Haven't been to a short sleeve game yet though.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 12:45 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 123

Going to the game today. Teacher special - weekday afternoon summer game. Weather looks perfect. I'm a little worried about the pitching matchup for the hometown nine; hopefully Blackburn continues the great run by our starters.
And for TwinkFan:
Maybe I will stop at the Holiday Station for my two hot dogs! LOL!

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 07:41 AM by ole Highlight this comment 124

Was at the game last night and it was absolutely perfect weather about 30 mins prior to game-time and was perfect throughout the whole thing. Was sunny in the first couple innings and was completely perfect temp with little to no wind and was completely comfortable with just my Span jersey. Never had to don the Twins wind breaker once. Awesome game.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 07:44 AM by jcm-baseball Highlight this comment 125

Last Twins game we went to was April 13th, last time Mauer played and ironically Friday is the next game we have tickets to and we get to see Mauer's return. Cant wait to see those 3 hoppers to 2nd base again.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 07:45 AM by firedog Highlight this comment 126

Just an observation from the game last night. Prior to the start of the game the upper half of the entire 3rd level Home Run porch was void of people, except for a couple people in the last row, while the lower half was packed. It was almost as if everyone was herded to the lower rows, sort of like what you would see in a general admission scenario where they were trying to contain everyone in certain areas and not others. Speculation of course. As the game progressed people did move back into the more spacious rows. I haven't seen that at TF before. Did anyone else notice this or was anyone up there that could provide info on what was going on?

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 08:27 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 127

Has anyone heard any news about a STH presale for Paul McCartney? I have regular season tickets as well as Legends Club licenses and I don't think I've heard anything from the Twins yet on how to access my Legends Club tickets or other presale chances?

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 09:08 AM by noah Highlight this comment 128

Reusse was carping the other day that he thinks STH should get first shot at McCartney tix.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 09:16 AM by Ben Highlight this comment 129

I think it was determined last year that Legends Club priority applies to baseball events only, so not sure we'll get a special crack at tickets. It would be nice, though.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 09:24 AM by jctwins Highlight this comment 130

yea i didn't quite understand his rant. why should a twins season ticket holder get preferential treatment for a non-baseball event at this publically financed stadium? that being said there'd still be 15 thousand some tickets after sth get their crack. this concert hasn't been verified yet, hope it happens.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 09:29 AM by tim Highlight this comment 131

Paul McCartney? Even free dogs would not drag me into that one!! Will he be singing Jet? LOL!

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 09:53 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 132

Ole might I recommend the brats @ holiday over the dogs! I see they have put up the meters on my secret parking spots!

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 10:18 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 133

Jared,

I got this image from a friend last night which shows what you're describing:


Weird indeed. (And just for the record, I take "nano-detailed" as a compliment.)

See you at the ballpark this afternoon!

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 10:20 AM by Rick 134

I don't think I was ranting - so far his shows at Yankee Stadium, Commerica Park, Wrigley, and Ballpark of America have each had a presale for their respective season ticket holders, I don't expect the Target Field show to be any different...Was just wondering if anyone has heard anything about it

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 10:21 AM by noah Highlight this comment 135

Jared,

I was at the game last night and noticed that too. Very strange. I was guessing that those seats were probably "groups" that either never showed up or were never sold.

Last night there was something else new. They are now scanning LC tickets to enter LC. Before they used to just look at the ticket to confirm you belonged in LC. There was a line of about 20-25 people when I entered. Ussually there is no line. I asked the guy who runs my ticket group (and works for the Twins) what the point of scanning was, he told me they are trying to figure out how many people are sneaking into LC without a valid ticket for that game.

Has anyone ever stuck into LC? I think they are trying to tackle a non-existing problem.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 10:31 AM by CSG Mike Highlight this comment 136

CSG Mike,

They must suspect people of creating counterfeit LC tickets (i.e. correct game info, bad barcode). I can't imagine that being very widespread, but the occasional spot check seems like a reasonable precaution. Unfortunately, it sounds like a pretty big hassle for the honest folks.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 10:53 AM by Rick 137

Here was my view last night. Like I mentioned it started like Rick's example and then gradually people spread out as seen in mine. The group thing does make sense. I went up there last for a couple outfield shots and there was one very large group filling the one section I was in.

And yes Rick, the "nano detailed" comment was a compliment.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 10:54 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 138

I suppose I could just post the image here, i keep forgetting that i can.


Posted on June 16, 2011 at 10:56 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 139

Meh, I guess if you want the better look at the outfield section (much larger) I was talking about you will have to use the link, otherwise just enjoy the image.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 10:57 AM by Jared Highlight this comment 140

You can see in Jared's picture how bad the grass looks as well. Maybe there's a reason Larry DiVito isn't the Nationals head groundskeeper any longer.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 11:17 AM by FD Highlight this comment 141

noah, the rant comment was about Patrick Reusse, not you.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 11:36 AM by James1979 Highlight this comment 142

Yep not impressed with Devito so far!!! Maybe bring up the old coot down in Ft Meyers? Can't remember his name! And go back to the traditional checkerboard pattern! This one stinks!

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 11:59 AM by TwinkFan Highlight this comment 143

Legends Club license holders will have 1st right of refusal to their seats for all concerts including the McCartney concert on 9-1. No tickets on sale because the Twins haven't officially announced it...

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 12:02 PM by Max Highlight this comment 144

noah-

The McCartney show has not offically been announced, so until it is the Season Ticket holders probably won't get any information about tickets.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 12:06 PM by Duffman Highlight this comment 145

I haven't been impressed with the grass as well, particularly the patching that has gone on in front of the mound and out in right field.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 1:40 PM by IowaWigman Highlight this comment 146

Jared that picture looks awesome. Would be wicked for a nice dual screen wallpaper. Don't suppose there is any chance of getting a 2560x1024 crop of that is there?

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 3:48 PM by schda Highlight this comment 147

"They must suspect people of creating counterfeit LC tickets (i.e. correct game info, bad barcode)."

No that's not it. They are requiring LC tickets to be scanned going in or out. This prevents more than one person from getting in on a single LC ticket -- that is, for example, it prevents someone from entering with 3 friends and then taking the 3 tickets, exiting the LC and re-entering with 3 other friends.

It is a good idea that will prevent overcrowding of the LC, and is not too much of a hassle.

Now if they would only BBtT.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 5:18 PM by msp Highlight this comment 148

Poor crowd control in general is an issue with-in Target Field. It's the main contributor to overcrowding. People buying cheapest tickets they can and then moving to better spots. Also one of the reasons you see the grand stands half empty with a sold out crowd.

It's a problem with every ballpark. But more so with TF due to, yep you guessed it, it's overly open design. Other than the club areas/suites there's no check points other than at the gates.

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 6:02 PM by Dave Highlight this comment 149

I'm selling BBtS T-shirts for $49.95 if anyone is interested. We really need the sod back so DO YOUR PART!!!

Posted on June 16, 2011 at 9:29 PM by The Truth Hurts Highlight this comment 150

How about a "My mom's lawn looks better than Larry DiVito's" shirt?

Posted on June 17, 2011 at 02:08 AM by Duffman Highlight this comment 151

About the grass. MLB guidelines for Ky bluegrass, which Target Field has. Is to maintain it at least 1 inch. Target Filed is at 5/8ths. So you can see that our grounds keeper is not following the guidelines. Makes you wonder if he did how much better the grass would look. Time for a new grounds keeper or for the Twins to get on him to maintain it within guidelines set forth by MLB.

Posted on June 25, 2011 at 10:25 AM by Jafoman Highlight this comment 152


This page was last modified on June 13, 2011.



"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."

– Bernie Williams

Explore the Site

Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.


Looking from near the entry doors toward the center, the atrium is just visible at the far right.



Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)






This is a good overview of the spot where the Northstar (bottom) and LRT (top) will intersect.



TCF Bank Stadium (click to enlarge)



I don't know if the back side is also a test for materials, but it could be a hint of how the exposed steel supports will be finished. Or it could just be to hold up the stone.



Rich Pogin (left) and Bruce Lambrecht (Source: Skyway News)






The Overlook, as seen by outfielders



Party deck



The flowers don't have quite the fullness depicted in the original sketches (where they were positively overflowing), but they are quite lovely -- a great, subtle touch. And that's probably a very challenging place to grow anything.



Here is the most recent outfield configuration, captured from the animation video. We probably shouldn't make too much of the logos seen on the scoreboard: Best Buy, Dairy Queen, Target, Pepsi, Dodge and Qwest...



View Level















Lots of work has gone into detailing the fronts of these decks. That is a little thing, but a NICE little thing. (HRP View)






A photo taken as my meter ran out.



Looking for some detail



I didn't check the menu too closely, but it looks like all the standard fare is available, and not much of the non-standard stuff.












The finished product. Note that, at the very bottom of this image, you can just barely see the tops of the windows which look into the Champion's Club. (Home Plate Box)












The moat walkway viewed from across the park.



Usher Anna hands out Homer Hankies



Sky through steel.



Tickets!



Ticket booths.















This looks south and shows how the Northstar tracks are sheltered by the promenade above. This is the side which faces the HERC plant.






The original Candlestick Park






Love the lighted, translucent panel



Now, THIS is just some guy who appears to be hanging out on the LRT tracks talking to himself.









The main concourse.









Click to enlarge greatly.


Glossary

BPM - Ballpark Magic

BRT - Bus Rapid Transit

DSP - Dave St. Peter

FSE - Full Season Equivalent

FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)

HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)

HPB - Home Plate Box

HRP - Home Run Porch

LC - Legends Club

LRT - Light Rail Transit

MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)

MOA - Mall of America

MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)

NYS - New Yankee Stadium

SRO - Standing Room Only

STH - Season Ticket Holder

TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium

TF - Target Field

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(2008)
 

Selected Bibliography - Surveys
 


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Second Edition (1987)
 


Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000)
 


(2000, large coffee table)
 


Original edition (2000, round)
 


Revised edition (2006, round)
 


(2001, medium coffee table)
 


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Combines the previous two titles
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Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
 


(1992)
 


Book and six ballpark miniatures
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Complete Bibliography

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