7 Things Major League Baseball Needs To Do


Let’s be clear. We’re not stubborn or deluded or cantankerous enough to waste time ranting against the obvious culprits—e.g., the designated hitter rule, double-knit uniforms (as opposed to flannel), inter-league play, and doing away with Sunday double-headers.

While those phenomena were stupid and venal changes, they’ve been around too long and have been embraced by too many loyal fans to be changed at this late date. The jury has spoken. The verdict is in. The die is cast. On the other hand, if aluminum bats are ever introduced to Major League baseball, I will not stop writing my congressman until my fingers are bloody.

Here are seven changes baseball should consider adopting. None of them are earth-shattering or of profound importance. They won’t alter or improve the game significantly. What they will do is give Major League baseball more credibility and make the game more “enjoyable.”

1. Jewelry must be banned. Gold necklaces have no place on a baseball diamond. How professional baseball players first decided to deck themselves out in women’s finery remains a mystery. In any event, it must be prohibited.

2. Players need to choke up on the bat. Granted, power hitters get paid more than slap-hitters, but not everyone was put on earth to hit homeruns. At the very least, choking-up will result in striking-out less and putting the ball in play more, which, as any baseball fan will tell you, is definitely good. If Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew and Ishiro Suzuki taught us anything, it’s that it’s all about bat control.

3. Practice bunting. No it’s not glamorous, and no, it probably won’t add dollars to your contract, but bunting does help your team win—and that should be reward enough. Because bunting is an integral part of the game, it should be practiced regularly. Some players are so awkward at the plate, they look like my grandma trying to bunt, and that son of a bitch is 88 years old. It’s embarrassing.

4. Teams shouldn’t award foul balls to spectators, as if it were some sort of sports emporium rather than a ballpark. Nearly every time a foul ball is hit down the line, the ball boy or ball girl snatches it up and hands it to someone sitting near the rail. These ain’t kewpie dolls, folks. These aren’t prizes to be handed out by some transient shill at a neighborhood carnival. These are regulation baseballs. They’re equipment. They’re being actively used in a professional ball game. By rights, they don’t become souvenirs until they land in the stands.

5. Don’t take a ball out of play just because it hit the dirt. It’s so tiresome to see catchers hand the ball to the ump every time a pitcher short-arms one. Really? Has the game become so antiseptic that these men can’t play with a ball that momentarily touched the ground? And please don’t say a ball that touches dirt gives the pitcher an advantage. If that were true, the ump would call for the ball whenever a throw short-hopped the first baseman.

6. For televised games, put the camera directly behind home plate for part of the time. It’s a great angle from which to watch the action. We’re not suggesting eliminating the centerfield camera, only to mix it up a bit and allow us to watch the game from a different vantage point. It’s amazing what a change it makes.

7. Encourage players not to congratulate each other for simply doing their job. A batter who moves a runner from second to third on a ground-out gets greeted in the dugout as if he just hit a homerun in the World Series. It’s High-Five City. Players are supposed to be able to move runners over; it’s part of being a professional hitter. All that an exaggerated response to a fielder’s choice does is cheapen the game.

David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor” 2nd edition), was a former union rep.  Dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

October 07, 2015
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
Luciana Bohne
The Double-Speak of American Civilian Humanitarianism
Joyce Nelson
TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal
Jonathan Cook
Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa Again
Joseph Natoli
The Wreckage in Sight We Fail To See
Piero Gleijeses
Jorge Risquet: the Brother I Never Had
Andrew Stewart
Do #BlackLivesMatter to Dunkin’ Donuts?
Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria