It was recently reported that baseball commissioner Bud Selig will resign after his contract expires at the end of 2012. I formally announce my application for his job. Selig made around $18,000,000 in salary as commissioner, I will do the job for the cut-rate salary of just $1,000,000 (see, I'm already saving baseball some cash!).
The primary focus of my commissionership would be to increase the popularity of baseball in general. Over the last few years, football and basketball have either moved ahead or significantly challenged baseball as the favorite sport of American sports fans. Besides hiring "bat-shit crazy" Stirrups to be the Vice President of Marketing, I'd propose the following:
- During the next collective bargaining negotiations , I will insist on a clause to be included into each player contract stating for each $10 earned in salary, the player is required to participate in 1 second of community service (this equals approximately a half hour per million dollars earned). What I mean by community service isn't picking up trash along the freeway, but rather conducting baseball clinics for kids, visits to children hospitals, autograph sessions for charity, etc. The minimum community service time will be one hour. The players are the product and I feel baseball has done a poor job of marketing their most important asset. Meeting a player in person would create a bond for young fans that would carry over into the rest of their lives. Everyone remembers getting an autograph or meeting a player from their favorite team and the impact it had on them. If every player made a least a few of these bonds, baseball in general will benefit greatly.
- Not only would the players be responsible for doing community service, but also the front office and management. How about a minute for every win? Wouldn't it be cool to get a stadium tour from Arte Moreno? How about Tony Reagins visiting your kid's fifth-grade class? Mike Scioscia conducting a clinic for the Anaheim Boys and Girls Club?
- Every team will be required to host one family per game. Provide a family with free tickets, hot dogs, sodas and souvenir.
Some other changes I'd make:
- The use of instant replay. Both managers would be allowed to challenge one play per game, except balls and strike calls. Much like the NFL coaches challenges, managers can have the umpiring crew review a call for accuracy. One problem with this scenario would be where to place the players/runners if the call is overturned. For example, men on second and third and the batter hits a line drive down the line. Umpire calls the ball foul, but upon review, the call is overturned. What happens then?
- Revenue Sharing. Once again, much like the NFL, a fund should be set up from television revenue. Unlike the NFL, each MLB team negotiates their own television contracts, but why should one team receive the entire contract amount when there are two teams playing on any given day? Instead of taxing payroll, have each team be required to submit a portion of their television revenue into a "fund". Then that fund would be split among each of the teams (by league). I realize that many teams receive huge amounts of money from their television deals and a lot of a team's value is derived from their television revenue, but the plan could be eased into over many years. Plus, with the increased popularity of baseball from the above changes, owners could expect increased revenue.
Okay, I admit some of these proposals may be questionable, but as commissioner I'd be willing to listen to the fans and their suggestions. What suggestions would you make if the commissioner would actually listen?