Major League Baseball’s lockout continues to drag on with no end currently in sight. So in the spirit of the new year and trying to turn the page with a more optimistic outlook, here are four resolutions for the MLB in 2022.
4. Start the season on time
This is really the only thing that matters (well, to fans at least). Everything else will get sorted out in time, but more than anything, fans just want to see their teams take the field this season, ideally without any delay. With no CBA negotiations currently scheduled between the owners and MLB Players Association until late January at best, that proposition is getting a bit dicey, but it’s still not time to fully panic.
Though there will be a lot of strong words and threats thrown out there by both sides, it’ll all ultimately be forgotten by fans if the season can just get going on time. We’ll be sorting through the wreckage of the relationship between the owners and players, along with the new CBA, for years to come, but it’ll be easier to do so as long as the MLB is being played.
3. Expand the playoff field
It doesn’t seem especially certain that a salary floor would instantly improve the competition across the MLB (though it would certainly help more players get more equitable contracts). An expanded playoff field, however, would do wonders for the number of teams trying to make a concerted effort to win a World Series each season.
Even one additional playoff spot per league would keep more squads in contention each year and would allow more teams to stay in the mix for free agents in the offseason. Baseball will always have squads going through putrid stretches—something not even a salary floor could fix—but an expansion of the playoff field makes the most sense. And of course, it helps the MLB continue to rake in more and more of the almighty dollar.
2. Bring the DH to the National League
This charade of appeasing the traditionalists in baseball simply must end. Pitchers hitting in the National League is an annual disgrace, save for the few pitchers who come close to cracking the Mendoza Line each season by roping a random double or two down the line and we all go nuts for it on social media like we would have just been happy with the pitcher not holding the bat upside down or something.
Being forced to watch pitchers bat is nothing less than a war crime—and adding the designated hitter actually helps players in that it opens up 15 additional roster spots, especially for veterans looking to prolong their MLB careers. This change is a no-brainer that should likely be implemented for the coming season.
1. Do something—anything—to make the games more watchable
Baseball is in dire need of fixing its image, and this MLB stoppage certainly isn’t helping. But there are plenty of other problems in the game beyond just that: Games continue to get longer, the Hall of Fame voting process is a politicized mess, hardly anyone is familiar with the game’s biggest stars, and the league is seemingly paralyzed by a tug-of-war between those obsessed with the “unwritten rules” of the game and those who want to see baseball actually enter the 21st century. Not to mention the MLB makes it nearly impossible for people to organically share and create content on social media, unlike the NBA, which has thrived and evolved directly because of fan-led content.
Nearly everything baseball does is so deeply entrenched in the past that it makes one wonder if the game will ever get out of that funk. A younger, more dynamic MLB commissioner would be a great start. But then again, would that person really be a mouthpiece for the owners as intended? Probably not. Still, something has to change, or baseball will continue to lose fans to more dynamic, better-marketed sports. How else do you explain the median age of baseball fans being roughly 83 years old?
The sooner we accept that the MLB is in need of a major overhaul, the sooner we can all focus on righting the ship. That being said, these are just four resolutions for the new year that should help the sport get on the right track.
And once again for effect: ABOLISH THE DH!