len kasperIf you’re just now tuning in, the overnight news was that the Cubs have reportedly signed Anthony Rizzo to a long-term extension. It’s a good start to the week.

  • That unbelievably bad throw by Kurt Suzuki in the 9th inning yesterday, which went all the way up the left field line, allowing Alfonso Soriano to score the winning run? Turns out that Suzuki’s throw hit Welington Castillo’s bat. Castillo, after the pitch, stayed perfectly in place, screening Suzuki on his throw to third. It was a case of intentional unintentional interference, and it was a pretty savvy move. Let that be a lesson for you youngsters: you don’t have to get out of the catcher’s way on a throw to third. Just stand still, and if you block him, you block him.
  • Len Kasper’s first move as Commissioner of Baseball? Ban the designated hitter (boo! hiss!). I kid with the booing, because making the rules uniform between the leagues is something with which I agree very strongly, and Len has the good sense to note that a 26th roster spot would have to be added to every team in order to appease the union. But Len’s reasoning is a little different from my own: for Len, it’s about the strategy of having the pitcher in the lineup. For reasons I’ve discussed previously, I’m not really down with the whole “strategy” argument, but I do agree that harmonizing the league rules should be a top priority for the next commissioner. For my money (or, more accurately, for the Players Association’s money), that’s probably going to mean DH in the NL, though. Len’s other commissioner suggestions are pretty interesting.
  • (In case it was unclear, Kasper isn’t actually gunning for the soon-to-be-vacated commissioner spot. He was just writing about what he’d do. Feel free to offer your own thoughts if you were commissioner-for-a-day.)
  • Here’s your daily Tom Ricketts/Wrigley renovation troll, courtesy of St. Louis writer Bill McClellan. According to McClellan, who has clearly followed the Wrigley renovation storyline closely, Tom Ricketts (1) is a villain whom Cubs fans hate (“despicable … to a Cubs fan,” is McClellan’s phrase), (2) still wants public money for “this and that,” (3) just wants to squeeze as many dollars out of Wrigley Field as possible (no mention of that, you know, renovation), and (4) craves the spotlight. Ah, yes. That must be why Ricketts is a virtual ghost when he’s not talking about the renovation (which is his job), or when he’s not walking around Wrigley Field meeting fans and posing for pictures at almost every single home game. Well, I guess that last part does sound like a guy who craves the spotlight … if you didn’t know he’s actually just a big fan himself and understands that the other fans want to meet him. Despicable villains tend not to do that.
  • Friends of the program over at Midway Madness want to hook you up with some Cubs/Sox tickets. Polish up your creative chops, and check out their contest here.
  • Tank McNamara on the Cubs, because why not. (h/t BCB)
  • Chad

    As commissioner, I would somehow punish teams that purposely make their teams bad. I’m thinking more Miami and less Chicago and Houston because the latter have a plan and WILL be competitive in three years.

    • Rcleven

      Isn’t the market all ready that?

  • David

    not that this matters, but Bill McClellan is a Cubs’ fan

  • hansman1982

    Commish for the day with infitesmal cosmic powers:

    1. DH to the NL
    1A: Special slot for shuttle player from AAA to MLB. Someone you can call up every day and send down every day if you wanted to.
    2. Look at the Cubs books.
    3. Dynamic September scheduling. Contenders play contenders, scrubs play scrubs.
    4. Bring back May as the month you played within the division
    5. Tell Chicago that unless the Cubs get all the night games and renovations they want, you will revoke their charter since the current situation is unworthy of an MLB franchise.
    6. Create a new Hall of Fame that has current members vote on induction. Give BBWAA ballots but don’t send a return address.

  • ssckelley

    I can go either way with this DH rule, it does give managers extra strategy they have to deal with especially late in the game and I do enjoy the occasional hit the pitchers get along with the occasional Zambrano that turns out to be a good hitter. On the other hand it would be nice to eliminate the typical easy out in the lineup and it would be nice if the AL & NL had the same rules.

  • @Rooting4Wrigley

    Raised as an Os fan before becoming a Cubs fan and seeing the NL/AL difference, I find making the pitchers bat much more interesting, especially when they can swing it and the opposing pitcher fails to respect them. Just look at what the Cubs pitchers have done recently with some clutch doubles. If we go full DH, pretty soon they’re going to want guys on the mound to field for them too 😉

  • mtcubfan

    I like the strategy of the game in the National League. Although I like Len’s solution, it will not fly with the union. Adding an extra slot doesn’t resolve the argument of the aging player that extends his career in the American League as a DH. An extra slot would likely mean another arm.

  • Cedlandrum

    I actually like a lot of Len’s suggestions. Especially the september roster and the uniforms. I would prefer the DH in both leagues though.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Actually Bill McClellan is a really talented guy, and he is a huge Cub fan. For that a lot of people in St. Louis hate the guy. And he regularly ribs the Cardinals, he is the guy that came up with the classic name, “Tony LaGenuis”.
    He grew up in inner city Chicago and his dad worked for the city, so I think he is kind of stuck in the tradition mode. And he is always ribbing the rich and elite, kind of a working man kind of guy attitude. He calls the owner of the Rams, one of the “marriedwells”, because he got all his money by marrying Sam Walton’s daughter. Doesn’t sound like he knows all the components of what has gone on with the whole deal. Send him a civil email with your thoughts, he is a good guy and will respond.

    • Timmy

      I agree with his whole article. Ricket’s doesn’t understand public trust and sportsmanship and just wants to personally profit off of our team. He’s horrible.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        He sure wastes a lot of money on expensive front office hires, data systems, farm park upgrades, Dominican facilities, and non-revenue-generating stadium fixes for a guy who just wants to profit off of the team. What a dope he must be.

      • bbmoney

        What do you mean by “public trust and sportsmanship”?

      • Boogens

        “I agree with his whole article. Ricket’s doesn’t understand public trust and sportsmanship and just wants to personally profit off of our team. He’s horrible.”

        Public trust and just wants to profit off the Cubs? Ricketts is a guy that has been steadfast in his committment to staying at Wrigley, to the point where he has been roundly criticized for giving away his leverage by stating it. This is also the guy that said he won’t sell the naming rights for Wrigley and is going to re-create the 1930s facade for Wrigley. Sure sounds like a money grabbing guy that’s out of touch, huh?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That may well be the case (and I knew he was a Cubs fan – he says as much in the piece), but I don’t really have much interest in conversing with him about the article. It was as bottom-of-the-barrel as it gets, and doesn’t read like someone who’s all that interested in being corrected.

      • Timmy

        Comeon, even Theo has admitted he won’t have cash to invest at the range that the Cubs’ revenue permits for 5+ years after he got to the team.

        Two off-seasons down, in three years he’ll be allowed to have a payroll in line with what are currently owner profits. Our ownership are like the ownership in the movie Major League. Money, profits, suing the community, attacking the president along racial lines.

        Why does our culture route against our own sports teams and for the owners who are ruining them these days? Is this why we fought Vietnam?

    • Ron

      Wow, that article offered nothing but “I hate rich people” there wasn’t a sigle sentence that provided substance to any discussion. His love for PK Wrigley is baffeling and I think he needs a copy of Oswego Chris’s book for some understaning.

      • bbmoney

        That article really was a total waste. Just taking potshots and glorifying the olden days.

        I mean if you don’t like jumbotrons and night games and rich people, there is no reason to worry about letting the facts of the renovation and realities the MLB as a business in 2013 get in your way……

      • Jack Weiland

        Also – Schaumburg, not Schaumberg.

        That guy is an idiot.

    • mjhurdle

      “Doesn’t sound like he knows all the components of what has gone on with the whole deal.”
      I think that is my problem with his (and others) articles concerning the renovation.
      I have no problem with people disagreeing with the Cubs front office. There are many sides to any story, and had he attempted to write an accurate article using all the facts to come to a conclusion i don’t necessarily agree with, i would have no problem with him.
      But when you attack someone personally, you should at least be expected to educate yourself on what you are attacking them for.
      McClellan’s article is either a deliberate misleading attack against Ricketts at worst, or an example of lazy journalism at best.
      As much i would like to give him a pass because he is a Cubs fan and Cardinal fans don’t like him, there is no excuse for such shoddy work in my opinion, especially considering that someone’s reputation is at stake.

  • Timmy

    Yes to the uniform rule, and yes to the banning of DH. Everyone on the field should bat, and everyone who bats should be on the field. He’s got my vote!

    • hansman1982

      So why shouldn’t everyone have to pitch?

      If pitchers have to field, hit and pitch, why do positional players get away with just fielding and hitting?

      • ETS


        A better question is why are we rehashing arguments we have had on this site a dozen times?

        • hansman1982

          Because it’s fun and what in the hell else are we going to discuss?

          I guess we could also discuss:

          So what do you think of Epstein’s free agency moves thus far?
          Are the Cubs broke? If the Cubs are broke, why are they leaving tens of millions on the table?
          What team would you have signed in the past two years?

          • terencemann

            It’s still too early to tell but I can concede that an Aramis Ramirez extension/re-signing might not be as bad as I initially thought.

  • Spriggs

    I would be OK with all of Len’s suggestions. A little confused on how his playoff scheme would work though. Who would be playing in the 2nd round with 3 teams left? Did I miss something there?

    A move I would make would be to limit (or eliminate) pitching changes in mid inning (with injury exceptions). Maybe allow one mid inning switch per game. To me, there is nothing more frustrating than when I have to sit through up to 4 pitching changes in an inning – especially when the outcome really isn’t even in doubt. Plus it would bring a little more offense into the game (less lefty, righty moves and would nearly eliminate the need for loogies – a good thing). And it would not take away from strategy, it would just change it. A manager would have to make decisions if his pitcher could/would start/finish an inning. (with LaRussa gone, this is a little less of a problem actually – so never mind).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha. Yeah, the playoff math doesn’t quite work in the second round.

      • Jim

        I think the math does work. You would have 2 divisions in each league and a wild card. The first round is the wild card against the division team winner with the worst record. The division team with the best record gets a first round bye and then plays the winner of the first round. The winner of that advances on to the World Series. With this setup, there would only be one series at a time in each league happening in the playoffs. I prefer the 3 divisions much better!

        • hansman1982

          Bye’s in baseball will never happen. Baseball just isn’t a sport where you can take a week off and come back and perform worth a darn. Especially against teams that have been playing that week.

        • Spriggs

          Oh, I get it. Four 8-team divisions total in all of MLB — Two 8-team divisions in each league. The problem with that is only 3 teams in each league make the playoffs. I don’t think that is a feasible direction. Currently there are 5 teams in each league and I don’t see that going down. But I would be for it!

  • BD

    Two expansion teams (not sure about Montreal- they already lost one franchise, why should they get another?), but expand the playoffs to 8 teams per league with an extra round.

    Then, remove the days off during the playoffs. Off days are not a consistent part of the regular season, why should they be in the playoffs?

    • ssckelley

      No way should MLB ever consider putting a team in Montreal again. I am not a big fan of expansion, if anything I think MLB could drop a couple of teams. I think it is ridicules baseball has to cater to so many small market teams

      • Patrick W.

        Portland, OR should absolutely have a MLB Team.

  • Stu

    It’s not trolling to point out that Ricketts took on a tremendous amount of debt which is hindering the product on the field in which paying customers are viewing an inferior product that otherwise a more cash rich owner wouldn’t be doing.

    • brickhouse

      Any new owner not just Ricketts would have been forced to take on the tremendous amount of debt. Even if the new owner was cash rich the deal prevents the team from paying early which caused many potential buyers to back out.

      • terencemann

        Exactly. It’s not about how much money the current owners have, it’s about the way the sale worked and the way any reasonable business owner is going to have an entity run.

  • David

    Won’t get my vote. Bring on the DH and bring on Vogelbach!

  • amskustoms

    Mark Cuban could have been without massive debt, but baseball does not want him. I dont understand why not. He has done great things in Dallas.

    • terencemann

      The terms of the sale were what forced the Ricketts to take on the debt so anybody buying the team would be in a similar situation.

    • brickhouse

      Mark Cuban would have had to take the same deal and had the same debt without the ability to pay off early. Zell made a good deal for the Tribune and bad for any buyer of the Cubs.

  • terencemann

    I’m guessing Commissioner MacPhail won’t want to rock the boat early into his first term unless the DH is something the NL owners really want.

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    If pitchers don’t often hit in college or in the minors, why should they hit in the National League? The NL is the oddball.

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    If I was a manager in the NL and was facing a tough pitcher, Id consider putting the pitcher on base more often for the sake of wearing ’em down & not letting ’em rest their arm!

  • nosup4u

    If I was commisioner for a day I would unban one mr. Pete Rose

  • Crockett

    Actually, the big carrot than Len offers in regards to the DH elimination is the expansion. That adds 52 new MLB contracts and the union would likely agree to that.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Sure. He didn’t explicitly pair them (and I’m anti-expansion), so I didn’t really raise. You’re right, though. I’d think players would drool over expansion.

  • ssckelley

    I do like the idea of adding a 5th umpire and putting them in the booth. That way if a call needs to be reviewed the call can get reversed (or upheld) without slowing the game down.

  • Paul

    Kasper 2016

  • Dan

    If I were commissioner of baseball I would

    1 Get rid of the rookie wage scale so every team can sign their draft picks w/o losing next years draft picks
    2 Trade draft picks so teams that really need more than just one pick can trade down
    3 Get rid of the American League DH

  • Patrick W.

    I’ve had a rule change running around my brain for 30 years. I’d like to see the batter be able to attempt to advance to 1st base on any count when there is a wild pitch or passed ball according to the 2 strike rule (empty base less than two outs, or occupied on third out). I would draw a line 30 feet up the first base line. If on any count a ball was not caught cleanly by the catcher the batter can break for 1st, and stop before he reaches 30 feet down the baseline and return to bat. Once the batter passes 30 feet he is attempting to advance to 1st base and can be thrown out at 1st or tagged out.

  • Bob Wininger

    Allow the DH in both leagues – but not for the pitcher. The pitcher hits. DH for any other starter. This would also allow for super fielding shortstops to emerge.

    • Stinky Pete

      Ha. I think that’s a solution that would make nobody happy.

  • Jed Jam Band

    Commish For A Day:

    1) Give the DH to the NL
    2) Revert to old draft structure (basically, take restrictions off of slots)
    3) International Draft (5 rounds, yadda, yadda)
    4) Heavily Increased Revenue Sharing, Especially To Benefit Bottom 3rd of League (By Revenue)
    5) Set Limit on Amount of Debt A Prospective Owner Can Take On In Process of Purchasing and Organization
    6) Create Rule Disallowing The Even Partial Ownership of a team while a member of MLB’s offices (Commish, VP, etc)
    7) Eliminate the Wild Card…All of them
    —7A. By doing this, we create a new playoff structure. Each division winner gets into playoffs, unless one of these winners is below .500. If this were to occur, best second-place team would get in instead. Top team in each of the AL and NL gets bye to Championship Series, thus giving a discernible advantage to having the best record. All series would now be 7 games.
    8) Ball/Strike, Fair/Foul, and Home Run Calls would all be performed by sensors and the like. There would be umpires to call safe/out at each base until technology can perform this function. There would also be a Crew Chief, who would be on the field to help settle umpiring disputes. Finally, a booth ump would be established for replay purposes.

    There’s more, but I have to get going.

  • cubsin

    Want more offense? Only six slots in the batting order, with unlimited substitutions for hitters, except nobody can bat twice within any set of six at bats. Hitters aren’t required to play defense, so the number of DH’s is limited only by roster size. Unlimited substitutions for pitchers only after the beginning of the tenth inning.

  • Ed Wiese

    I have a crazy Idea. All teams have a turn back the clock day on the same day. Even have the umpires in the old uniform!

  • Phillip

    DH. Let’s see, that’s when a pitcher hits a batter, then hides in the dugout while an old has-been gets in the box to face retaliation. Sorry, that’s not my kind of baseball.