April 21, 2015

If I could change Major League Baseball...

It's baseball season...my favorite time of the year. While I haven't been to a game yet this season (sad!), you better believe I'm live streaming every Mets game (they're having such a good season!!!) and Rangers game (what is going on with them?!) and planning my stadium visits for the year!

Last week, The Pilot and I went out for dinner and, as it always does this time of year, the conversation turned to baseball.

We talking about the Cuba embrago being lifted...something that, as a Cuban American, I've been following very closely...and that, as a baseball lover, I'm very curious about.

We started talking about Dominican baseball...and that horrible book I read...and how soon it would be before the MLB starts scouting in Cuba...and then we started talking about the League in general and how so many of the players out there should really be playing Triple A. The game just isn't as competitive as it could be.

The influx of Cuban talent into the League is going to change that by bringing a lot more players to the game. Baseball is going to become a lot more competitive and 30 teams just might be too much for the competition. Wouldn't the game be a lot more interesting if the MLB eliminated two teams.

I've been saying for awhile that the MLB needs to shift things around. Houston moving to the AL was an excellent idea but I think some restructuring is in order. Eliminating two teams would help with that. Which teams? Well, that depends on a lot of factors. We talked about record, fan base, stadium attendance, team perception...everything.

Some of our contenders...Colorado, Arizona, San Diego, Kansas City...this was a long conversation, with a lot of Googling.

Who did we ultimately decide to axe?

The Tampa Bay Rays - With the 2nd to worst stadium attendance in the League (Cleveland's attendance is the worst)...and arguably (well, honestly I wouldn't argue this at all), the worst stadium in the League...it's time for the Tampa Bay Rays to hang up their helmets and call it a day.

Efforts to build a new stadium have been unsuccessful. As recently as this fall, rumors of moving the team to Montreal had surfaced with the team's owner threatening to sell the team if a new stadium isn't built. My thoughts on moving them to Montreal will be discussed in a minute, but if the population of Tampa can't get behind financing the stadium publicly and they aren't showing up to games, they aren't all that interested in having a team, so adios Tampa Bay.

Who puts an indoor stadium in Florida??

The Toronto Blue Jays - Get baseball out of Canada. I repeat. Get baseball out of Canada. Moving the Montreal Expos to Washington was an excellent idea. Moving the Tampa Bay Rays to Montreal would be a terrible idea. Baseball didn't work there the first time. It's not going to work again. When I went to Toronto and headed to a Blue Jays game...every single Canadian I spoke to said "Why? There are so many other things to do in Toronto." The only reason the game was well attended is because the Yankees were playing and all of the Yankee fans in Buffalo had crossed the border for the game. The Blue Jays are actually a decent team, but Canadians are too interested in hockey to really care about baseball all that much.

You know what else I would do? Move the Miami Marlins...to Orlando. With a brand new stadium and the 4th worst attendance in Major League Baseball (the White Sox are third), the Marlins need help. When the Marlins 2012 Manager Ozzie Guillen praised Fidel Castro just after the stadium opened, he pissed off just about every Cuban in Miami...and, in case you don't know...Cubans hold grudges. (The vast majority of 1st generation Cubans still hold a grudge against the Democratic Party because of the Bay of Pigs invasion.)

Orlando is a huge metropolitan area with a lot of Minor League teams and a high enough number of tourists visiting every year, that you'd get a good number of baseball fans who would take their Disney vacations as a chance to cross another stadium off the list.

So, there you have it...if I suddenly replaced Bud Selig as MLB Commissioner...this is what I would do. I have nothing against any of the teams listed here...these are just mine and The Pilot's fun musings on the League. Neither of us anticipate either of these changes actually taking place. 

What do you think?

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