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Commissioner for a Day (cont.)

Posted: Thursday July 6, 2006 11:44AM; Updated: Tuesday July 11, 2006 1:41AM
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5. Start World Series games no later than 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time, with Saturday games starting at 6 p.m.: A whole generation of kids have grown up never having seen Mariano Rivera pitch in October; he usually does so around midnight.

6. Increase steroid testing: Adopt the WBC method: Two players from each team should be randomly tested after every game. Also, as in the Olympics, substances that turn up positive in tests will be announced along with the suspension.

7. Hold all appeals of suspensions within 24 hours: Ever heard of video conferencing? Please stop the practice of guys filing appeals just to enable them to drop them at a more convenient time.

8. Mandate that every club set aside 200 free tickets for every home date for youth groups: Owners, I'm sure you're smart enough to build the lost revenue into the prices of the box seats and luxury suites. But baseball needs to make a real effort to reach out to kids. Making them welcome at the ballpark can make them fans for life.

9. Demand that every team spend at least 80 percent of the league average payroll over any three-year period: It's the reverse luxury tax system. The 2006 Marlins are a travesty to baseball and a mockery of the revenue-sharing system. They are making no attempt to field a major-league-caliber team. You want to cut back on payroll one year? Fine, but you'd better spend that welfare money you're getting over the next two seasons.

10. Limit September call-ups: It's ridiculous that pennant-race games can be decided by large-revenue teams playing with as many as 40 available players after playing five months with 25. Lower-revenue clubs don't like paying so many extras or starting their service clocks, which also increases costs. The solution: Every night the manager must designate no more than five players who were not on the Aug. 31 roster as his active September additions. A team may want to give more than five players the experience of being called up to the bigs in September, but you must keep the playing field even every night by putting a universal limit on it.

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