Should baseball turn into football?

“You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the damn plate and give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game of them all.”
-Earl Weaver

People always say (at least to me) that baseball would be so much more popular if it was more like football. Let me first point out that baseball’s popularity is rising, and football’s is decreasing. Now that we have this out of the way, let’s run through the four major differences between baseball and football. (1) Salary Cap (2) Parity with regard to teams (3) Drafting rookies (4) Uniform/Personality restrictions.
I love the way baseball runs with its salary cap right now, and I HATE it with football. Football is a hard salary cap, so all teams are equal. Players are given exorbitant amounts of money so they will sign … then when they don’t want the guy anymore they just cut him and not absorb the salary cap hit…ridiculous. No one can really go above the cap, so that puts people in a hard place if they need a final piece or something. However, in baseball, it’s a luxury tax – a soft cap. You can certainly go above the cap, but you will need a luxury tax that will go to other teams to help pay for their payroll. Also, baseball teams have to be more “economical” because they are on the hook for the contract no matter what – if he’s on the DL…if he stinks…if he’s cut…the teams are on the hook. I used to be unsure if I liked that, but I realized that if they got rid of it, salaries and movement would be just like the NFL, so I definitely like that little rule that baseball has.
The hard cap creates parity. Parity is bad. It doesn’t give you dynasties. It makes managers be fired much more easily. In football, if you go to the Super Bowl (and lose) and then suffer through a 4-12 season or whatever, bye bye. How fair is that? Really…how fair is that? It doesn’t matter if you win five Super Bowls…if you finish last … buh bye. Why do NFL coaches even bother? We can always take a lesson from the Pittsburgh Steelers. TWO head coaches since 1965 or some year like that.
The way the NFL does the draft is perfect. And the way MLB does it is not. What does the NFL do? (1) it’s televised (2) it’s hyped (3) the draftees go to the reception (4) draft picks can be traded. The NFL draft helps raise awareness of the players and keeps the league in the news longer. How could MLB do this? They can have ESPN televise it. They can televise the first 10 rounds or so. And there you have it, a better image of MLB and the prospects. People will LEARN more about who they draft. Sure, it’s never going to be as big as the football draft because the rookies go right into the NFL…but if done right, it could attract viewers. Also, draft picks can be traded. Teams that can’t afford the #1 pick or don’t want it can trade it and get people/picks they want. In baseball, you can’t. I hate this concept. For example, if there was some guy named Jess Schulte who was going to demand a contract worth, say, 6 million a year … and the A’s had the first pick, and then the Yankees had the second, and the Mariners, who really wanted Schulte picked third … well … The A’s couldn’t pick Schulte, so he’d go to the Yankees. The A’s would pick a nobody (well ok, not a nobody, but no one as good as Schulte) and the Mariners would be left out in the cold. But if you could trade…The A’s could get the #3 pick and another player/prospect. THEN the Yankees are left out in the cold. (And that’s good, no?)
Ugh. The uniforms. The personalities. Why does the NFL insist on this? They’re losing viewers because of this. Everyone must be dressed the same. The socks must be the same length and god forbid if you take off your helmet a step before the sidelines. God help you if you scream in delight. In baseball, you wear what you want. Your hat is dirty? Fine. Clean? Go ahead. You want undershirts? Sure. Don’t want them? Your choice. There is VARIETY. What’s that saying … you know, how change is always a good thing? Pretty much the same thing here. And baseball players can cheer and not have fear of being fined … maybe plunked, but not fined. Bonds can point to the skies, Sosa can hop, Red Sox players can put “LILLY” on the back of their jackets … speaking of that, I loved it. The uptight (well…not uptight, more lile cultivated) Red Sox fans HATED it. But the general fan base loved it. It’s a blue-collar fanbase, with a blue-collar, Dirt-Dog team. And I loved it. THAT’s how you win games. You get in the head of the other team. You do rare things … I just loved it.
In conclusion…let’s hope the MLB never turns in the NFL. I like JUST how it is except for the Montreal situation, the turf (it should be a grass sport, and an outside sport unless there’s a hurricane going on…then close the roof) and the draft.
All hail the National Pastime.

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