While we all wait to see how Jeff is doing, I thought maybe somebody should show Klat that the community is continuing, for the moment at least, especially if it might mean that Doc's writing quota could be filled for November. I don't know how the deal with Klat works, but if a few articles and lots of comments would earn some credit for Doc, I'm going to try to help.
I'll start this post with some suggestions on rule changes I'd like to see. If others can chip in their ideas, maybe we can attract some interest.
Rule Change #1 -
As the pitcher sets for each pitch, there shall be two infielders stationed on the infield dirt on either side of a line drawn from home plate through second base. There shall be no more than two outfielders on one side of the same line. If the team chooses to station an infielder directly behind 2nd base, he may allowed two steps to either side (5 feet) to be able to see around the pitcher. Teams shall place a mark at a point 5 feet to either side of the home plate - second base - centerfield line at both edges where dirt changes to grass, using chalk or charcoal, to allow sighting his position.
This change would rule out shifts of the type currently used and revert to previous practice, where the corner outfielder can come in and the center fielder shade behind him, but the infielders remain mostly on "their" side of the field. Allowing the SS or 2nd baseman, when stationed "straight-away" to peer around the pitcher is strictly for safety purposes. This should clear the way for hitting, without drastically hampering the defense.
Rule Change #2 -
Following the championship season, players under contract whose medical prognosis obviously will prohibit their starting the following season, such as players with joint repairs that require extensive rehabilitation, may be placed on a medical restricted list during the off-season and need not be counted against the 40-man roster limit. A maximum of two players per team may be protected in this way. At the start of the following season, those players will be placed on the 60-day disabled list with the special proviso that they will not play in any league, minor or major, until after July 1st of that season.
Simply better roster flexibilty and encouragement for teams to keep injured players under contract rather than releasing them. (cough, Smyly, cough)
Rule Change #3 -
For the first 25 games of the championship season, teams may be allowed 27 players on their active roster. Starting on the 26th game, rosters shall be set at 25 players. Starting September 1st of each season, teams will be allowed 30 players on the active roster, but will declare a list of 21 players eligible for each game during the exchange of lineups.
Eliminates 12-man bullpens and other excesses of the current September rosters, while still allowing teams to look at promising prospects. For the season beginning, it is to allow teams to use pitchers for shorter outings in cold weather, now that the season is starting in Late March, rather than Mid-April. This was a practice from 1957-67, when teams were allowed 28 players in April, but was a casualty of supposed penury in the 60s. Time to bring it back.
Rule Change #4 -
For this, I have no specific suggestion, just that clubs have to stop gaming the player service rules by keeping young players in the minors when they are ready to play MLB(tm) baseball. Whether making April, like September, not count in service time in some instances, or what, I'm not sure. But it's a real turn-off for fans.
The floor is open for other suggestions. Hopefully, somebody will fix these problems soon, whether they take our suggestions or negotiate their own.