Advice and help on becoming a world class photographer by Sports Photographer Vince Rush

2011 Opening Day for Major League Baseball….IN MARCH?????

Dayton Sports Photographer Vince Rush

This Thursday, March 31st, marks the opening day for Major League Baseball as the Cincinnati Reds take on the Brewers at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Yesterday my friends little league team, The Monroe Swarm, was warming up to a snow covered outfield and 33 degree temps.

I never understood why Major League Baseball feels the need to, 1) Not only start the season so early and finish the World Series in November and 2) take a full 162 games to be able to determine a winner of a division.

I’m a huge baseball fan. I love the game. The best times of my youth were centered around baseball. But if Barak Obama appointed me Baseball Czar, I would make some changes to the game, both for entertainment as well as economic purposes.

Here is a plan that I’ve had in my own mind for fixing Major League Baseball, or should I say, enhancing MLB to cater to the fans and benefit the game it’s self. Bud Selig, if you read my blog, feel free to call me and discuss. I have more ideas than just this, but lets start with re aligning the divisions and creating a Regional plan that works.

I will also state that I am fully aware that the rating for THIS post season have been very good. But lets not forget that there is the benefit of a marquee match up and any time the Yankees are in the post season there is going to be a huge ratings boost. I will guarantee that if the series was being played right now, between the Rockies and the Twins, you would have a hard time giving advertising away and there more empty seats than a Vanilla Ice reunion tour.

I know baseball went through re-alignment a few years ago, but that means it can be done again, for the better of the game, by being better for the fans.

I also know that this is not the first time the idea has been approached by columnists, bloggers and various sources. But while google searching the realignment arguments, I have yet to find a posting during the first three pages that either 1) Makes Sense or 2) Presents a valid reason behind their plan.

And while there are those who scream that my ideas mess with tradition, I state back that the definition of stupidity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, simply because you’ve always done it like that, even if it doesn’t work.

Here’s a thought; Lets not change anything and re-address the issue in ten years when there are less fans and less revenue and we start caring about the health and the future game and less about upsetting the ghosts of the past. There isn’t really a corn field in Iowa where Shoeless Joe will walk out of the tall stalks to pass with you if you make him happy. It was a movie.

Baseball needs to make a radical shift in the way it does business and markets its self if it wants to continue to grow and develop a generation of fans from the ranks of the youth. Today’s kids have more alternatives than ever baseball has more competition than ever before.

Look no matter how much the old “traditionalists” with hair growing from their ears want to believe that the spirits of Jolting Joe DiMaggio, Ty Cobb, The Babe and Ted Williams are going to re-appear and curse the game if Major League Baseball breaks from tradition, the fact is that interest in the game, fueled by a weakening economy and and alternatives to going to the park such as High Def TV and 300 cable channels with several games on per night.

The Vincent Rush / Cincinnati Sports Photography Plan for Fixing Major League Baseball

Lets create 3 Divisions of 10 teams each in a way that makes sense regionally;

Eastern Division:
Boston Redsox
NY Yankees
NY Mets
Toronto Blue Jays
Philadelphia Phillies
Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays
Florida Marlins

Central Division:
Pittsburgh Pirates
Cleveland Indians
Cincinnati Reds
Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox
Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals

Western Division:
Seattle Mariners
San Francisco Giants
Oakland A’s
LA Angles
LA Dodgers
SD Padres
Arizona D Backs
Colorado Rockies
Houston Astros
Texas Rangers

At the end of the season, top 12 teams in baseball advance to a seeded bracketed playoff system based on record. The winners of  their divisions and the 4th best record  have a bye.  In the unlikely event that the winner of a division has the 13th best record, then a 1 game playoff or shall we say a “Play In” game would exist between number 12 and number 13, but only if that was the unlikely case.

First round best 2/3 next round, best of  5.  and then best of 7 in Championship semi Finals and Championship finals.

This, although it does not guarantee, it does create a better probability of the two best teams meeting at the end.

Start the regular season on the 15th of April and end on the 15th of September.

Either reduce the regular season schedule by the 25 games lost or make up a portion of them in more double headers throughout the season as a way of enticing fans to come to the park knowing that they can get a full day of baseball for the money. Double headers were and are still great for families on a Saturday or Sunday. It does not matter if the players like them or not. The fans are the ones who buy the tickets.

Baseball will make it up on the increased revenue from TV, attendance, concessions, better weather and the laws of supply and demand. If there is any doubt as to this theory, ask yourself how many teams sold out the season in the current schedule?

Regional divisions will help foster closer rivalries, and encourage more fans to attend more away games because of the closeness. There will be less time difference conflicts that lose TV viewers.

Baseball as a whole and teams in general will save money on travel throughout the course of the season and can promote it as a environmentally conscious step to help reduce carbon emissions through decreased fuel consumption. Do you realize for example that the Yankees made 10 road trips to Chicago or further. The average team made about 10 long distance road trips. What if all the coastal teams could eliminate the cross country treks?. If MLB wanted to maintain some form of inter league play, they could work coordinate cross country match ups. The savings on travel would be into the millions for baseball and the teams.

As a result of the new start and finish dates of the season, there will be less chance of snow games, rain outs, temperatures in the 30’s and re-schedules. Baseball will also not be starting the World Series and competing with the beginning of the NBA season. The Series will end in October with only the NFL to compete with.

One conflict will be how to determine who plays in an All Star Game, or if it will be necessary to continue.

Or what if a team moves, folds or MLB wants to expand? What if Florida moves to Indianapolis? Then simply tweak the division by moving a team or two. The key is to be progressive and decisive and not wait 10 years to make up your mind.

Another obstacle, as I’ve said before, is the always strong opposition of so the called “Baseball Purists“. What is purity in the game any more? If these “Pure-ists” were committed to their mantra, all players would be wearing baggy flannels and using the old mitts of yester-year, there would be no designated hitter and there would only be two teams that played it out at the end of the season. And lets do away with all domes and field turf, and the middle relief pitchers.

I think it would also, at this stage of the game become a big part of the Bud Selig legacy. The game is in better shape than when he found it, That doesn’t mean that he can’t set it up to be even better 20 years after he leaves.

Chances of this becoming anything more than a pipe dream????? About the same as my dream of seeing the All Star Home Run Hitting Contest done with Aluminum and Composite bats.

As an adult, I would actually sit through a HR contest if I thought there was a chance of seeing a 600 foot shot or a light busted out of the tower. As a kid, I would run out to Dicks and buy whatever bat A-Rod or Josh Hamilton just hit one out of Yankee Stadium with.

Think of the advertising dollars baseball would draw or endorsement money players would pull down from the likes of Easton, TPX, DeMarini, Rawlings or Miken! And don’t cry about tradition again. Since when does a batter stand at the plate and hit off of a batting practice pitcher during a traditional game? The Home Run hitting contest should be the same type of freak show the NBA Slam Dunk contest is.

A 7-15 year kid knows nothing about tradition! Baseball has to quit marketing to the “wing tips” and start marketing to the flip fops, to continue to grow it’s fan base.

Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!

Posted by Monroe Ohio photographer Vincent Rush, Cincinnati Sports Photography and Dayton Sports Photography of Monroe Ohio. Vince Rush can be contacted by phone at (877) 858-6295 or by email at vrush@rushintl.com or visit http://CincinnatiSportsPhotography.com Check out my about.me profile!

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