With basketball surpassing baseball in the 14-25 year old male demographic, here are my five ways that incoming baseball commissioner Rob Manfred can improve the game:
1.) Speed up the game: Relief specialists, longer commercial times, the replay rule are all contributing to nine innings games going three hours and beyond. This can improve by a.) only allowing a manager one trip to the mound to take the pitcher out of the game (pitching coaches and catchers won't be permitted mound visits); b.) pitchers will have a limited amount of time between pitches or a ball will be called; c.) limit warm-up pitches before innings and when a reliever enters the game to three pitches; and d.) unless time is called, the hitter must not leave the batter's box
2.) Eliminate this dreadful Obstruction Rule: The rule that was put into place to protect the catcher from violent collisions must go because it's inconsistent and really doesn't protect the catcher. In several cases already, it has adversely effected the outcome of games.
3.) World Series starting times: Baseball has lost a generation of young fans to basketball because of all-evening, all-after 8 PM start times to World Series games. The new commissioner can correct this by having weekend games played during the daytime and night games not starting after 7:30 PM. The fans at home will be able to comfortably watch the end of games and the fans at the stadiums won't freeze to death in late October weather. I know, I know, what about the competition of college football on Saturdays and the NFL on Sunday. I believe the baseball ratings won't be any worse than they are right now.
4.) Along the same theme of our young people embracing baseball again, each team must have at least one player sign autographs before a game for a minimum of 15 minutes. It's great PR for the player and their respective teams.
5.) Eliminate the DH rule in the American League. With steroids out of the game, the DH went from being among the highest paid positions to one of the lowest in the game. The NL game is so much better without it. Also, a pitcher's ERA could be quantified equally between the two leagues and, for pitchers that like to brush back hitters, well, they won't have the DH rule to hide behind anymore.