As floated a few weeks ago, Major League Baseball is considering changing its roster rules for September rosters. As of now, the rule is rather simple. Come September 1st, you can have anyone or everyone on your 40 man roster in the dugout ready for action. The new rule, if agreed on by General Managers this week would be..... well..... we don't know what the rule would be. But it would be "fairer" and "less". To be perfectly honest, it won't cramp anyone's enjoyment of the game. However, if MLB is going to change a rule, at least they should have the integrity to say why they are changing the rule.
The story is above. I will critique it, like I remember my Freshman English teacher doing one day to a poorly written article in the School Paper. For starters, the first two paragraphs are fine.
"Some teams have been reluctant to use the larger limit late in the season."
Some? Try all. Not a team that I'm aware of has dressed 40 for a late season game. It would be counter-productive. Pitchers are worthless if they don't get occasional work There is only so much time for BP in any pre-game ritual. A cold, unprepared hitter is of limited value to a team There is no good reason to have 20 pitchers sitting in the dugout/bullpen during a game. Seventeen would be stretching it. Eighteen would probably be overkill. It might make sense in a pennant race to keep a few guys throwing into September to keep ready if a couple guys get hurt, but barring an outbreak of a contagious disease, nobody will dress forty for a game.
"They have cited not wanting to disrupt minor league teams in their playoffs, and those decisions have led to big league games in which teams having differing numbers of available players."
This sounds like a valid point. It isn't. If the league was frustrated by "number of players available", shouldn't they do something about when players are dinged or suspended? What I would like is consistency and accuracy from the league. This fails the test. Even when Joe Torre weighs in.
"Each team should have equal number of players available each day," Torre said.
Yeah, like that time in that game against the Red Sox where the Boston hitter was going to miss the crucial series, and Torre announced he was going to hold out a player on the Yankees 'for fairness sake'. Remember that one? Yeah, neither do I.
"I just think you play the season with one set of rules, and the most important time of the year, especially for clubs that are in a pennant race, I just don't think it's fair for it to be done (with a) different number of roster people."
Two major problems with this one. First off, I think the playoffs are a more important time of the year than September. Very few fans will say, "That was a compelling Regular Season. Too bad there is no portion of the season to follow it up, taking it to another level." The Playoff are when teams bust out their bunting, not September. In October, rosters return to 25. If a team is more interested in their AAA Team going for the title, have at it. But if you leave your AAAA hitters in AAA for to weeks, that's your call. And I don't remember the Giants 'ruling anybody out' when Matt Holliday "backed out" of Game 6.
And finally, the thing nobody ever seems to say. Playoff baseball is different from regular season ball. TV Networks entirely call the tune on game times. Rainout rules are different. Rostering is different. In the regular year, teams routinely play 20 days in a row. In the post-season, teams rarely play three successive days. Yeah, the rules are the same as far as innings in a game, and outs in an inning, but all types of games are different. Spring training is different from April-through-August, is different from September, is different from the playoffs.
If you want to limit the number of players eligible for games sometimes, due to a lack of some ownership groups to sell tickets and sign talent, go ahead. If Theo wants to vote a benefit to Tampa, Miami, and the residents of The Cell, then have at it. But call it what it is, a stab at saving revenue. I looked it up. The NL record for most players used in a game is 28 by the Dodgers in 1982.
Teams don't use, or even dress, 40 guys in September. Do whatever you want with the rule. I only ask two things. Don't lie to us as to why you're doing it, and don't claim that 'the game is the same in April and May as in mid-October. It isn't. Only the rules remain the same. Except for days off. And call-ups, and the likelihood of being subjected to Tim McCarver.