T.O.: I would make the All-Star game not count any more. It is supposed to be for the fans and the players to enjoy. Some of the greatest all star moments have been moments where a legend got one final nod like Ripken getting moved from 3rd to short by A-rod in his final game or Jeter getting 2 final hits and leading off for the AL or even farther back players "picking their spot" for a pitcher to throw them a pitch in their final All Star AB. I understand the tie several years back was embarrassing and a travesty, BUT find a better way to make guys play hard in the game versus having guys who have no chance of making the world series (guys on teams that are in the cellar) having an impact on the teams that do. And yes, I realize the Cardinals are to blame for this years NL loss.
B: As MLB commissioner for a day, I would make the PED policy more strict. Instead of a 50 game suspension for the first offense, I'd make it 100 and the second offense would be a life time ban. Of course I'd allow players to appeal and make sure that the science was accurate and that their was substantial evidence against the player before handing out the discipline, however, the suspension/ban would start right away even if the player was appealing. PEDs have no place in baseball and with players still being suspended for PED use, it is evident that the current policy is not strong enough. For the Ryan Braun fans out there who still maintain his innocence, you know where you get stick your thoughts. I'd also try to oust the idiot owners of the Rockies but that's a different post for a different day.
M.M.: If I could be the commissioner of Major League Baseball I would eliminate the DH. Being a recent AL to NL convert has made me appreciate strategic moves like the double switch that don't happen when a DH is used. I like that the DH can help extend a players career but it dilutes the game too much.
T.O.: I am not sure, exactly, how this could be enforced, but I really can't stand the teams that have 3+ superstars on one team. What the Heat, Celtics, and others have done is really bad for the game. It creates a league that is very divided, and it makes it hard for mid to small market teams to compete. The Pacers are doing it now, but it took several years of building, not one man opening up his check book. The easiest way would be to create a "Hard Cap" rather than the current salary cap situation. Even with the luxury tax as high as its ever been, large market teams have no qualms about dipping into their revenue to load up a team. They have added exceptions to help teams not go over the "salary cap" and force themselves to pay the luxury tax, but taking advantage of these exceptions forces teams into a hard cap via the rules, limiting what they are able to do during a season, where teams with the money to go into the cap have no limit to what they are allowed to spend.
B: Hard salary cap end of story.
M.M.: I would eliminate the All-Star game and just have an All-Star break in which we could watch the slam dunk and three point contest. The game is useless. Unlike MLB, in which the game actually means something, the NBA all-star game boring, even if they score close to 500 points.
T.O.: I am going to say fix the regular season overtime. The players don't even know the rules (as noted by many interviews after 2 teams tie). I don't mind the tie AT ALL. But the current system where its sudden death, unless you kick a FG, but that is only the case if you had the ball first, and its 15 minutes, maybe. It is just a confusing mess and I think that someone could come up with a better system. Whether it is a FG shootout from increasing distance (homage to FIFA with a twist) or you just call it a tie at the end of regulation, or you play it out until there is a winner, or whatever else you can think of, the current system is leaving us all wanting.
B: I agree with TO that OT needs changed. I also think ticket prices are absurdly high, especially for a sport that only plays 16 games in the regular season. Some where my econ teacher is going on about supply and demand...still absurd. However, if I had just one day, I think I would make the play clock so much shorter. I know there are some really, really big dudes out there but they're supposed to be athletes right? I mean if they're only playing every other snap, then I think they can hurry up and get on and off the field faster. It just seems like there is so much down time between plays. They have 40 seconds from the time the referee winds the clock and it just seems like so much standing around. Let's make it a little more exciting. Also, this would stop the victory formation from coming out so soon which I've always thought was the most anti-climatic way to end a game. Let's make it 20-30 seconds.
M.M.: I would review all of the rules and set clear expectations, like the MLB, on what actions result in what consequences. I am sick of this case by case crap. Robert Mathis is out for four games because he took a drug to help get his wife pregnant. Ray Rice is out for two games because he physically assaulted his wife. I personally would lay out very clear rules. First time PED charge gets 6 games, second time gets full season, third time is lifetime ban. First time drug abuse is a full season, second offense is life-time ban. Same goes for assault, battery or any other attack. I would continue with this list until everything was covered and if something was left out then I would hope the next commissioner, after my day is complete, would fill in the gaps.
T.O.: I am going to pick two things here (cop out I know). The first is I really want to see some sort of measure taken to deal with the growing number of concussions that go unattended to in professional soccer. I would like to see the addition of a "concussion sub" that allows a player to come off for a few minutes (maybe cap it at 10) to undergo concussion testing. Players and teams don't want to have to play a man down while a player is assessed and I get that, but, as with Taylor Twellman, a players career can be greatly affected by concussions and, as a result, can end a career too soon.
Secondly, I want to see some sort of promotion and relegation system put in place in the MLS and lower leagues. This would create more incentive for not having a down year and would give more incentive to finishing near the top in the lower leagues. I know american sports aren't used to this system, but the MLS would be better for it I think.
B: TO nailed this one. I would love a relegation system between the lower leagues and MLS. I think this is really the only sport here in the US and Canada where it would work. I think it would be good for MLS, the lower leagues, and soccer in the US as a whole. With that said, I would immediately stop trying to grow MLS and develop a body similar to the FA (Football Association) in England, that would bring all three leagues (MLS, NASL, USL) together and begin setting up the promotion and relegation system.
M.M.: Since Taylor and Benton took care of the relegation system I will tackle something else here. Assuming my TSG team mates can complete their tasks, which I have all of the confidence in the world, I would help get this sport on the map. I would sign a 5 year deal, that is favorable to a large T.V. channel (I mean ABC, NBC or FOX) to get the MLS on prime time at least once a week during the season. Give the channel a good deal with all related televised commercials, including the idea to run a commercial at the bottom of the screen every 15 minutes to give some additional revenue. Then I would make sure I had sponsors all over the field and jersey's and start shoving this league down peoples throats. I hear about the NFL non-stop...time to at least see the MLS.
T.O.: Shootouts need to go. Moving on.
B: I'm going to disagree with TO because I tying sucks. To quote a number of people, "tying is like kissing your sister," however, you still get a winner with the shoot out in the regular season and don't have to sit through multiple OTs several weeks a season. I'm glad that playoff games go until some one scores which could be 10 OT but you don't have a shoot out which is how I think the World Cup should operate...I digress. So what would I change? It's related to the tie/shoot out. I would change the points system. An outright winner in regulation or the 5 minute OT would earn 3 points. Both teams would receive 1 point for the tie (ala soccer), however, the winner of the shoot out would garner an extra point for a total of 2 points. An outright loss as it should and does, earns zero points. I think this system is better than the current because it makes a regulation/OT win worth more than the shoot out.
M.M. I would establish a line going west to east and any team south of about 37 degrees north would be moved to a city in Canada. Tampa Bay and Phoenix should not have a hockey team. When was the last time they saw ice in it's natural habitat? I will give you a clue - the ice age.
T.O.: This one is tricky, because the NCAA is a mess. If I could only change one thing, I think I would push for an expanded playoff system in college football. I would set it up much like the DII sports do their NCAA tourneys (similar to NCAA DI baseball) where teams are assigned to a region and the winner of the region moves on to national quarters, semis or finals. For example, the Big 10 and MAC may fall into the Midwest region where 4/6/8 teams have a mini playoff that feeds into an elite 8 or final 4 with the winners of the other regions. The 2 best teams may not play for the national championship, but March Madness rarely gets that, but people love it anyway. I think it would be a positive change for the NCAA football world.
B: Everything TO just said especially about the NCAA being a mess. I'm hoping the new DI playoff system gives them a good start and foundation on which to build for the future.
M.M.: I would squash this "NCAA players should get paid" bug. If an NCAA player is good enough they get paid through a scholarship. Players should be able to hold other jobs if needed but would not be able to take bribes. Jersey can sell with numbers but not names. End of story.
T.O.: One thing that astounded me in this past world cup was the number of Americans, particularly in the national media, that were chastising fans for celebrating a Tie or, heaven forbid, a close loss (to the eventual champions I might add). The USA had a strong showing in the World Cup and we as Americans should be proud of that. Celebrating close losses and ties to better opposition isn't a sin. It isn't ruining the moral fiber of America. It is seeing things for how they are. So back to the initial question: I think we need to put less emphasis on winning at the lower levels. 6 year old kids shouldn't care about wins, losses and ties. They should worry about playing hard, developing skills, and enjoying the game. Wins are GREAT, regardless of your age, but, teaching a kid that the only way to be a success is to win... telling them that they can't appreciate losing a close game in which they played hard and represented themselves and their team well against a team that is just flat out more talented than them... that's ruining Americans, not the other way around.
B: I would continue to raise support, found, help fund, and develop programs that allow anyone regardless of financial status to play sports. No one should not be able to play in a league, especially kids, just because they can't afford it.
M.M.: I would continue to crack down and make the drug policies tougher and tougher. As competition increases so does the pressure to find ways to compete. There are two many examples of players getting into PED's and in some cases drugs or hard drugs and destroying lives. I would also like to see someone start to tackle the issue of concussions. The number of concussions happening in youth sports, and professional sports, is on the raise. These injuries are serious and have a serious long term impact on people's livelihood.