The Danny Picard Show

This week, Danny discussed what changes he would make to professional sports when they return:

The four major sports won’t be gone forever. As to when exactly they’ll return, that remains to be seen. But it is promising to see both Golf and MMA putting on events soon.

Whenever the four “majors” follow the lead of the PGA and UFC, they should return with a somewhat different feel. All four of them.

With so much time off, you’d like to think that the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL are all taking some time to re-evaluate their product. As fans, we’ve certainly had more than enough time to both evaluate and re-imagine what a sports return would look like. But does it have to look the same?

Each league would be wise to take advantage of the time off. Turn a negative into a positive. Is there something that can be done differently that you couldn’t necessarily change under the previous status quo? Is there a way to make improvements, or at least, are there improvements you could propose during this time in which everything is shut down?

If any of those commissioners are answering “no” to those questions, then they should not be commissioner. Improvements can always be made. And what better time to make those improvements than right now?

So here are a few improvements I would make, if I was the one making those decisions:

1) Shorten the regular season

I would do this in the NBA, NHL, and MLB. The NFL has just extended its regular season from 16 games to 17 games, but still, that length is OK with me. I would definitely shorten the regular season schedules in the other three major sports though.

Does Major League Baseball really need to play 162 regular-season games? Come on now. Let’s make it 150 games and begin the regular season in mid-April, rather than the last week of March.

As for the NBA and NHL, both leagues currently play an 82-game regular season. That’s far too long. Make it 65 games. Push the beginning of the NHL season from the first week in October to mid-November. And push the beginning of the NBA season from the last week in October to the first week in December.

What will you watch in October and November? You’ll watch the MLB Postseason and the NFL regular season. It’ll be seamless.

2) Cut down on instant replay challenges

-This should be across the board. There’s just too much instant replay in pro sports. Initially, the idea was, “Let’s minimize the game-changing mistakes by referees in real time that might cost teams games, and ultimately, championships.” And OK, I understand the sentiment. In a vacuum, it makes sense.

But now that we’ve actually had to live through the non-stop challenges and reviews, only to see that it still doesn’t guarantee a correct call upon that further review, hasn’t instant replay become more of a disruption than a necessity at this point? I think it has. So I’d like to take this time to change it.

I mean, for crying out loud, the NFL started allowing challenges for pass interference last year. How foolish is that? Review touchdowns, catches, and fumbles and let’s call it a day. Even if you wanted to stop reviewing catches and fumbles, I’d be just fine with that as well. Limit NFL reviews to things that happen in the end zone and only in the end zone. Make football great again.

As for MLB, I told you more than 10 years ago on my podcast that adding replay review for home runs was a bad idea. My reasoning was, “If they start reviewing home runs, they’ll eventually want to start reviewing everything else.” And what do you know, I was right! It’s time to get rid of replay in baseball altogether. That’ll speed things up.

The NBA has also recently implemented coach’s challenges for replay review. Here are the things they can challenge: fouls, goaltending, basket interference, and balls that get knocked out of bounds. That’s on top of the officials choosing to use replay review on their own anyways. It becomes exhausting.

And then there’s the NHL. My goodness. Please eliminate offside review entirely. As it currently stands, a goal can go under replay review if there was a missed offside call at some point prior to the goal. It’s a horrible use of replay review, and it needs to go, asap. If anything gets fixed in sports over the shutdown, hopefully this is the one.

3) Just say “NO” to a pitch clock

-This is strictly for MLB, and it’s not necessarily a rule that needs to be changed — because it’s not yet a rule in MLB — but instead, it’s a mindset that needs to be immediately altered by the powers that be.

Please, please, please do not ever add a pitch clock to Major League Baseball. I realize that people want to speed the game up. And in a way, I’m with you. But we don’t have to take it to these extremes. A pitch clock will change everything, in a bad way. Think about it. With the bases loaded in a crucial spot for a pitcher on the ropes in the fifth inning, you’re going to make the guy on the mound have to worry about a clock in his face? Sorry, that’s just stupid, and it takes away from the game’s genuine drama. Adding a pitch clock is manufactured drama, and it’s highly unnecessary.

Here’s hoping MLB throws that idea in the trash during this lockdown.

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