I love baseball even though the game has changed over time. Take pitching. When I was growing up the starting pitcher was supposed to throw a complete game. The more complete games the better. Now a pitcher rarely finishes a game and no one seems to care.
Managers and coaches prefer the pitch count not exceed 100 by very much, because an "overworked" pitcher might hurt his arm. And, anyway, there are relief specialists who must pitch or become stale. Heck, there are all kinds of relievers, those for the middle, and, of course, the closer who works the 9th when the game is on the line.
The evolution of pitching doesn't bother me, although there was a certain joy in watching a complete game. But let's face it. Most pitchers aren't up to that task. Everyone knows that the more innings a pitcher is in the game, the more likely he will fail and need relief. Big league batters can be fooled once or twice, but by the time the 7th rolls around, even mediocre hitters are going do some damage. On the other hand, many pitchers can be effective, if they only have to face a batter once or twice. So why not take the pitching evolution one more step?
Now here's my pitch. No more starting pitchers in the traditional sense. Let the "starter" work the first three innings and not one more. That way he could pitch, knowing that he might never face that particular batter again. Take his best shot. Hold nothing back. See him again in a couple of days (instead of four or five).
I'd have two other "starters," one for the next three innings and the other for the last three. Of course, I'd keep one or two pitchers on the staff to step in, if one of three "starters" was having a bad day and had to come out.
I'm guessing batters would not be very happy with this change, knowing that they would not be able to go to school on a pitcher during the course of a game, or simply wait for him to start losing his stuff. I'm also guessing pitchers would not be very happy either, knowing that owners won't pay premium salaries for three inning guys (who I'm betting are a lot more plentiful).
Who will take pitching to the next step? Tony LaRussa- you could be the one.