Covering the Bases: DH and replay

New Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred faces a bevy of issues. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

WASHINGTON — With the election of a new commissioner out of the way, I would like to see Major League Baseball tackle two issues that I believe are hurting the game.

First and foremost, please settle the designated hitter issue. Yes, it’s been around since 1973, but only in the American League. And, when interleague games are played in a National League park, the DH is not used. How this policy has lasted for 41 years is beyond me.

No other sport has two sets of rules.

The discrepancy rears its ugly head each year in the World Series. An American League team built with the DH must ditch that player on the road at the most important time of the year.

I can go either way when it comes to the DH. Use it or lose it, but make it universal for both leagues. The players association doesn’t want it to go away because, in many cases, it keeps older players in uniform. Fine — expand the rosters by one player to take that argument out of the equation. But come to some final conclusion. Especially now that there’s an interleague game every day.

Also, please, PLEASE, speed up the game. The length of games has increased each year. They now average over three hours.

Everyone is at fault. From the pitchers taking waaay too long to throw the ball, to the batters stepping out of the box between each pitch to walk around, adjust their batting gloves and take a few swings.

This terrible pattern has even invaded Little League ball. They copy the big boys. I would love to see a new rule that prohibits a batter from leaving the box and a pitcher from stepping off the mound between pitches.

And having it enforced by the umpires.

Lengthy TV replays only add to the problem. There should be a two-minute limit to review plays. If a decision isn’t made by then, the call on the field stands.

So, Rob Manfred, it’s your turn at the plate. Please hit it out of the park. In timely manner, of course.

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