March 11, 2010

Time to Realign


I read that Bud Selig's advisory committee is seriously considering the concept of blowing up the current baseball divisional alignment. Of course, the idea they are currently bandying about is one of "floating divisions" which would involve only a few teams trading places, such as Tampa Bay and Cleveland, in order to provide their owners with a "trade-off." In this example, Cleveland would move to the AL East to get the financial benefit of more games against the Yankees and Red Sox, while the Rays could go to the AL Central to have a better shot at actually making the playoffs, which in turn would give Tampa Bay a financial benefit.

I think the fact they're even discussing realignment is a huge step, but if they are going to do it - let's go all the way. No more AL and NL. We have interleague games already, so that mystique is gone. Decide one way or the other on the DH (I'm in favor of abolishing it – especially since I don't need to see 40-year-old guys who can barely walk stay in the game long past the point where you can legitimately consider them athletes just because they swat the occasional home run – but either way, it's time to make the call) and build up geographical rivalries that truly matter.

Here's my suggested divisional alignment – each one with a 2/3 split from the current AL/NL divide. Six divisions of five teams each, winners make the playoffs. Top four second place teams play in a one-game playoff to see who gets the two wild-card spots.

California Division – Angels, Dodgers, Giants, Athletics, Padres

West Division – Rockies, Rangers, Mariners, Astros, D-backs

Central Division – Cardinals, Twins, Cubs, White Sox, Royals

Northeast Division – Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Pirates

Southeast Division – Marlins, Braves, Rays, Nationals, Orioles

Great Lakes Division – Tigers, Brewers, Reds, Blue Jays, Indians

Baseball fans, what do you think?

5 comments:

  1. I like the idea. Question though, when you say a playoff for the 4 best second place teams, do you mean the next 4 best records of non division winners, or the second place team in each division? The difference being that in the second example every year two of the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, and Mets won't be in the playoffs and I would think that the TV networks wouldn't love that. There's a reason that they say baseball has an east coast bias.

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  2. I think the TV networks can be appeased with the guarantee of a September full of Yankees-Mets, Red Sox-Yankees, Mets-Phillies, etc. that are sure to have playoff implications. Charge ad rates up the wazoo! Cubs-White Sox and Dodgers-Angels in final series of season for all the marbles? Ratings gold! I think it would take some getting used to, but ultimately MORE profitable for all involved.

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  3. I like the way this is set up. At first when this idea was floated I didn't see how it could work out geography-wise but this seems like a nice match. It would certainly be interesting to see how the Orioles and Rays would fare without having to deal with the Yanks and Sawx every other week.

    And you have no idea how much it bothers me that one division has 6 teams while another has 4. That makes zero sense whatsoever. This would address that issue as well.

    Next step, how do you get this done?

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  4. I hate it, only because of the Northeast. The Pirates would never have a chance, which is a shame for a proud sports city and baseball's best ballpark. Plus, we've already seen what having the Yankees and Red Sox competing head-to-head has done to their payrolls, now add the Mets and Phillies to that mix? Those four teams would probably lead MLB in payroll every year, at $150-250 million.

    I do agree on the DH (make a decision, dammit, and that decision had better be to get rid of it) and, somewhat, on interleague play. I say get rid of that, too, and go back to balanced AL/NL skeds.

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  5. Well, the Pirates have to go somewhere... and let's face it - they've had about two decades to try and get out of the cellar of the NL Central and have shown no interest in trying to do so.

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