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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Re-alignment: it's time to revisit.

Come on, come on.  We all know it makes sense.  Let's just do it.  Here are two views, geographic and retro.

Re-alignment Thursday, May 19, 2011

I now think the key is to eliminate the names American and National.  This would remove the stigma from re-alignment and help to mollify the old fart inclination of the constipated traditionalist thinking ... maybe.  Anyway, it's a good idea...

The important criteria should be geographic and natural rivalries.  
  Geographic proximity has these important elements:
1. reducing the expense and danger of travel
2. playing most games no more than one time zone away from home; this could have a huge impact on TV advertising: east coast fans won't have their teams playing on the west coast with the games ending at 1AM.

West:
1. Seattle Mariners (Washington)
2. Oakland As (California)
3. San Fransisco Giants (California)
4. Los Angeles Dodgers (California)
5. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (California)
6. San Diego Padres (California)
7. Arizona Diamondbacks
8. Colorado Rockies

Central:
1. Milwaukee Brewers (Wisconsin)
2. Chicago White Sox (Illinois)
3. Chicago Cubs (Illinois)
4. Cincinnati Reds (Ohio)
5. Cleveland Indians (Ohio)
6. Minnesota Twins
7. Pittsburgh Pirates (Pennsylvania)
8. Detroit Tigers (Michigan)

South:
1. Texas Rangers
2. Houston Astros (change the name back to Colt45s, already) (Texas)
3. Florida Marlins (Florida)
4. Tampa Bay Rays (Florida)
5. Atlanta Braves (Georgia)
6. Kansas City Royals (Missouri)
7. St. Louis Cardinals (Missouri)

North:
1. New York Yankees
2. New York Mets
3. Boston Red Sox (Massachusetts)
4. Philadelphia Phillies (Pennsylvania)
5. Toronto Blue Jays (Canada)
6. Washington Nationals (District of Columbia)
7. Baltimore Orioles (Maryland)
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Radical Baseball posted Wednesday, February 20, 2008; written June 9, 2006

3. Four leagues, no divisions.

Let’s face it when Major League Baseball (MLB) expanded its playoff system in 1994 by splitting into three divisions in each league it did not put much thought into it. MLB just tried to copy basketball and hockey, which had been doing this stuff forever. Some people felt the divisions were good because they allowed more teams to be competitive. No, what made more teams competitive was that in implementing the three divisions MLB DOUBLED the number of teams that made the playoffs. For some reason baseball people did not notice. They could have doubled the number of playoff teams and eliminated the two divisions they already had in each league but that never occurred to them. What mattered was not the number of divisions but the number of playoff teams.

Maybe part of it was some vague idea that there would now be more first place teams. Did they think no one would notice that there were also more last place teams? Or that teams hovering around .500 are not really very good.

The objective should be fair competition. It should not be a random event in which a .500 team happens to be first in a weak division and a .580 team is out of luck. What to do? Eliminate the divisions and go to four leagues. Keep the same number of playoff teams. I’d like to have only first place teams advance but that’s too much to hope for. Play only within your league and the first two teams qualify for the playoffs. OK, if you insist on inter league games, play one of the other leagues on a three-year rotating basis. How about playing three games against each of those eight teams. That’s 24 games. Plus, each team would play the same opponents, not the nonsense MLB has now. That’s fair.

The first step is to expand. Yes, add two teams. 32 divides by four much better than 30. It’s possible to find MLB caliber cities: Las Vegas, Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio. Whatever.

There are two scenarios: geographic or retro. MLB almost went to geographic a decade ago but mysteriously backed off. It could be cool: Yanks v Mets, White Sox v Cubs, … I do not see MLB doing this. Local TV contracts, fear of real competition, etc. Retro is the solution. Recreate the old American and National Leagues circa 1960, i.e., before modern expansion. Create a new Pacific Coast League; California alone has five teams. Create a new fill in the blank league of leftovers and/or “small market” teams; call it the Texas or Bush or Southern League. Who cares?

Here is how it might look.

American League:
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Indians
Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals (yes, back to the AL)
Toronto Blue Jays (hey, they have to go somewhere)
The As were in Kansas City in 1960 but nobody cares, plus who wants to hear Kansas City whine about big market teams.

National League:
Philadelphia Philliies
Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals
New York Mets (replacing the Giants)
Milwaukee Brewers (replacing the Braves in that city)
Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves

Pacific Coast League:
Seattle Mariners
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
California Angels
Oakland As
San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado Rockies

Texas League:
Texas Rangers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Florida Marlins
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Las Vegas Gamblers
San Antonio Alamos

Minnesota Twins
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