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Monday, April 11, 2016

Do you want a local rival in your division?

Casey Stengel 1915 Brooklyn Dodgers 1912-1917 Giants 1921-1923; managed Dodgers, Yankees, Mets By The Library of Congress [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons
Yankees and Mets?

White Sox and Cubs?

Those are the only two possible intra-city rivalries. In 1952 11 of the 16 teams were in a city with multiple teams: New York (3), Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis. However, only New York had two teams in the same league.

What about other teams in close proximity?

San Francisco and Oakland 8 miles

Los Angeles and Angels (Anaheim) 24 miles

Baltimore and Washington, DC 35 miles


San Francisco and Los Angeles 348 miles

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh 257 miles

St. Louis and Kansas City 238 miles

Texas (Dallas) and Houston 225 miles

Cleveland and Cincinnati 223 miles

Miami and Tampa 206 miles

Los Angeles and San Diego 112 miles

Philadelphia is only 97 miles from New York, much closer than Pittsburgh.

New York City is 197 miles from Boston, closer than six of the intra state distances.

Detroit is 207 miles from Toronto, Canada.

So geographic re-alignment may have different dynamics than we initially think but two things are sure:

1. Travel time and cost should be reduced.

2. There would be many more games between two teams in the same time zone, which should boost TV ratings and advertising revenue.

But the real question here is whether fans actually want this. I'm a Yankee fan and I like the idea in the abstract as in the White Sox and Cubs being in the same division. But do I want my Yankees subjected to the disdain of Met fans in games that directly impact which team is higher in the division standings? I'm not so sure.

When Joe Torre was managing the Yankees (1996-2008) during the initial years of "interleague" games against the Mets he did not hide his anxiety and just wanted to get them over with.

But that raw exposure might be mitigated if the teams played many more games and that became routine. Also, there really is only an intense rivalry when both teams are good. The classic example that baseball fans point to was between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. However, that was largely limited to 1947 through 1956 at most. During those years, despite two pennants by the Giants (1951 and 1954), the Dodgers dominated the Giants in attendance. Supposedly that rivalry carried over to California after both teams abandoned New York in 1958 despite the roughly 350 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds were much closer.

Although I'm somewhat ambivalent and although the "mighty" Yankees have the most to lose in prestige, I would support geographic re-alignment.

Please read the previous three posts on this general topic and that of scheduling.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Scrap the whole inter league garbage and get back to two separate leagues.