Saturday, June 11, 2011

How Should MLB Re-align?

Today it was revealed that the powers that be in MLB are thinking about realigning the entire league. Two scenarios were given: moving one National League team to the American league to make both 15-team leagues. The other goes a bit further by getting rid of the divisions altogether.

God please let this happen.

Over my nearly decade-long blogging life, I have been dead set against divisions in MLB, NBA and NHL (the NFL's division format actually works). Either cut down on the amount of divisions or just dump them all.

Baseball really doesn't need six divisions and it certainly doesn't need a National League with two more teams than the American League.

One thing I don't want is the Houston Astros moved to the AL. I don't think having both Texas teams in the same league is the smartest idea. I'd move the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona doesn't have the history that the Astros have and the American League doesn't have a team in the Mountain Time Zone (the NL would still have the Colorado Rockies).

So here would be what MLB would look like:

AMERICAN LEAGUE: Baltimore, Boston, Chi White Sox, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, LA Angels, Minnesota, NY Yankees, Oakland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Texas, Toronto

NATIONAL LEAGUE: Atlanta, Chi Cubs, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida, Houston, LA Dodgers, Milwaukee, NY Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, Washington

What the league wants to do next is put the top five teams in the playoffs. The 4th and 5th place teams play a one or three game playoff to join the top three place teams in the postseason we all are currently familiar with. You can check here to see what the standings would look like if we had no divisions.

The advantage is for teams like the 3rd place AL East team who gets shut out of postseason play even if they have a better record than the AL Central and AL West champions. Right now, where you are geographically placed is just as important as how good a team you really are. It will may those playoff races a bit more racy as more teams should be in it longer than usual.

The disadvantage if there are two 15 team leagues is that there will be teams down the stretch in a pennant race that will be playing interleague games. See, if we get two 15 team leagues, that means we get interleague play pretty much every day. While I'm not against that, I can see why that would rub teams the wrong way.

But remember the 1980s. Then, the AL had two 7-team divisions. Six teams in the AL East played each other down the stretch while the other team was the "swing team" and played the AL West teams. So it isn't like this would be a completely odd scenario.

But if that is the sticking point, just leave the NL with 16 teams and the AL with 14. There, no worries about interleague games mucking up the pennant races. Whatever, just lop off these divisions!!!


xcountry2287 said...

What team would you move to the NL west if you moved Arizona to the AL(because that would leave 3 teams there)?

Nevadan in Exile said...

During baseball season, Phoenix is in the Pacific Time Zone. FYI.