Nov
17

The RAB Realignment Plan

By

As you’ve probably heard by now, the Houston Astros will be an American League club in a near future. It won’t be next season, but they will officially be part of the AL West in 2013. Major League Baseball intends to create two 15-team leagues with three five-team divisions, which unfortunately means interleague play all season long. The league also seems determined to create a playoff system with two wildcard teams.

Realignment proposals have been part of the baseball media scene for years now, as people have tried to figure out a way to punish the big market teams for making more money than everyone else while rewarding the poorer teams. I figured it was my turn to do the impossible, to come up with a way to make everyone happy with baseball’s schedule and competitive balance and all that. Easier said than done doesn’t do this task justice. Let’s dive in…

The Leagues

We’re going to stick with the two 15-team leagues idea, basing the six divisions on simple geography. Here’s the breakdown…

Obviously those divisions don’t look very fair (poor Orioles and Mets), but I’m going to explain why that doesn’t matter in just a second.

The Schedule

With the two distinct leagues, we’re going to completely eliminate interleague play. The only time an MLB East team will meet an MLB West team will be in the World Series, like I think it should be. Those “natural” rivalries Bud Selig tried to create with interleague play (Yankees-Mets, Cubs-White Sox, Giants-Athletics, etc.) still remain intact.

With interleague play out the window, we’re free to balance the schedule. Under this plan, every team would play the other 14 teams in its league 12 times (six games at home, six on the road). That creates a 168-game regular season, so six additional regular season games and three more home dates for owners to line their pockets fans to see their team. This isn’t the NFL trying to expand the season from 16 games to 18 games (a 12.5% increase), the baseball season would be lengthened by less than four percent (3.7% to be exact). The balanced schedule means the division alignments are just for show, so that big bad Northeast division is all talk and no action.

The odd number of teams per league means someone will have to be off everyday, unless they schedule doubleheaders. MLB could make events out of them, think about it. They could have the Red Sox play the Mets in CitiField at noon then the Yankees in Yankee Stadium at 7pm. They could do the same thing with Oakland and San Francisco, or Chavez Revine and Anaheim, or the north and south sides of Chicago. That would be a serious draw. Every team would have to play one doubleheader for every eight series they play to make it work, which is seven doubleheaders per team for the entire season. That’s one per month with an extra one thrown in somewhere, make it September with the expanded rosters.

The Playoffs

Forget this two wildcard teams per league stuff. Since the schedule is nice and balanced, the teams with the four best records in each league qualify for the postseason, regardless of division. Like I said, the divisions are just for show. The one seed plays the four seed and the two seed plays the three seed, with home field advantage going to the club with the better regular season record. Head-to-head record is the first tiebreaker, run differential the second tiebreaker. That goes for the World Series too. All rounds are best-of-seven series with off days for travel only (after Games Two and Five).

The All-Star Game

Since home field advantage in the World Series is determined by regular season records, the All-Star Game goes back to being what it’s supposed to be, a glorified exhibition. It shouldn’t count for anything. With no interleague play, the East vs. West matchup becomes a lot more intriguing because you’re seeing great players you don’t ever see together right there on the same field. That’s how the All-Star Game used to be, it was pretty awesome.

The Homerun Derby has to be overhauled, mostly by actually getting homerun hitters to participate in it. I want to see Mike Stanton and Adam Dunn take their hacks, not Rickie Weeks and Matt Holliday. Also, let’s shorten the thing up please.

Real World Problems

All of this sounds great on paper, but I’ll be the first to admit it’s far from perfect. For one, The Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies are huge draws on the road, and none of the MLB West clubs will ever see them in their ballpark. Those game have a very real financial impact. All of the big market teams are in one league as well, so there’s a total imbalance of power. Great idea on paper, but in practice, trying to schedule all those doubleheaders? Not so much.

* * *

I’m interested and also afraid to see what will happen to baseball 18 months from now, with the constant interleague play and two wildcard teams and whatnot. Then again, Selig could make it all better by abolishing the whole “let pitchers hit” thing to make a) life easier for everyone, and b) the game much more enjoyable. I doubt that will happen, but we can all dream.

Categories : Musings
  • http://deleted Total Dominication

    Are you trolling with the last 2 sentences? Please say you’re trolling.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      No, I’m just a moron. I meant stop making hitters pitch and let everyone use the DH.

      • Paul from Boston

        I pray it never comes to this. The DH game is inferior and imbalanced. It places hitting as primary and minimizes career impact (see Billy Butler versus Big Panda). The game is equal parts offense and defense. Specialization leads to adulterization. See NFL.

        • Plank

          It stops pitchers from batting. Watching a pitcher strike out is the least interesting part of any sport.

          Sorry if you think it leads to adulterization. Does it lead to any other made up words?

  • Rich in NJ

    This would suck.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

    As much as I dislike the apparent MLB plan, I hate this plan even more.

  • MattG

    Fun. I hate this, though:

    “Forget this two wildcard teams per league stuff. Since the schedule is nice and balanced, the teams with the four best records in each league qualify for the postseason, regardless of division.”

    So, the Blue Jays win their division with the fifth best record in the east, and don’t make the playoffs? Boo to that. Having six teams jump up and down on the mound every September, because the clinched FIRST PLACE, is fun. Celebrating because you’re the fourth seed totally sucks.

    • MannyGeee

      so no different than the Blue Jays missing the playoffs now… who gives a shit

      • MattG

        You missed the point, that being, a 162 (or in this case, 168) game division winner does not make the playoffs.

        • Mike M

          So you’d rather a worse team make the playoffs than a better one so you can see a jumping on the mound celebration? lol wut

          • MattG

            That’s one way to put it, although it’s not me that would enjoy them jumping around. It’s only millions of other people that root for that team.

            And at what expense? Do you think the fans of the team that finishes fourth will experience anything close to the same sort of pride in their team’s accomplishment? That’s kissing your sister shit.

            On the one hand, you have the opportunity to make millions of people deliriously happy for winning a division, on the other hand, you have the opportunity to have millions of fans slightly excited because they finished fourth and qualified for the post-season. I know which of those outcomes is better for the general fan-dom.

            • Adam Parker

              The celebration is for making the playoffs, not for finishing fourth. Of course the fans would be excited.

  • MUIDATS EEKNAY

    I really don’t see the big deal about having some team be off every day, when the leagues have an odd number of teams. It’s not really enough to justify having teams to extremely-biased doubleheaders.

    Also, since we’re almost there, I’d just go the full NBA and have East playing West throughout the season too. Not some lame hyped-up interleague thing, and not during some set period of time, but just a few series against opposite-league opponents, and a lesser amount than same-league opponents.

  • http://yankeeanalysts.com Matt Imbrogno

    If you’re going to balance the schedule, don’t even bother with the divisions. Just have two leagues and have the four best in each make the playoffs.

    • MattG

      Ugh, no. Winning your division is an accomplishment! Don’t be the NBA, where you are playing for a seed. Nobody raises a pennant that says “MLB East 4th Place, 2014″

      • MannyGeee

        but winning a division and still going home in September is like losing the Showcase Showdown and getting the home game instead. sure, you won SOMETHING, the overall trip is a failure unless you get the jet skis or trips to Niagra Falls…

        goddammit do I miss Bob Barker…

        • MattG

          With this, I could not disagree more. You won something? What an understatement. You won a major league baseball division. 162 games!

          And apparently, you ain’t young…you should know this.

          • RobC

            But I’d rather have one with Olympic rings!

            • RobC

              sorry reply posted in wrong thread

  • RobC

    You forgot about getting baseball back into the Olympics.
    Since things have been so FUBAR with the the 94 strike, inter league play, unbalanced schedule, uneven number of DH games, …..skip the All Star game every 4 years and have a 2 week break during which MLB players can play in the Olympics. It gets rid of the ill timed World Baseball Classic too.

    • MannyGeee

      WBC has NOTHING to do with actual baseball and more to do with selling merch. The sooner you come to grips with that, the sooner you’ll learn to enjoy it for what it is… (A trip to Dick’s to get your new flat brimmed Chinese Taipei 5950!!!!!)

      • RobC

        But I’d rather have one with the Olympic rings !

    • John

      The IOC has to ok baseball again. The took it out over the steroids problem. Maybe every 4 years the WBC is played in a two week span, but it’s gonna take a lot more to get baseball as an Olympic sport let alone MLB players in the game

      • JAG

        Really? Baseball was only taken out very recently, I was under the impression it was because the baseball competitions were never reflective of worldwide talent because unlike in every other sport, MLB players weren’t allowed to compete.

  • Kevin

    I’ve thought about some of your suggestions before, though the realignment is pretty extreme. With the Astros moving to the AL, they can remove divisions altogether, create a schedule of playing each other team 11 games (154 games), with 8 floating for interleague throughout the season. The 4 best records in each league go to the playoffs, homefield advantage determined by record. I think this is a good blend of the traditional (because divisions are inherently flawed, allowing subpar teams into the playoffs; if a team can win it’s division 5 games over five hundred, and they play the bulk of their games against their own division, they really have no place in post-season play [Sorry '06 Cards]), and the novel.

    The only thing that would’ve been better would be contraction of the leagues down to 14 each. Then there could be a straight 156 game schedule, 12 games against each other team, otherwise the same as the plan above with the divisions going and the top four teams making the playoffs. That would also allow for the All-Star game to be the only time the two leagues play one another other than the World Series, which would end at a reasonable date in October instead of pushing November.

    • dan l

      I don’t think having 8 floating inter league games makes any sense. If they insist on trying to balance the schedule more and keep divisions then a better way might be to have east play both the central and west 10 games for 100 games. In their own division they would play each other 11 games swapping every other year who gets the extra home game for a total of 44 games. This leaves 18 games left which if they still want inter league play they could have 3 home and home series against the other league. If they did this then every 5 years every team would play every other team in a home and home 3 game series.

  • so much for the American Pastime

    I don’t mind longer seasons, the advent of the DH, or addition games in the playoffs, but c’mon, Budd, please stop fucking with tradition. Interleague play, the wild card, and making the All Star game matter for the the post season is enough. Pretty soon it will be aluminum bats and legalizing PEDs just to get more home run fans to buy tickets.

  • Grover

    I appreciate the thought behind this Mike. It is a very difficult exercise that does not end with a solution but with the least amount of objections. Perhaps some day the exact number of teams will occupy the same regional territory as the population shifts but it will be a tough sell as someone will always object to moving away from big market teams and resulting lowered revenue. I’ve always been irked that the Mets and Yanks do not play each other at least as much as they play any other team.

    I’ve been hoping for the league to abolish the dh since Ron Bloomberg’s first at bat though I was pleased he was not in the field that day. He was Big Papi bad at first and even worse in right field. Change when a sense of history is involved with senior citizens in charge is always a bitch. I accept that the dh will eventually be viewed as a failed experiment even if I do not live long enough to celebrate it.

  • vinny-b

    no-go on the All-Star game condition, Mike.

    at this point the All-Star game matters. And at least managers/players *attempt* to play it accordingly. The game has ‘life’

    when the game was an exhibition it was dead. Too many multi-millionaire players on the rosters perhaps.

    making the All-Star actually have energy, is one of the few things Bud Selig as done right. And at the expense of nothing.

    _

    • MannyGeee

      if the game didnt matter it would got to all Ks and Home Runs…

      I am kind of OK with that. not like all star weekend is real baseball anyway. When you have to figure out how to play 35 guys in a game (PER TEAM), strategery goes right out the window

      • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

        When you have to figure out how to play 35 guys in a game (PER TEAM), strategery goes right out the window

        And that’s why the all-star game SHOULD NOT COUNT FOR ANYTHING.

        • Dan

          Amen, man. Wasn’t it wonderful to see Texas get rewarded with home field adv for winning 6 more games and their division than the Wild Card Cardin…. oh wait…

    • JAG

      When the All-Star roster represents all 14-16 teams in the league, and NOT the 35 best players in the league, and when the best players don’t get to play all 9 innings so that everyone can get in the game, the players and managers are NOT able to play the game to win. Not really.

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    Something like this could work, but you might as well just have one big east and one big west league. The divisions are completely pointless, why even have them?

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    To have 7 game playoffs in LCS and LDS and play a 168 game schedule you’d have to start the season om March 15 or start as usual and play until after Thanksgiving. The owners would not want double headers unless they were day-night.

    • JAG

      …how else do you do a double header besides a day-night?

  • MattG

    OK, since there are multiple people repeating it, and I don’t want to respond to all of them individually, to all those that think “eliminate the divisions, let the top four teams make the playoffs,” No! Have you not noticed how boring this is in the NBA and NHL? Do you not realize that finishing in first place over a 162 games is in many ways more of an achievement than winning the world series?

    Divisions are extremely important in baseball. Earning a post-season berth by winning your division is a rite, which could never be equaled by finishing fourth. Fans remember every year their team won the division, regardless of what happens in the playoffs.

    Do NBA fans remember what seed their team was in the playoffs 20 years ago? Do little boys have banners in their rooms that say “Milwaukee Bucks, East, 6th Place, 1994 (or whatever)?”

    No, but they do have “San Franscisco Giants, 1989 NL West Champions.”

    Save the divisions!

    • Bartolo’s Colon

      I guess, but I can guarantee no Yankee fan is going to brag about how they won the 2011 AL East, the WS is really the only thing that matters. The flag is great, and I understand that the playoffs are a crapshoot and that winning the division is impressive, but winning the WS is really the only thing that matters.

      However, I do see an argument that the divisions can potentially make the races more interesting, but you don’t play baseball to win divisions, you play to win the WS. just ask the braves

      • MattG

        I realize most Yankee fans believe the failure to win the World Series is more important than other factors. I personally was more disgusted by the 2010 Yankees in laying down to the Rays at the end of the season, than their loss to the Rangers. When you realize they had complete control of the former, and the latter was directly impacted by randomness, which was really the greater failure?

        I think Braves’ fans take tremendous pride in their record 14 straight NL East titles. I am certain Royals’ fans remember with great pride their division titles in the late 70s, although they came with no championship. A lot of the luster there would be lost if they had merely finished second in the AL.

        Does an avid hockey fan even remember who won the NHL’s prestigious president’s cup two years ago? I remember many division title winners throughout my lifetime. That means something.

    • monkeypants

      I agree. But if divisions should be maintained, then so too should there be some sort of imbalanced schedule, so that division opponents play each other more often. Unfortunately, 15 team leagues necessitates interleague play, or else one team must be off for three games at a stretch while the other 14 teams play their series. I would argue for something like:

      18 division games (9 home, 9 away) v. 4 division opponents = 72 games
      6 league games (3 home 3 away) v. 10 league opponents = 60 games
      6 interleague games (3 home, 3 away) v. 5 teams in the other league* = 30 games
      Total = 162 games

      * The interleague games would be on a strict three year rotation (AL East plays NL east in year one, NL central in year 2, etc.), eliminating the “natural rival” bullshit.

      Even better would be expansion to 16 teams in each league, 4 divisions of 4 teams, no interleague games,. Schedule = 18 games v. 3 division opponents (54 games) + 9 games v. 12 league opponents [3 home 6 away or 6 home 3 away, alternating years] (= 108 games).

    • Thomas

      Do NBA fans remember what seed their team was in the playoffs 20 years ago? Do little boys have banners in their rooms that say “Milwaukee Bucks, East, 6th Place, 1994 (or whatever)?”

      Here is the difference between the NBA/NHL and MLB: the number of teams that make the playoffs. In the NBA/NHL, it is 16 team (roughly half the league). In baseball, it is 8 teams (about 1/4 the league). This is why teams don’t remember about making the playoffs it is not that big of an accomplishment. Conversely, it is a much larger accomplishment to make playoffs in baseball regardless of how and why it is more memorable.

      Making the playoffs in baseball in not more memorable because a team was better than five (or 4 or six, depending on location) geographically close teams that were placed in their division, it is in theory because you are in the top 25% of the league. However, it is not always the case since some division winners have worse seasons than other teams that fail to make the playoffs. Removing the divisions and picking the top four teams, ensures the best teams move on and that team and their fans certainly should celebrate that.

      • MattG

        “Removing the divisions and picking the top four teams, ensures the best teams move on and that team and their fans certainly should celebrate that.”

        If you are suggesting fans will celebrate finishing fourth in a larger league, with equal passion as finishing first in smaller division, I think you are mistaken. Painfully mistaken.

        The difference is not the amount of teams making the playoffs. Those sports are all about the playoffs. There post-seasons are nearly as long as their regular seasons.

        Baseball, even with the additional playoff rounds, is still about coming out on top after 162 games. Winning the World Series is the greatest accomplishment, but it is impacted by random events. The accomplishment that the players control the most? Having their team be atop a division at season’s end.

        • Thomas

          Baseball, even with the additional playoff rounds, is still about coming out on top after 162 games. Winning the World Series is the greatest accomplishment, but it is impacted by random events. The accomplishment that the players control the most? Having their team be atop a division at season’s end.

          So you would be more in favor of removing all divisions and just having the team with the best record at the end the MLB Champ. Or at least reverting back to the days of no divisions with the pennant winner in each of the two leagues meeting and playing in the WS. Because those I can realistically see a fan being very proud of.

          However, as a fan, I would not be overly proud of my favorite team making the playoffs despite not being one of the four best teams in the league (or eight best teams in MLB), simply because their arbitrarily chosen division is subpar.

          If you are suggesting fans will celebrate finishing fourth in a larger league

          Additionally, you wouldn’t be celebrating being in 4th, but being in the playoffs. It is no different than celebrating being the WC winner.

          • MattG

            “It is no different than celebrating being the WC winner”

            Very spot on, except it is like being the wildcard winner even more. It’s just not as great as winning the division.

            “However, as a fan, I would not be overly proud of my favorite team making the playoffs despite not being one of the four best teams in the league”

            This would not happen often. While teams do finish out of the playoffs with records better than division winners, you won’t often find fans of the division winner that doesn’t believe his team is at least as good as the team that missed the playoffs. It would be a rare year indeed that the fans of a team recognize another division’s second place team as being better, even if they are. The general fan base for that team will be overly proud, even if the rest of the country is rolling their eyes.

            This is the bottom line: It’s more exciting to root for a team that finishes first. With a 162 game schedule, and divisions of at least 5 teams, that is no cheap accomplishment. A fan can get much more excitement out of that accomplishment, than they can finishing third or fourth, but still qualifying for the playoffs. It is just better–not necessarily fairer–but better for the fans of the game.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    I still can’t get over one division having the A’s, Mariners and Astros. Talk about an imbalance.

  • Across the pond

    I actually like the sound of that.

    That being said I’d like anything that involves a balanced schedule. As someone who wasn’t brought up on American sports I could never get around the scheduling of baseball and American sports in general I suppose.

    I’d probably change the playoff part of it, make it 4 best per league. If 4 of them come from the same division then so be it.

  • Mike

    It is stupid to have divisions that do not matter. The 1st place teams have to be guaranteed a playoff spot, and the wildcard in this situation would be much more worthy. I like the geographic realignment, but it will never happen, as there is too much history with the AL and NL and teams are linked to these leagues. I do like the mixed team double headers, and had made the same suggestion when realignment was a hot topic this past summer (I believe on ESPN comments).
    Hopefully at some point, one more team can be added to each league, and we can go to 4 four team divisions, no wild card, no interleague play, and a balanced schedule.

  • monkeypants

    Why bother with divisions at all if you have everyone play a balanced schedule and then take the top four teams for the playoffs regardless of their division? Either keep divisions and make them meaningful (i.e., imbalanced schedule with more division games, rewards for division winners such as an automatic playoff berth) or eliminate them entirely and simple have two 15-team leagues.

  • chris

    Its only going to get better for the Yanks and Sox in 2013+…for starters playing the Astros adds at LEAST 3 wins to the overall schedule, which can KILL anyone else in the central from getting the wildcard. 2. The Yankees and Red Sox have INSANE winning percentages in interleague play. Now MLB wants to let them play more?? I see this blowing up in MLB’s face. Its going to LOCK Boston and New York in the playoffs every year based on them playing lesser teams more. Because you play lesser teams more, it stands to reason that you are playing better teams less. 100 win seasons might become the new 94.

    • Bartolo’s Colon

      Maybe that’s the point? As much as mlb preaches competitive balance, the best thing for them is for the yankees and red sox to be in it. no matter how much people complain, when the yankees and red sox play meaningful games, ratings go up.

      at the same time, it is more fair to teams like the blue jays and orioles.

      a balanced schedule would also get rid of comments like “a player couldn’t make it in the al east” or “this pitcher is only good because he faces the mariners and a’s in 50% of his starts”

      • chris

        I agree with you about MLB wanting Boston and New York in the mix but at what cost? If they go to that stupid 1 game playoff game for the 2nd wild card is it worth it? Does MLB really want to basically give away an entire 5 or 7 game series for 1 game of a “larger” playoff? For anyone in any other city (other than Boston) who thinks this is a good idea look at the stats, Boston has made the playoffs more than anyone else as the Wild Card since the creation of the Wild Card. I guess thats exactly what they wanted??

  • parmesan

    I like several of these ideas, but I think adding 6 games to the regular season and expanding the playoffs by a couple games is just too much. You’re looking at playing baseball till Thanksgiving for cryin out loud. Or starting in early March. The length of the season takes a toll on player health as it is, this would only make it worse.

    If anything, just remove games to balance the schedule. I realize that might not fly with owners, but it makes much more sense logistically, I think.

  • TJyankee21

    I don’t like this realignment. While it is great for Michael Kay since he will never have to cross the Mississippi, I think it is terrible that you will never be able to see an east coast team on the west coast.

    I think MLB is taking a step in the right direction by balancing the leagues and the divisions. I like the limited interleague play every year that rotates between teams but you can get rid of Selig’s “natural rivals”. Obviously it sucks that interleague play has to happen throughout the season but teams cannot continually be off on weekends because profits will go down. It is a necessary evil with 15 team leagues.
    Still the best thing to make MLB fair and balanced would be to add 2 more teams to have two 16 team leagues. 4 divisions of 4 teams. No wildcard. It would be tough to find two more sites for MLB teams that would have a good market and obviously dilute the player pool even more but by strictly number of teams it would work out best.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Eh, just keep it how it’s going to be in a couple of years. But good thoughts.

    But, I think with the new realignment plan with interleague everyday, rosters should be expanded. One extra player would do. One extra pitcher or one extra positional player. Hell, how about two extra players, whatever. But with the whole double switching and all that baloney I think rosters should be expanded a touch.

    • monkeypants

      Yay. Expanded rosters so teams can load up on more useless relievers.

      • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

        Teams aren’t obligated to use the extra roster spot on a reliever.

      • JonS

        want r u yaing useless relievers..most teams now a days are building to have a powerful bullpen. Having another piece out there would be great, but u don’t have to use that piece to be a reliever have a bench player

  • dean

    What about the DH?

  • Josh S.

    Go back to a 154 game schedule. If MLB insists on having two wildcard teams per league, then let the two wildcard teams play either a 3 or 5 game series to advance, and the LDS, LCS, and WS should all be 7 game series. Oh and forget the nonsense that the wild card team can’t play another team in its own division in the LDS. If they want to do interleague play all season long, then figure out what to do with the DH – either make it a rule in both leagues or lose it altogether.

    • Josh S.

      Just my two cents.

    • JonS

      I think they have to have DH in both leagues…and i got to think the players union would think so too to give more job opportunities to bigger type guys ala Ortiz and Montero

  • neo

    I’m all for unique ideas, but how would 168 games, with lots of extra off days (as one team in each league sits every day except for those event double headers) fit into the calendar? World Series in Late November?

    • steve

      where do ulive,i would say 1000 miles or more from the norteast

  • Darren

    The only thing that changes how an individual game is played is the DH. I’m still torn about it. On the one hand, watching pitchers hit can be nightmarish. On the other hand, whenever I’m watching NL baseball, I really do like that extra element of strategery. There’s also something about having a bad fielding but great hitting slugger on the bench that contributes to the sense of drama throughout the game.

    Realistically, will we ever go back to the non DH? I doubt it, right?

    Anyway, even if I think your plan has a lot of wacky elements, thanks for putting something together for us to yap about.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      I vowed that if the DH is eliminated from baseball I will not watch the sport for a year. I’m serious, baseball is supposed to be going forward, not backward.

  • vin

    ‘A’ for effort. ‘C-’ for execution.

    There’s one majorly huge problem with your proposal, and I don’t think your solution is workable.

    If there are going to be two uneven divisions, then interleague is a must. An uneven number of teams means one team sits home every night. Conventional double-headers can help prevent a team from sitting around for 3-4 straight days. However, the bigger problem is that every week one team won’t be playing a weekend series. I’ve got to think that’s a deal-breaker for the owners.

    Mark me down for:
    AL and NL as-is (14 and 16 teams, respectively)
    Keep the interleague as-is
    Teams with the 4 best records make it into the playoffs from each league, regardless of division
    All-Star game determines jack-$hit
    All playoff rounds – 7 games

    I genuinely dislike the idea of adding a 2nd wild card (with another short series), just because it leaves even more to chance – further separating the “best team in baseball” and the “World Series winner.”

    As screwed up as basketball is, at the moment… at least the better team usually prevails in a playoff series. If you want Cinderella stories, go watch March Madness. I personally would like to see the best team win the WS, not just the hottest or luckiest.

  • chris

    Why is the automatic first thought to add games? Why not reduce games and play some teams 6 times (1 home and home)? I don’t think this total ballanced schedule thing is going to get approval anyway. Lets see the fights after New York and Boston visit Cleveland, Kansas City and Toronto on weekends. They will FLIP OUT!

    • vin

      Because the owners won’t want to lose the revenue from fewer games.

  • JonS

    I’ve been messing with realignment stuff for a while, but there r just to much stuff to look at with scheduling and division winners and ect. But its fun to try and see if u can come up with something that works. As for the upcoming Astros team i really want answered from Bud if DH is going to be implemented throughout the league. Because i just don’t think teams like the yanks and boston for example would want to lose their DH say 1 series a week and put their pitchers in that situation. I would prefer DH throughout and i kno some of ya want tradition and everything but it would benefit the players to have longer careers while DH and add more play for guys like Montero.

  • steve

    I want what your smoking,this is a joke or a waste of time

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    Sucks for the Northeast teams. It will basically be 12 teams for a final playoff spot each year.

    If you do split it east west, and don’t award a division title, what’s the doing of divisions? Why not just have 2 divisions, MLB East, MLB West…and like you said top 4 teams each division in.

  • RetroRob

    I immediately focused in on the “real world problem” issue, which is that the financial powerhouse teams are mostly all on one division. Many believe the AL’s superiority right now is based on the Yankees and Red Sox continually battling each other, using their financial advantages to continually improve on the field. That forces teams in their division, like the Rays, and throughout the rest of the league, to operate more intelligently to compete. No surprise that the MoneyBall era started in the AL with Oakland and the designation “smartest team in baseball” over the past decade have fallen to various teams like A’s, Rays and Twins, all in the AL.

    I can only imagine what impact the MLB East’s Northeast division would have on the game as they battled each other each season for the best free agents, perhaps causing an even more rapid rise in free-agent prices, thus causing the rest of the MLB East to try and raise their overall level of play through other means to try and grab one of the four-best-records in the league. The small imbalance we currently see between the AL and the NL could escalate to a major one between the MLB East and MLB West. Perhaps not, but what I do see happening is the teams with the four best records continually coming out of the Northeast division, especially since all the teams will play each other the same number of times.

    Interesting idea, but…

  • chris

    I don’t agree with moving the Astros. I would have moved the Pirates to the AL.

    Part of baseball’s appeal is the different leagues. Of the states that have multiple teams in each state they have split the teams AL and NL:

    New York: NYY(AL) NYM(NL)
    Florida: TB(AL) FLA(NL)
    Texas: TEX(AL) HOU(NL)
    Illinois: CHW(AL) CHC(NL)
    California: ANA(AL) OAK(AL) LA(NL) SAN(NL) SF(NL)
    Ohio: CLE(AL) CIN(NL)
    Missouri: KC(AL) STL(NL)

    The only state where the AL/NL split is in Pennslyvania where there are two NL teams (Phillies and Pirates). I’d leave the Phillies in the NL for the draw on the road and put the Pirates in the AL. Now you have a ballanced league and you can move the Pirates to the central. I’d like to keep that AL/NL ballance.

  • Spaceman.Spiff

    At some point, the MLB should expand to 32 teams when it’s financially viable and keep it there for a long time.

    AL East
    Yankees
    Boston
    Baltimore
    Expansion

    AL North
    Toronto
    Cleveland
    Detroit
    Chicago White Sox

    AL South
    Tampa Bay
    Texas
    Kansas City
    Colorado

    AL West
    Oakland
    Seattle
    Angels
    Expansion Team

    NL East
    Mets
    Philadelphia
    Washington
    Pittsburgh

    NL North
    Cubs
    Minnesota
    Milwaukee
    Cincinnati

    NL South
    Atlanta
    Miami
    Astros
    St. Louis

    NL West
    Arizona
    Dodgers
    San Francisco
    San Diego

    • RetroRob

      MLB has pretty much said they plan to expand again (not that that’s all surprising), but I don’t think it’s near-term, maybe a decade out. I’m not even sure if they have clear candidates yet for the two cities.

  • Dave M

    With 15 teams in each league, and no inter-league play, would that mean there will always be 2 teams (one from each league) every night? Not just idle every night. But idle for 3 days in a row. Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see any way this works.

  • Brian in NH

    Mike you forgot the most important thing. Fox and The World Wide Leader love those NYY vs BOS games 18 times a year. Those always fall on a Fri-Sun and if you cut that from 18 to 6 a year, they are only getting 4 instead of 12 games. Money talks…you don’t think those two would have something to say about way fewer Sox/Yanks games (also fewer Cubs/Cardinals and Giants/Dodgers games, a lesser impact, but still important)

  • godfather

    a damn good conversation stirrer, if nothing else; the alignment is virtually the same as john hart suggested a couple months back on mlb.com; the american need to have several “winners” has gotten worse over the many years i’ve spent following sports; selig gets his goodies off by creating spin-the-bottle type “solutions” that suck up to the tv money that sports whores for…the only true numbers remaining for me in the best of games: 162 in 180, the marathon…the specialized, short-shit, instant gratification thereafter is just dessert…and some of uw want none