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Rosenthal's radical realignment proposal

Feb 26, 2010, 3:23 PM EDT

US Map.gifFOX’s Ken Rosenthal thinks it’s time to realign the divisions to break up the Red Sox-Yankees hegemony.  You gotta go to the interactive map in the middle to see his actual idea for radical realignment, but it breaks down like this:

AL Atlantic:  Yankees, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Blue Jays;

AL Great Lakes: Reds, Indians, Tigers, Pirates, Twins;

AL Pacific: Dodgers, Angels, Giants, Athletics, Mariners;

NL East: Red Sox, Phillies, Braves, Rays, Marlins;

NL Midwest: Royals, Cubs, Cardinals, White Sox Brewers;

NL Southwest: Astros, Rangers, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Padres.

Initial thoughts:

  • This scheme makes the Yankees’ path to the playoffs easier, not harder, replacing the Red Sox and Rays — tough competition — with the Mets and Nationals — less tough;
  • The AL Great Lakes would never get a game on national television;
  • I gotta admit, the AL Pacific is a pretty sweet division;
  • The NL East suddenly becomes an impossibly difficult division;
  • The new NL Midwest gives the Royals even less of a chance than they have now; and
  • The Padres probably won’t care much for being disassociated from the west coast and forced to play so many games far from home. Otherwise I don’t have any strong feelings about the NL Southwest.

Of course radical realignment like this just isn’t going to happen. Nor should it. Yes, right now the AL East seems a little unfair, but but baseball has always done well by practicing small-c conservatism with respect to this kind of thing and not allowing temporary problems dictate long-term planning. 

If the AL East is a joke for another 5-10 years call me, but right now this sort of thing is best left as an intellectual exercise, not a serious proposal.

  1. BC - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    Hear that thud? That’s attendance falling off the table if this were ever to go through.

  2. FlipYrWhig - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Wasn’t it short-term considerations about which teams were stronger that led to Atlanta (and Cincinnati?) being placed in the NL West when divisional play first happened?

  3. Anebriated - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    I flushed more intelligence down my toilet this morning than Rosenthal used when he came up with this…

  4. Old Gator - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    I personally like Rosenthal’s idea of sticking Alaska into the side of Mexico. I doubt if the cartel jefes would have much patience with the Moose Turd Queen and her overdressed trailer trash equivalent half, and the first time she started belching platitudes about the evils of drug use I have no doubt she’d be told in some subtle way to shut up – and not that I’m for drug abuse (I believe they should always be used moderately), we might have a little vacation from her imbecilic rantings that way.
    .
    Problem is, the Pacific Plate is rotating the other way, and if Rosenthal wants to wait until it has come full circle – like the little hand on the geological clockface – and reached its present position, he’d better make provisions for adding the Yomiuri Giants, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, the Nippon Ham Fighters and a couple of Taiwanese progeriac little league teams to the Western Division of whatever league he wants to put them in, and maybe made some provision for a Cricket league as well, since Japan and the north island of New Zealand would have been scraped off onto California a few hundred million years earlier.
    .
    And we’d still be waiting for the Cubs to get to the World Series, at least in part because given where global warming would be at that point, Wrigley Field would be about two hundred fathoms down on the floor of the Tethys Sea by then.

  5. Jonny5 - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    What a dick! ….”break up the Red Sox-Yankees hegemony.” means make it easier for the Yankees to advance, While we’re at it, let’s screw with Philly. “F” Rosenthal, and his stupid idea!!!!!

  6. Drew - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Toronto sits on the banks of a Great Lake. Let the Jays get a shot at those weak sisters. Playoffs!!1

  7. Grant - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    I never want to see the Nationals and the Orioles in the same division. Ugh. Nationals “fans” annoy me.

  8. Ross - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Yes…absolutely…the Rangers/Astros, Dodgers/Angels, Giants/Athletics, Cubs/WSox…all in the same divisions…
    I’m sorry. No. Not in a million years.
    Now…I’m all for some minor tweaking. First, balance the divisions. No way in hell should the AL West have 4 teams while the NL Central has 6, and the NL shouldn’t have more teams than the AL. If you’re going to have interleague play, then both leagues should have the same number of teams.
    Simple proposal: Move KC to the AL West. Move the Brewers back to the AL Central. AL and NL would then have the same number of teams and all divisions would have 5 teams. Now change interleague to a rotating schedule and do not demand that silly “rivalry” weekend (Yankees v Mets, Tampa v Florida, Cubs v White Sox, etc). Just make sure that each AL division plays each NL division every 3 years on a rotating basis.

  9. Snuffy - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    This looks like a ploy by those northeastern writers to get the Yankees and the Red Sox to the world series every year.

  10. Jamie - Feb 26, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    If this solves Sox-Yankees hegemony, it’s only by creating Mets-Yankees hegemony. Which would be even more boring. If you want to lessen the divide between the Yankees (and, consequently, the Red Sox) and the rest of the league you should just put another team in NYC. The Yankees would make less money, the Red Sox would spend less money to keep up, and maybe you could go to a ballgame in New York for under $100. (I know MLB isn’t about to do anything that results in any owner making less money, but we’re playing fantasy realignment games here.)

  11. mike t - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    my main problem with that alignment is having the two NY and the OAK/SF teams in the same division. I think it works well to have two team towns have each team in a different conference. It especially works in baseball since the two confereces actually have different rules.

  12. Matty - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Maybe it’s just me, but I wish we just had AL & NL or two divisions in each league. As a Royals fan, I get tired of seeing the Indians, White Sox, Tigers, & Twins all the time. I realize this is not at all realistic.

  13. Phil - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    Balancing the divisions forces an interleague game every day of the schedule. Since interleague play seems to be losing popularity in some quarters, this might not be a good idea. Part of this problem could be addressed by returning to a balanced schedule (and doing away with interleague play). Unfortunately, according to Robothal, Budzilla doesn’t seem to like the idea of a more closely balanced schedule.
    Radical realignment will be a non-started because of all the rivalries that vested interests will want to preserve. So add 2 teams to the AL (Portland, NY/NJ), go to 4 divisions in each league while maintaining the historic rivalries – Yanks/Sawx, Cubs/Cards, Giants/Dodgers – and eliminate interleague. Play 14 games home and home against the other three teams in your division and 10 games, also home and home, against the 12 teams in the other three divisions. Eliminate the WC and send the 4 division winners to the playoffs. Seed the playoffs based on record, which will more fair now that the intraleague schedule is balanced and interleague anomalies are gone.

  14. Kid Charlemagne - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    My idea:
    1. Two Leagues. One division winner, three wildcards
    2. Two Leagues, two divisions in each, 2 division winners, 2 wildcards.
    Pretty simple, and you can sell it as being traditional, which always helps in the world of baseball.

  15. Okobojicat - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Does anybody else worry about Fox/Rosenthall’s map making skills? Where the hell are the Twins playing these days? Bemiji? That dot is not even close to Duluth. Since when are the Cubs further south than the White Sox? Suddenly Dallas is Texarkana? And the Mariners play in Tacoma eh?

  16. Charles Gates - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    Every slot gets a number, 1 – 30. Set your seed to 1918, run your random number generator and place each team in a new spot each year. AL still gets the DH, NL still gets to watch the pitcher try to bunt. Every season the divisions are different. It’s mathematically fair.

  17. Sean - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    I like how, if you look at the map, the Twins are now based out of Duluth. Hennepin County taxpayers are not going to be happy about that.

  18. Andrew - Feb 26, 2010 at 4:52 PM

    You have to have more teams in the NL or the AL
    If it was split 15/15 One team would have to be off in each league everyday other then when interleague is going on.
    The compromise would be 2 interleague series a year, no more no less. The yankees play the mets once at home once on the road. White Sox and Cubs get to play each other, the teams that don’t have a “natural” opposite league rival only have to endure playing by the other leagues rules for one series a year and hosting that team once a year.

  19. belichick's cheat codes - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Craig, how could you do a close reading of Rosenthal’s whippet-hit realignment fail without the original picture appearing on SI.com? Chicago in Indiana, the Phillies playing home games just outside of Trenton, the Yanks and Mets sharing a stadium in Nassau County… big comedy from a little fella.

  20. Sully - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    I like this idea, but I’d move Houston to the NL West (puts them with Texas in a West division for interleague rivalry purposes) and Colorado to the AL West (Coors Field belongs in the AL). The greater point that is lost on Bud is that, yes, absolutely, each league and each division should have the same number of teams.

  21. Ross - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    Adding two AL teams would also work, but you then hit the problems of expansion: could be good, could be bad, spreads the talent pool out even thinner, etc, etc. Your idea works if we can get rid of interleague play and if we’re good with expansion. My idea is based on Bud never allowing interleague to die, and this way there’s no specific interleague weekends (with a couple random NL teams playing each other thrown in). It would make interleague play feel a little more natural if it’s going on throughout the season rather than the dedicated weekends. My idea also allows us to use more natural tiebreakers (best record, head to head, interleague record, runs scored) for World Series home field and get rid of the horrendous rule of the All Star Game winner gets home field for the World Series.

  22. YANKEES1996 - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Rosenthal, I believe this realignment plan of yours falls into the category of “Pipe Dream”!!

  23. BTfromVT - Feb 26, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Or better yet Ken, MLB should talk to the BCS for some fresh idea’s

  24. J. McCann - Feb 26, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    Something is needed. BOS and NYY will have more $$$ than any other AL team year after year, and they are both run very smart now too.
    All you have to do is have the AL go back to seven team divisions with 2 wild cards and the problem is solved.

  25. Lawrence From Plattekill - Feb 26, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    Rosenthal isn’t radical enough. Here’s my plan: All fans have to register with MLB. Each year after the World Series, they randomly distribute the fans equally to all clubs.

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