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So what do you think about the realignment thing?

Jun 13, 2011, 9:12 AM EDT

Bud Selig defiant

As Drew wrote over the weekend and as everyone has been talking about since, Major League Baseball is considering realignment. There are a couple of flavors to it:  either just having the Astros moving to the AL or having that happen plus the elimination of divisions.  As has frequently been noted in these reports, that this will happen is no sure bet. It’s just something on the table.

My initial reaction to it all is cautious optimism. I agree with Drew’s take about it being unfair that some teams are in a four team division and others in a six team division.  I don’t have a visceral problem with an interleague series taking place at all times because, by this point, interleague has been around long enough to where it isn’t remarkable. Maybe if there is more overall interleague play it will allow the unfairness of teams in the same division playing interleague slates of varying difficulty to be fixed a bit.

As I’ve written a few times recently, I also like the notion of divisions being eliminated and the top four or five (if they insist on an expanded playoffs) teams making the playoffs. This would help some AL East teams or others who, in the future, may have to deal with a would-be divisional foe with a massive spending advantage. And would help reduce the possibility of a truly wretched team from  making the playoffs. If it did happen you’d almost have to balance the schedules, it seems, and I’m not sure that baseball is willing to take Red Sox-Yankees games off the schedule.

My biggest area of concern is less of a competitive concern than it is of a business concern, and it may very well be the reason this doesn’t happen:  as of now we have multiple playoff races, even if they’re diminished somewhat due to the wild card and playoff expansion.  If you go to a “take the top five teams” scenario, would it not make it likely that, in several years, you’d really only have one playoff race, and that’s for the fifth best record in each league?  Not exactly riveting, and it could have a negative impact at the gate.

But like I said, I haven’t wrapped my brain around it yet and, unless and until there is a concrete proposal out there with some non-trivial chance at passing, I’m not sure I want to invest more brain time in it.

But I do want to know what you think, so let’s do this totally unscientifically with a quickie internet poll.  More importantly, let’s talk about it in the comments.

  1. dogsweat1 - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    West Division:

    Los Angeles

    Los Angeles

    San Francisco


    San Diego

    Central Division:




    St Louis

    Kansas City

    East Division

    New York

    New York



    Tampa Bay

    West Division:






    Central Division:






    East Division






    Divisions with teeth!!!!

    • pauleee - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:52 PM

      Yeah, what he’s smokin’! (not what he’s proposing)

  2. jbroks86 - Jun 13, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    No, just move it back to either the 1969-1993 playoff format with 1 LCS best of 7 and 2 divisions or go back to the pre 1969 and have them all play in 1 league and eliminate the playoffs altogether.

  3. ta192 - Jun 13, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    The proposal which creates an “ESPN Division” of only the Yankees and Red Sox will forever have a place in heart…

    • yuckygeo - Jun 13, 2011 at 4:04 PM

      You could probably include the Cardinals and Phillies in that division.

  4. uuddlrlrbastart - Jun 13, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    I like the idea of expanding two more and going to four four-team divisions. I posted this in one of the previous realignment posts but here it is again:

    I have no idea where the MLB would expand, but using two of the more common possibilities, Portland and Charlotte, I came up with the following divisions:

    NL East – Mets, Phillies, Pirates, Nationals
    NL North – Cubs, Brewers, Reds, Cardinals
    NL South – Marlins, Braves, Astros, Rockies
    NL West – Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Diamondbacks

    AL East – Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Blue Jays
    AL North – Indians, White Sox, Twins, Tigers
    AL South – Royals, Rangers, Rays, Charlotte
    AL West – Mariners, Angels, A’s, Portland

    If you wanted to go with The Common Man’s idea of expanding to a third NY team (which is fairly brilliant), the Orioles could easily be moved to one of the other divisions.

    As for scheduling, I would eliminate interleague play and have each team play in-division rivals 14 times and out of division rivals 10 times. I realize it will end up with a lot of 2 game series, but, as a fan, I’d rather see the Mets go to Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, and every where else twice a year, even if it means they end up playing 24 2-game series during the season.

    For the playoffs, with no wild card, the impetus for a fifth team is eliminated.

  5. uuddlrlrbastart - Jun 13, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    I realize I already posted, but in addition to my completely sensible plan, I also have a completely outlandish plan. This lacks a certain feasibility, but I enjoy thinking about this nonsense.

    The ideal league size for the 162-game schedule is two six-team divisions. You play 18 in-division games and 12 out-of-division games, all three game series, except as situations warrant, it’s pretty much perfect. Since we’re already at 30 teams, why not go nuts and expand all the way to 36 teams and add a third league. So we’d have three leagues with two divisions of six teams. The realignment works pretty nicely, using pre-1976 league set ups, with some division adjustments, and add all the expansion teams from 1977 on to our newly created Federal League (it almost worked once!).

    With that, your leagues:

    NL East – Mets, Phillies, Pirates, Nationals, Braves, Reds
    NL West – Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Cubs, Cardinals, Astros

    AL East – Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Indians, Tigers, Brewers
    AL West – Angels, A’s, Royals, Twins, Rangers, White Sox

    FL East – Blue Jays, Marlins, Rays, New York, Charlotte, Montreal
    FL West – Mariners, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Portland, Las Vegas, Mexico City

    The playoffs obviously present some issues. Without having done any serious work on it, my initial thought is for the division winners to play each other in a seven game series, and the two non-division winners with the best records would meet for the wild card. I don’t entirely care for that, so I’m also trying to work out a scenario where the three or four best non-division winners play some sort of round robin, but do so within the timeframe of the seven-game league championship series. The winner of that would play the league champion with the best record, while the other two league champions face each other.

    Immediately obvious issues:
    -This couldn’t be done piecemeal, so one huge six-team expansion would be necessary, causing fairly significant talent dilution for a decade or so and resulting in less-than-competitive ball being played in the Federal League for a while.
    -The All Star Game. No one really cares anyway, so this could easily be rectified by making it Eastern Division teams vs Western Division teams.
    -Finding enough markets. I just picked six new markets that have been discussed in some fashion before, but I’m not sure there are six markets out there that could fully support a new team.

    I know this is my idea, but I like it way more than the idea of 15 team leagues, interleague play every day, and no divisions.

  6. liquidgrammar - Jun 13, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    I want to do something totally off the wall!! Get rid of the non-designated hitter rule, first of all. Second, get rid of the central divisions. They’re either east or west. Next, put the teams in the same basic city in the same division. Then realign everybody thusly:
    division 1-mets, yankees, orioles, reds, Boston, pirates, indians
    division 2-braves, phillies, nats, tigers, cardinals, marlins, rays, Toronto
    division 3-astros, twins, rangers, cubs, white sox, royals, brewers, rockies
    division 4-dodgers, padres, giants, mariners, diamondbacks, angels, a’s
    how’s that for realignment?

  7. jricciotti - Jun 20, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    i really don’t think two seperate 15 team leagues will work. it will make the competetive level even worse for the bottom feeder teams that can’t spend a lot of money. i mean, it makes sense for teams like toronto and baltimore, but what about oakland, kansas city, tampa bay, and minnesota. teams that have hisotrically relied on building their teams to play in their division. i like the division rivalries too much, and although i do agree that a realignment is needed, i think that is too drastic of a move. i also firmly believe that a national league team needs to be moved to the american league to strike a competitive balance between the two leagues, its unfair with one 6 team division and one 4 team division. i suggest a playoff expansion of one team per league and two divisions in each league.

    New York Yankees
    Boston Red Sox
    Toronto Blue Jays
    Baltimore Orioles
    Tampa Bay Rays
    Cleveland Indians
    Florida Marlins (Moved from NL to AL)

    Chicago White Sox
    Minnesota Twins
    Kansas City Royals
    Texas Rangers
    Oakland Athletics
    Los Angeles Angels
    Seattle Mariners
    Detroit Tigers

    Philidelphia Phillies
    New York Mets
    Atlanta Braves
    Washington Nationals
    Pittsburgh Pirates
    Cincinatti Reds
    Houston Astros

    Chicago Cubs
    Milwaukee Brewers
    St. Louis Cardinals
    San Francisco Giants
    Arizona Diamondbacks
    Colorado Rockies
    Los Angeles Dodgers
    San Diego Padres

    This way, for the most part mlb would preserve the grand majority of their historical rivalries and it would make the greatest sense geographically. It’s likely that with divisions this large, a more of a balanced schedule would be able to take place as well. then, each division winner would get an automatic playoff berth at the 1 and 2 seed, while all other playoff spots would be dictated by overall record so all teams would have a better chance, i think this would help attendance as well.

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