Buster Olney has been talking about a proposed realignment in Major League Baseball that would eliminate the divisions and create two 15 team leagues with one National League team moving to the American League.
Who came up with this proposal is anyone’s guess.
But it’s stupid.
It shouldn’t be done.
Not in this way.
Here’s my common-sense, radical realignment that will fix the issues that currently exist with the MLB setup and hopefully preclude this notoriously idiotic idea that’s floating around and being sold as if it’s logical.
Before anything else, here’s my caveat: MLB will never do it because it’s too much of a drastic change from the antiquated “traditions” that are clung to for the sake of history; and it makes far too much sense for any sports league—especially MLB (practical advocate of the circular firing squad)—to implement.
Let’s take a look anyway.
Eliminate the American and National Leagues.
There is no purpose to having the separation of leagues anymore.
Inter-league play and the advent of web access and worldwide ability to view each and every team and player has shaved away the novelty that once existed from seeing players from the “other” league or different parts of the country.
The umpires are no longer separated by leagues; there are no more league presidents; it’s a split based on absolutely nothing aside from mindless tradition that went out of style when they started inter-league play in the first place.
Split the teams into divisions based on geography.
Don’t you want to see the Yankees and Mets playing in games that have a bearing on the division? The White Sox and Cubs? The Dodgers and Angels?
Wouldn’t it boost rivalries if the teams and fans a legitimate stake in the outcome rather than as a quirk to get crosstown rivals on the same field?
The only way we can hope for a post-season matchup of local rivals is in the World Series. The chance of it happening is so farfetched that it’s only happened once in my lifetime between the Yankees and Mets; I’d be shocked to see it again. It’s far more exciting and annually consistent to let these turf wars occur naturally rather than as a created entity such as interleague play.
Keep the DH.
It’s going to sound like a newfangled approach that will enrage the “purist”, but the designated hitter has been around since 1973 and isn’t going anywhere. Ever.
In part because fans want the extra offense; in part because the union won’t allow a high-paying job to be eliminated, the DH is here to stay.
And it’s a good thing.
As for the strategic aspects, I believe it was Bill James who said that the pitcher batting reduces the strategy a manager has to employ because his decision to remove a pitcher is often dictated by an offensive strategy like the pitcher coming to bat in a situation where he needs a hit instead of coming to a conclusion based on the pitcher’s performance doing what he does—pitching.
There has to be a DH.
The new divisions.
Northeast: Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies, Blue Jays
Atlantic: Nationals, Orioles, Braves, Marlins, Rays
Central: Indians, Reds, Pirates, Twins, Tigers
Mid-West: White Sox, Cubs, Cardinals, Royals, Brewers
West: Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Giants, Athletics
Southwest: Rangers, Astros, Diamondbacks, Mariners, Rockies
The number of games must be cut to 154 with an unbalanced schedule.
15-18 games will be against division rivals and the games against the rest of the league will number somewhere between 8-10 and be determined randomly by computer.
Every division winner makes the playoffs and there are 4 Wild Card teams. The 4 Wild Card teams will play one another in a best 2 of 3 format so the division champions aren’t sitting around for a week waiting for an opponent.
Once two teams are eliminated, the eight remaining clubs are seeded from 1 through 8 with a 1 vs 8; 2 vs 7; 3 vs 6; 4 vs 5 matchup scheme in a 3 of 5 format.
After that, the teams are reseeded again for the championship series with a best 4 of 7. The two remaining teams will play in the World Series.
It’s perfectly reasonable and fair.
And of course you can forget about ever seeing it happen unless I somehow wrest control of the baseball world from the powers that be and take over as the Emperor of Baseball.
Don’t underestimate me, but it’s not going to happen within the next year or two.
I don’t think…