FanDuel - WFBC

June 13, 2011

MLB Considering Realignment: Major League Baseball is considering realignment to give both leagues 15 teams, including a proposal to eliminate divisions and simply award playoff spots to the top five finishers in each league. A simpler change would be moving the Houston Astros to the AL West. Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports calls Houston the "only logical move."

posted by rcade to basketball at 11:29 AM - 29 comments

including a proposal to eliminate divisions and simply award playoff spots to the top five finishers in each league.

I don't care which teams are in which league as long as this happens. The current unbalanced schedule is garbage.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:34 AM on June 13

I'm surprised the 16/14 split has lasted so long. The teams in the AL West have a significant advantage reaching the postseason. A Texas/Houston division rivalry could be great.

posted by rcade at 11:36 AM on June 13

Why five playoff teams from each league?

Oh, wait, I know. More money for MLB, more consolation prizes for the losers.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:40 AM on June 13

I don't care which teams are in which league as long as this happens. The current unbalanced schedule is garbage.

Seconded on the open playoffs. I don't mind the unbalanced schedule for rivalry reasons, but I can see where it makes things unfair over years.

posted by yerfatma at 11:45 AM on June 13

Haven't verified, but I'd guess the uneven divisions even out over time, though the lack of a decent spending cap could be maintaining unevenness (see the battle of the budgets in the AL East).

posted by kokaku at 11:58 AM on June 13

I think a system where there were two wild card teams in each league that had to play a 1 or 3 game series against each other in order to move on to the divisional round would be great. It would finally give an incentive for teams to win their division over getting the wild card when they are in a position to do one or the other. I feel like having some consequence for getting to the playoffs via wild card would undo some of "it doesn't matter how we get there, as long as we make the playoffs" sort of thinking that baseball has under the current system.

I wouldn't like to see it expanded more than that, though.

posted by Jugwine at 11:59 AM on June 13

tl;dr question: adding more playoffs slots will lengthen an already waaaaay too long of a baseball season. Does any plan address that issue?

posted by NoMich at 12:00 PM on June 13

- Texas currently has one team each in AL and NL. Nice to keep that if possible. (Rangers and Astros can play each other during interleague).

- Calif. has 3 NL teams, 2 AL teams.

- Move San Diego to AL West, move Houston to NL West.

posted by beaverboard at 12:21 PM on June 13

Balanced schedule and top 5 teams should be a secondary consideration to a spending cap (said the Red Sox fan). Without a spending cap I'd prefer the current system - gives smaller market teams a better chance.

posted by cixelsyd at 01:05 PM on June 13

I would really miss the AL East if this happened. Does this mean that MLB doesn't think divisional rivalries are important?

posted by bperk at 02:18 PM on June 13

Always wondered why the NL Central teams put up with a six team division.

I wouldn't mind seeing Milwaukee back in the American league, it is still a good rival for the Twins. But, could easily see the Astro's or Padre's moving too.

Would like to see what the 5 team playoff system looked like, but I'd be all for the bottom two having to play a three game series to move on.

Early in the season, but right now the AL has two teams tied for the 5th spot...tie breakers, or a one game playoff?

posted by dviking at 05:24 PM on June 13

They are really getting to the point where they can't lengthen the season much and still have a reasonable expectation of decent weather if a team like Boston, Detroit, Chicago, etc. is involved. Maybe they'll shorten the regular season? One can dream, but I am pretty sure 150 games would be enough.

posted by feloniousmonk at 08:14 PM on June 13

But...but...how will we ever get to keep track of far ahead/behind the Yanks/Sawx are if we don't have divisions to keep track of?

It would suck from a historical perspective, but it might work in the future. I wouldn't trust MLB to successfully execute it, however.

posted by Bonkers at 08:46 PM on June 13

They are really getting to the point where they can't lengthen the season much and still have a reasonable expectation of decent weather if a team like Boston, Detroit, Chicago, etc. is involved. Maybe they'll shorten the regular season?

Hahahaha.

Hahahahahahahahaha.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!

Did you seriously suggest that you think MLB might not continue to squeeze the eagle till it bleeds?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:06 PM on June 13

I have no idea what that euphemism means, but it sounds extraordinarily dirty.

posted by yerfatma at 10:04 PM on June 13

That explains the eagle blood I noticed on Bud Selig's hands.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:15 PM on June 13

They are really getting to the point where they can't lengthen the season much and still have a reasonable expectation of decent weather if a team like Boston, Detroit, Chicago, etc. is involved.

There already isn't a reasonable expectation of decent weather for northern teams. I've been to a World Series game in Detroit where it snowed.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:22 PM on June 13

I'm surprised the 16/14 split has lasted so long. The teams in the AL West have a significant advantage reaching the postseason. A Texas/Houston division rivalry could be great.

And it'd be extremely nice for Rangers fans to not have to deal with so many divisional road games that are two time zones away (Stars fans too, for that matter).

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:53 PM on June 13

but it sounds extraordinarily dirty.

Squeezing the eagle is not to be confused with choking the chicken, two completely different scenarios.

However, I do agree that MLB seems to have no regard for how fall weather affects baseball. Of course, we just ended the NBA season, and NHL goes on for two more days. Professional sports in the US just seems to be one continuous money grab.

posted by dviking at 11:53 PM on June 13

Not a fan of losing the divisions. And especially not a fan of Houston going AL - HATE the DH.

posted by bobfoot at 12:21 AM on June 14

I say let's go back to two divisions per league, two rounds of playoffs -- a five-game pennant and a seven-game World Series -- no wildcards, cut the season back to 150 games, and get rid of the expansion teams.

And get off my lawn!

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:19 AM on June 14

I say we expand NCAA football to 162 game seasons and get rid of every other sport on earth. And I'm not leaving your lawn. There's a keg here and a port-a-potty.

posted by smithnyiu at 05:07 PM on June 14

get rid of the expansion teams

Go Rays! Go AL East! If we were nominating teams that we could get rid of, there are lots of team that have less success and are more boring than the expansion Rays.

posted by bperk at 06:35 PM on June 14

get rid of the expansion teams.

So the Reds win every year by default? I like it.

posted by tahoemoj at 07:32 PM on June 14

Kansas City to AL West.

Milwaukee to AL Central.

posted by graymatters at 12:49 AM on June 15

Oh hell. Just when the Mariners aren't absolutely horrid. I'm certain that this is going to drive us back to the bottom. Somehow. I just know it.

Did someone say they have a keg on their lawn?

posted by THX-1138 at 02:51 PM on June 15

One of these days I'm going to write a computer simulation that proves that a large division with a balanced is more competitive than a small division with an unbalanced schedule—in the long term.

Although it's worth noting that draft parity is a HUGE factor. In order for any long-term competitiveness to be restored, draft bonuses need to be regulated. But that's a whole different kettle of worms.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:20 AM on June 16

Agreed. Hard slots (don't say that with a Russian accent) and then allow teams to trade picks.

posted by yerfatma at 12:11 PM on June 16

"I don't care which teams are in which league as long as this happens. The current unbalanced schedule is garbage."

This will never happen but allow me to indulge my fantasies: balanced schedules with promotion and relegation within MLB (promotion and relegation to the minors will never happen for many reasons we don't want to go into here) and everyone plays by the same set of rules (ie, DH for both NL and AL). MLB is really one league; everyone should be playing by the same rules by now.

Make the NL "division one" (in the old Football League sense), but don't call it that, keep the NL name for historical reasons but make it "division one" or the upper tier, because it is the senior circuit. Make AL "division two", or the lower tier. Each league has 15 teams, balanced home and away schedule of 12 games played against the other teams in the same league, 6 home 6 away (14 times 12 = 168 games; a 10 game home and away would only be 140 games; you could do 11 games home and away for 154 total, but you would then have unbalanced 5 home and 6 away or vice versa).

At the end of the regular season, top 5 of NL and top 5 of AL would go into the World Series playoffs (assuming you want 10 teams in playoffs). NL teams would get better seeding in playoffs because the NL is "division one". The top team in the NL would win the NL pennant and the top of the AL would win the AL pennant; you would go back to old-fashioned pennant races with balanced schedules, followed by World Series playoffs. No divisions based on geography; NL and AL would become single table, balanced schedule leagues dividing MLB into an upper tier and a lower tier, with promotion/relegation between them at the end of the season to match teams based on proven performance rather than geographical proximity or on ancient historical NL/AL vestigial distinctions that really don't mean much any more in the modern MLB.

As indicated above, with promotion/relegation, at the start of the next season, the top (say) five AL teams would move up to the NL, and the bottom five of the NL would drop down to the AL. Or you could be more aggressive and have bottom/top six or seven teams change places; the point would be to make the bottom of NL worth avoiding due to relegation, and to aggressively exchange teams between NL and AL each season, in order to sort teams by ability, ie, the best play the best; the second best play the second best and work their way back into playing the best. You earn your schedule by your team's ability on the field, not by geography or NL/AL history or MLB committees fiddling with the alignments.

This would spice things up a bit, Euro-style, plus you give a real incentive for "free riders" not to be super cheap and hope to sneak into the playoffs on a late season winning streak; the idea would be to encourage the best play all season long. Owners who cheap out would be on the bottom of the AL within two seasons. But, AL teams would still have a chance to make the playoffs, and move up to the NL the next season. So the AL would not be "minor league"; it would still be major league and would not in that sense be like the European system (which doesn't have playoffs anyway so the comparisons aren't precise).

Anyway, it will never happen, but that's my fantasy.

posted by dave2007 at 01:26 AM on June 17

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