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Something that never seemed fair to me...


Pedro Cerrano

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The fact that the NL Central has 6 teams and the AL West has just 4. There's no way anyone can look at that and, putting Pittsburgh Pirate jokes aside, think it's fair that some teams have to compete with 3 others for a division title while others have to compete with up to 5.

My solution is to move an NL Central team (like Houston) into the AL West.

Obviously this means that there would be 15 teams in each league and therefore you would have to change the interleague schedule around. Instead of blocking off two straight weeks for it during the season, have it rolling throughout the entire year so that on any given night there are 7 AL games, 7 NL games and one interleague game.

Thoughts?

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If you have fifteen teams in each league you have to have at least one interleague series going on all year long. For whatever reason, whether it is promotional or baseball-related, MLB does not want to do that.

Bob Costas wrote about this issue in his book a decade ago. He suggested the Astros switch, and that the scheduling be done in such a way that the worst teams from the previous year get their interleague series at the beginning and end of the season so that the best teams, likely to be in contention, can have more important (and interesting) divisional games at the beginning and end.

I doubt that the NL would want to no longer have a team in Texas, so I think the best move is either the Brewers back to the AL (since they were the team that switched to make the uneven leagues) with the Royals switching divisions, or one of the newer teams like Arizona or Colorado with the Astros switching divisions.

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Expand the AL by two teams, then have two divisions. One called American League that has 16 teams, the other called the National League, also with 16. Play balanced schedules without interleague play, and all's fair for all. Or close enough.

I think they should cut one NL team and move one NL team to Portland in the AL West.

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Expand the AL by two teams, then have two divisions. One called American League that has 16 teams, the other called the National League, also with 16. Play balanced schedules without interleague play, and all's fair for all. Or close enough.

Well your plan may or may not be the best for baseball but it certainly provides for much more change than I think baseball would ever do (and if you listen to RShack, my plan is bad enough in terms of change).

If baseball wants to have as many teams in playoff contention as late as possible in order to generate as much revenue as possible, they will need to keep the six divisions plus two wild card spots. I just think that each division should have the same number of members.

I remember this used to upset me earlier last decade when the Ravens played in the AFC Central which had 6 teams, while all the other divisions had 5.

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I've thought about this, but I don't know about MLB handling 32 teams - I preferred it when it had 26. With 32 teams there would almost undoubtedly be an NFL-style alignment of eight divisions (North, South, East, and West in each league). If so, to keep the playoffs from going forever, only division winners would advance, maintaining the current eight-team scheme (which I still think is too many anyway, but good luck getting either league back to two divisions ever again, especially with the First and Second National Banks of MLB sitting in the AL East). As long as the First and Second National Banks were in the same division, at least one of them would have to miss the playoffs every year, which could either be very good or very bad. For Orioles fans who want to see them in a different division than the First and/or Second National Banks, another expansion and eight-division realignment would be the way for that to happen. As far as interleague play goes, I could do without it.

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Well your plan may or may not be the best for baseball but it certainly provides for much more change than I think baseball would ever do (and if you listen to RShack, my plan is bad enough in terms of change).

Baseball is highly resistant to change. No argument there. I don't think my idea is that radical, though. Expansion would be a hurdle, since various folks have convinced the world we already have enough good baseball in the world.

But anyway, besides adding two teams everything else stays pretty much the same. Nobody moves anywhere, no rules change, no huge shifts in anything besides you play other divisions a little more, and the other league not at all. And you eliminate the absurdity of teams playing unequal schedules and competing for the same wildcard.

If baseball wants to have as many teams in playoff contention as late as possible in order to generate as much revenue as possible, they will need to keep the six divisions plus two wild card spots. I just think that each division should have the same number of members.

Why not have two league champions and six wildcards? Same number of teams in the playoffs, and you eliminate the random 83-win team that gets in every once in a while. The four best teams in each league are always in the playoffs. With divisions you'll always have the possibility of the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 7th-best teams in and 3rd, 4th, and 6th out.

Same excitement, more fairness. What's not to like?

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Adding two teams seems to be the best solution.

If they want to keep divisions, I guess they could add a team in Vegas and/or Portland for the AL West. If they only go with one of those cities, then the other choice can be anywhere.

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I'd prefer a two-division setup myself, but by that I mean the 1969 setup. I doubt we'll ever get back to two leagues without divisions. With a divisionless league and three wild cards per league, the playoff teams from '09 would have been:

American League

1. Yankees (103-59)

2. Angels (97-65)

3. Red Sox (95-67)

4. Rangers (87-75)

National League

1. Dodgers (95-67)

2. Phillies (93-69)

3. Rockies (92-70)

4. Cardinals (91-71)

The only change here is the Rangers in the final AL wild card spot, instead of the Twins via the one-game playoff to win the Central. With a two-division setup and two wild cards, the playoff teams would have been the same as above, with the Yankees (AL East), Angels (AL West), Phillies (NL East), and Dodgers (NL West) being division winners (all of them, of course, were division winners in the stated divisions with the current setup). I like the idea of consolidation and more wild cards, as it weeds out weak division winners that more often than not end up taking up space in the postseason. Many people like underdogs, the more seemingly mediocre the better, but I'd rather see an 88-win fourth seed win it all under a multi-wild card setup than an 83-win third seed weak division winner under the current system that got inexplicably lucky and kept better teams out. I've never liked the East-Central-West setup; this is a main reason. One of the best things, in addition, about a divisionless or two-division league, is that no more teams are needed.

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Expand the AL by two teams, then have two divisions. One called American League that has 16 teams, the other called the National League, also with 16. Play balanced schedules without interleague play, and all's fair for all. Or close enough.

They may not even have to expand in the traditonal sense if they use the Premier League way of promoting/demoting teams based on performance. An idea that you've mentioned on here before.

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They may not even have to expand in the traditonal sense if they use the Premier League way of promoting/demoting teams based on performance. An idea that you've mentioned on here before.

And I've also noted that an open-league/promotion-relegation setup would be impossible in a world where MLB controls and stocks the rosters of 95% of the professional teams in the country. I guess they could rig up some kind of two-tiered system out of the existing MLB teams and promote/demote within that, but I think we're getting into winning the lottery kind of odds of that happening.

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They may not even have to expand in the traditonal sense if they use the Premier League way of promoting/demoting teams based on performance. An idea that you've mentioned on here before.

True, but you know people will drop a brick if their team gets relegated; then there's also the RSN/"major league-caliber facility" messes to get into. I really didn't mind the days of having to follow most games on the radio; our expanding technologies and passions for huge stadia make a promotion/relegation system all the less likely due to fan expectations. Everyone wants every game of the season, in HD, etc., etc., etc. As far as MLB I see it as something that'll never happen. Can you imagine, for example, the Washington Nationals and Norfolk Tides switching leagues?

And I've also noted that an open-league/promotion-relegation setup would be impossible in a world where MLB controls and stocks the rosters of 95% of the professional teams in the country. I guess they could rig up some kind of two-tiered system out of the existing MLB teams and promote/demote within that, but I think we're getting into winning the lottery kind of odds of that happening.

That's really the only type of thing of that ilk I could see going on, and even then there'd likely be a push for expansion within each of those two tiers. Beyond the two tiers (analogous to the new-ish Premiership/Championship [i hate that they changed the names of the leagues beneath EPL a few years back, but I guess I'll live, ha]) I'd see AAA as League One, AA as League Two, and A or below as Non-League/Conference. To make it work down that far, though, the top baseball teams would likely have to become much more like European football teams as far as academies/reserves and the like, because all the A-AAA teams would have to be set free from their affiliations. Baseball is too resistant to change to let that happen, no matter how exciting the possibilities.

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Why not have two league champions and six wildcards? Same number of teams in the playoffs, and you eliminate the random 83-win team that gets in every once in a while. The four best teams in each league are always in the playoffs. With divisions you'll always have the possibility of the 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 7th-best teams in and 3rd, 4th, and 6th out.

Same excitement, more fairness. What's not to like?

I like it, but I think maybe there should be some form of a greater incentive to win the league in the regular season than just getting to play the third wildcard team.

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