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Hank Scorpio

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One example of floating realignment, according to one insider, would work this way: Cleveland, which is rebuilding with a reduced payroll, could opt to leave the AL Central to play in the AL East. The Indians would benefit from an unbalanced schedule that would give them a total of 18 lucrative home dates against the Yankees and Red Sox instead of their current eight. A small or mid-market contender, such as Tampa Bay or Baltimore, could move to the AL Central to get a better crack at postseason play instead of continually fighting against the mega-payrolls of New York and Boston.

Divisions still would loosely follow geographic lines; no team would join a division more than two time zones outside its own, largely to protect local television rights (i.e., start times of games) and travel costs.

This is similar to what MacPhail was talking about at FanFest. I kind of like the idea. I think it is a better form of "parity" than simply giving weak teams weak schedules, you are looking for the larger-scale balanced divisions.

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I like that they're thinking of stuff like this. But...

1. I'll be stunned if this gets beyond the very, very preliminary stage.

2. Seems strangely complicated.

3. Why base anything on teams' "plans to contend or not"?

4. There would have to be some other constraints here, like min/max number of teams in a division. What if only the White Sox wanted to be in their division? Or if 11 teams wanted to be in the East?

5. How would it actually work? Draft of division slots? Free for all? Sinister backroom machinations?

6. What if you switch to the AL Central to get away from the Yanks and Sox, but they follow you!?

7. Would anyone actually switch?

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This is similar to what MacPhail was talking about at FanFest. I kind of like the idea. I think it is a better form of "parity" than simply giving weak teams weak schedules, you are looking for the larger-scale balanced divisions.

I think a better way to do this might be to have two divisions based on quality. Play more games in division than out. You might have six teams in the top division, 10 in the lower. The top division gets three playoff spots, the bottom gets one. Last team (or two) in the top division gets demoted, top team (or two) in the lower division gets promoted.

This completely blows up the idea of equal schedules and amounts to an admission that the revenue disparities won't ever be fixed. But is probably more realistic than diluting the big markets or getting them to write ever bigger revenue sharing checks while crushing their shareholders.

At least it incentivizes success, gives the big teams a reasonable share of playoff revenues, and gives small market teams some amount of hope.

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The first thing that caught my mind was the effect on fans of this system.

To an extent, there would be "lesser divisions," where teams would go when they do not think they will contend (i.e. Cleveland to the AL East). If I were a fan of the Indians during this time, I'm not spending my usual money on the team. Why waste it if I know what's going to happen throughout the season?

At least now, with fixed divisions, teams cannot choose whether or not to compete. The whole system seems very odd; it is possible for European soccer leagues to use this method, but I don't see the American public latching onto the idea.

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The first thing that caught my mind was the effect on fans of this system.

To an extent, there would be "lesser divisions," where teams would go when they do not think they will contend (i.e. Cleveland to the AL East). If I were a fan of the Indians during this time, I'm not spending my usual money on the team. Why waste it if I know what's going to happen throughout the season?

At least now, with fixed divisions, teams cannot choose whether or not to compete. The whole system seems very odd; it is possible for European soccer leagues to use this method, but I don't see the American public latching onto the idea.

European soccer leagues don't allow teams to choose their division. They get promoted or demoted if they finish at the very top or bottom of one league or another. Teams fight to the death to avoid being relegated to a lower league, or to be promoted, because there's huge revenue differences between leagues. In the current MLB setup that's not a concern. The Indians wouldn't lose $10s of millions in broadcast rights money by picking a weak division.

Maybe that's an unintended side effect of this plan - TV networks might start demanding different payouts based on the division they were broadcasting most of. If you were in a weak division you might get less broadcast revenues. Which might lead everyone to try to get into the Yanks' and Sox' division.

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I like that they're thinking of stuff like this. But...

1. I'll be stunned if this gets beyond the very, very preliminary stage.

2. Seems strangely complicated.

3. Why base anything on teams' "plans to contend or not"?

4. There would have to be some other constraints here, like min/max number of teams in a division. What if only the White Sox wanted to be in their division? Or if 11 teams wanted to be in the East?

5. How would it actually work? Draft of division slots? Free for all? Sinister backroom machinations?

6. What if you switch to the AL Central to get away from the Yanks and Sox, but they follow you!?

7. Would anyone actually switch?

8. The Yankees and Red Sox haven't always been the cream of the crop... what happens in 15 years when they make up the cellar again?

Baseball has been around for over 100 years. Every team has won a division or made the playoffs and every team has finished last in their division. Making drastic moves for the future simply to fix present imbalances is never the answer. Teams will balance out.

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I am in favor of some kind of realignment, but IMO this idea sounds like it would end up being some unexciting, flavorless, and ultimately meaningless, generic gobbledygook. It sounds more like a wishy-washy “politically correct” approach than a firm commitment to address and solve a problem created by over-expansion and financial greed.

If MLB wants to solve the disparity problem they have to make some really tough decisions. I did like the radical realignment idea presented by Ken Rosenthal a week or so ago. http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/r...roposal-022510

But I would go a little further and balance the talent available to each team:

- Categorize (grade) players by stats/ability/history every 3 years - Type A, B, C, etc.

- Limit the number of “Type A” players that a team can sign and have on its roster.

- Compensate financially weaker teams for signing of Type A players until a degree of fiscal balance is achieved.

Of course there are the old standbys:

- Geographically realign teams and somehow balance financial needs at the same time.

- Reduce the number of teams by at least 3 teams with a more modest team realignment.

- Put some form of salary cap in place.

- Reconfigure financial distribution to equalize income among teams.

Something has to be done, but what? Hm-m-m....maybe I should just become a curling fan…..:D

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8. The Yankees and Red Sox haven't always been the cream of the crop... what happens in 15 years when they make up the cellar again?

Baseball has been around for over 100 years. Every team has won a division or made the playoffs and every team has finished last in their division. Making drastic moves for the future simply to fix present imbalances is never the answer. Teams will balance out.

You're kidding, right? Since 1920 the Yanks have had one four-year period of seasons below .500. Since the 30s the Red Sox have only been consistently bad for a period in the late 50s and early 60s. Neither has had any stretch even sort of like the Orioles' last decade in my grandfather's lifetime.

I can't stand the "it's all good enough, might as well not try to fix anything, it might turn around one day" sentiment.

Stuff is broke - fix it.

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If you want to do realignment, I still say go all out and an all payroll, all media division featuring the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies, and lets just throw the Braves in there. If you think ESPN is insufferable now, just wait until they talk about that!

In all seriousness, I cannot see such a division in existence.

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You're kidding, right? Since 1920 the Yanks have had one four-year period of seasons below .500. Since the 30s the Red Sox have only been consistently bad for a period in the late 50s and early 60s. Neither has had any stretch even sort of like the Orioles' last decade in my grandfather's lifetime.

I can't stand the "it's all good enough, might as well not try to fix anything, it might turn around one day" sentiment.

Stuff is broke - fix it.

It's not broken. I like this format. They made it easier to reach the playoffs with the addition of the Wild Card (which has produced several WS Champions, I might add).

I want to win the best division in baseball, then go on and win the World Series. This is the way it's set up. Play the hand you're dealt, and move on.

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I'm not a coward. I'd rather stay in the AL East and beat the big boys, even if playoff appearances won't come nearly as regularly as they would in the Central. If we're run intelligently enough, we can beat them on occasion.

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I'm not a coward. I'd rather stay in the AL East and beat the big boys, even if playoff appearances won't come nearly as regularly as they would in the Central. If we're run intelligently enough, we can beat them on occasion.

If we build the team the right way, we can have continuing success even without the same revenue as the Yankees and Red Sox.

Clearly, the key to winning this division is dominating the REST of the league. If you hold your own in the division and cream everyone else, you're gonna win plenty of games.

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This is the way it's set up. Play the hand you're dealt, and move on.

Why? It's not like the current setup was handed to Moses on stone tablets. It was invented by a bunch of owners generations ago, modified substantially 40 years ago, then modified some more by Bud Selig and his cronies. It's a patchwork system, with compromises every step of the way.

There's no reason to accept the status quo if it doesn't work right. And this doesn't work right.

If you were thinking this thing up from scratch would you end up with the current situation? I seriously doubt it.

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