Thursday, October 19, 2017

MLB Expansion, Re-Alignment And The End Of AL & NL

Very quietly, Major League Baseball may be hinting at a revolutionary change in how its teams are aligned. As part of a plan to expand baseball from 30 to 32 teams, one proposal (by Baseball America) would eliminate the American and National leagues and move to a four-division scheme—with eight teams in each. The only upsides as far as we can see are: 1.) the season would be reduced from 162 to 156 games; and 2.) travel times would get shorter and thus long, wacky road trips would end. Otherwise, this seems like an incredibly stupid proposal. Consider this, the Red Sox would be lumped into a new "North" division—along with The Evil Ones, the Mets, the Indians, the Tigers, the Twinkies and one of the likely new expansion franchises in Montreal (the other would likely be Portland, Oregon in the West division). Here are the other three division breakdowns:

East: Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington.
Midwest: Both Chicago franchises, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Texas.
West: Anaheim, Arizona, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle.

The four first-place teams would advance to the post-season, and eight Wild Card teams would vie for advancement to the Division Series (where they would play the four Division Winners). The remaining four teams would go on to a new round of  'Championship' Series—which would produce the two teams that advance to the World Series. Confused yet? While this is an ambitious reform—and does solve the length of season and travel issues—it is doomed to failure in our opinion. You just can't eliminate the American and National leagues and think fans will roll over and accept it. There has to be a better solution.