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macro
03-10-2010, 11:28 AM
Perhaps the title of the article should read "Selig, committee consider ways to destroy baseball". This idea is even worse than the awful one they came up with back in the 90s...


When baseball commissioner Bud Selig named a 14-person "special committee for on-field matters" four months ago, he promised that all topics would be in play and "there are no sacred cows." The committee already has made good on Selig's promise by discussing a radical form of "floating" realignment in which teams would not be fixed to a division, but free to change divisions from year-to-year based on geography, payroll and their plans to contend or not.

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/tom_verducci/03/09/floating-realignment/#ixzz0hn9q7hMg
Get a free NFL Team Jacket and Tee with SI Subscription (http://tcr81.tynt.com/ads/2/0hn9q7hMg)

TRF
03-10-2010, 11:30 AM
Their plans to contend or not?

ugh.

OnBaseMachine
03-10-2010, 11:36 AM
I've heard of some dumb ideas before, but this one takes the cake.

bucksfan2
03-10-2010, 11:39 AM
Actually monetarily it makes sense. If you are rebuilding, or sucking, why not bring in the most income possible. If at the start of the season you know you have little chance of competing why not have the Yankees and Red Sox come to your park 9-10 times each? Granted this will never work and be an abysmal failure if tried, I do see some logic behind it.

Reds Fanatic
03-10-2010, 11:47 AM
Whoever came up with that idea should be drug tested. That may be the dumbest idea I have ever heard.

kaldaniels
03-10-2010, 12:14 PM
While this plan is seemingly ill-thought out, I've said it once and I'll say it again. Being in a 6 team division puts the Reds at a disadvantage, especially when you consider there is a 4 team division out there...I'd love to have an intelligent plan put forth.

Kc61
03-10-2010, 12:19 PM
While this plan is seemingly ill-thought out, I've said it once and I'll say it again. Being in a 6 team division puts the Reds at a disadvantage, especially when you consider there is a 4 team division out there...I'd love to have an intelligent plan put forth.


I'm not in favor of floating teams around every year. But I don't see why there shouldn't be re-examination and re-alignment every three or four years.

The current alignment has one 6-team division. It has teams in the AL East competing every year with the Yanks and Red Sox who spend more. Some teams would like more games against teams that will attract more fans.

I don't see a problem with taking a fresh look at the divisional set up every few years.

osuceltic
03-10-2010, 12:20 PM
While this plan is seemingly ill-thought out, I've said it once and I'll say it again. Being in a 6 team division puts the Reds at a disadvantage, especially when you consider there is a 4 team division out there...I'd love to have an intelligent plan put forth.

OK ... set a salary cap at $100 million (really, the Red Sox and Yankees are the only clubs ruining competitive balance) ... set a salary floor at $50 million. Establish a global draft. Implement a mandatory slotting system for draft picks.

Competitive balance ensues.

Of course, the union won't go for it, and baseball secretly loves that the Yankees and Red Sox make the playoffs every season. They don't care about Toronto or Tampa Bay. So none of this, as obvious as it is, will happen anytime soon.

TRF
03-10-2010, 12:27 PM
Cap signing bonuses at $1M

I agree on a floor and ceiling. disagree on international draft. It's impractical, and could lead to less talent actually. Imagine the D.R. not having FA players. Now imagine them going into the draft in round 35. Less incentive for that 16 year old to play. The drive is the one thing they have that ups their talent. Japan doesn't allow the U.S. to draft its players.

I just doubt we ever see it.

westofyou
03-10-2010, 12:51 PM
Bud Selig baseball's answer to New Coke

Eric_the_Red
03-10-2010, 12:53 PM
NL East:
NY
Phi
Pitt
Wash

NL North:
Chi
Cin
Mil
StL

NL South:
Atl
Col
FL
Hou

NL West:
AZ
LA
SD
SF


That took me about 4 minutes. You're welcome, Mr. Selig.

westofyou
03-10-2010, 01:03 PM
Colorado is misplaced there

Mario-Rijo
03-10-2010, 01:14 PM
NL East:
NY
Phi
Pitt
Wash

NL North:
Chi
Cin
Mil
StL

NL South:
Atl
Col
FL
Hou

NL West:
AZ
LA
SD
SF


That took me about 4 minutes. You're welcome, Mr. Selig.

Interesting but then what about the AL? I think the best way to do it is simply move Houston to the NL west and Colorado or Arizona (Col would be my choice) to the AL West. Walaa exact alignment. The only problem then becomes what to do with that one team in each league who doesn't have a dance partner everyday. Well why not spread out the interleague play over the whole season randomizing it, instead of bunching it all up into one month? Should make it interesting when the Mets and Yankees play that subway series for the last series of the season when one or both are fighting for their playoff lives. Could you imagine what the talk would be if the Mets kept the Yankees out of the playoffs one time? Unlikely but kinda cool.

Caveat Emperor
03-10-2010, 01:19 PM
Colorado is misplaced there

If you're going pure geography, the alignment is probably best as:

NL EAST: CIN, NYM, PHI, PIT
NL SOUTH: ATL, HOU, FLA, WAS
NL MIDW: CHI, COL, MIL, STL
NL WEST: ARI, LA, SD, SF

Eric_the_Red
03-10-2010, 01:23 PM
Colorado is misplaced there

Well, the Rockies kind of sit out on their own geographically. I suppose you could move them to the North and St. Louis to the South.

Unassisted
03-10-2010, 01:27 PM
Their plans to contend or not?
It is intriguing. Hard to imagine any team in any sport would admit they have no plans to contend.

"We go into this season recognizing we have no shot at winning a championship, so we'll just take move into the non-contender division and enjoy whatever success we get."

Might lead to more fire sales. Burn it to the ground and move into the non-contender division for a year or two while you rebuild.

Rather than require an open admission, it would be more interesting if that were the automatic consequence of a salary dump, measured objectively. Be among the top 4 teams in the game to reduce payroll and you must move into the non-contender division.

BRM
03-10-2010, 01:29 PM
It is intriguing. Hard to imagine any team in any sport would admit they have no plans to contend.

"We go into this season recognizing we have no shot at winning a championship, so we'll just take move into the non-contender division and enjoy whatever success we get."

Good luck selling tickets.

bucksfan2
03-10-2010, 01:31 PM
If you're going pure geography, the alignment is probably best as:

NL EAST: CIN, NYM, PHI, PIT
NL SOUTH: ATL, HOU, FLA, WAS
NL MIDW: CHI, COL, MIL, STL
NL WEST: ARI, LA, SD, SF

I would switch CIN and WAS and you may be on to something.

Unassisted
03-10-2010, 01:31 PM
Good luck selling tickets.In Cincinnati that matters, but it's not the case everywhere. Some dismal Colorado teams sold a lot of tickets.

klw
03-10-2010, 01:33 PM
If they were to do some sort of roving realignment a look at the Premier League system of regation and promotion would be in order but it would not support the idea of giving the non premier league teams a shot at enhanced revenue. I think it would be three ten team divisions with the top five teams from the premier league and the top two teams from the first and the top third divison team reaching reaching the playofs. Top two teams in the lower divisions get promoted and the lowest two teams get relegated. I don't think it would work.

The discussion of separating the NYY and Red sox is flawed if the idea is that separating them would enhance competition. It would increase the likelihood of both teams making the playoffs. If they really wanted to enhance competition and lower the effects of funds they would go with greater geographical/ money based divisions
Ex
NYY
NYM
BOS
Phil
Toronto

BRM
03-10-2010, 01:38 PM
In Cincinnati that matters, but it's not the case everywhere. Some dismal Colorado teams sold a lot of tickets.

But management of those teams never came out and openly admitted "we aren't even trying this year".

red-in-la
03-10-2010, 01:49 PM
Well, the Rockies kind of sit out on their own geographically. I suppose you could move them to the North and St. Louis to the South.

:clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:

nate
03-10-2010, 02:11 PM
This one (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/144020-how-realignment-could-save-major-league-baseball) at Bleacherreport.com makes more sense to me:


American League

West
Oakland
San Francisco
San Diego
L.A. Angels
L.A. Dodgers
Seattle

Midwest
Colorado
Arizona
Kansas City
Texas
Houston

Central
Minnesota
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Milwaukee
Detroit


National League

South
Florida
Tampa Bay
Atlanta
St. Louis

East
Pittsburgh
Cleveland
Cincinnati
Washington
Baltimore

Northeast
Philadelphia
New York Yankees
New York Mets
Boston
Toronto

bucksfan2
03-10-2010, 02:24 PM
Realignment makes sense to me but I don't know about switching leagues. For example if you are a AL team and made a big investment in a DH then a switch to the NL would likely set your team back. Conversely if your a NL team you would need to make that investment in a DH which could be costly as well.

_Sir_Charles_
03-10-2010, 02:42 PM
I'd go a different route. That bleacher report one has the same problem. 6 teams in the west, but only 4 in the south. I want even amounts in EACH and EVERY division.

NL East
Phillies
Mets
Braves
Nats
Pirates
Reds
Marlins
Cubs

NL West
Dodgers
Padres
Giants
Diamondbacks
Rockies
Astros
Cardinals
Brewers

Ideally, they'd swap some NL teams and AL teams, but I don't see that happening. Geographically, this fits. Draw a vertical line between Chicago and Milwaukee and this is the split. I just don't care for the Cubs/Cards/Brewers all being so close together and not in the same division. That's why I'd like to see them re-align the leagues as well. The Royals should be in that Cubs/Cards/Brewers group...probably the Twinkies too.

8 teams in each division. One division champ from each and then the top 2 wild card teams. Not sure if it should be one WC from each division or simply the top 2. I'd lean towards the top 2 overall.

_Sir_Charles_
03-10-2010, 02:43 PM
Realignment makes sense to me but I don't know about switching leagues. For example if you are a AL team and made a big investment in a DH then a switch to the NL would likely set your team back. Conversely if your a NL team you would need to make that investment in a DH which could be costly as well.

Agreed, but that's why I'd get the idea set in stone...but implement it in...say, 3 years. Gives teams time to prepare their rosters.

Strikes Out Looking
03-10-2010, 02:50 PM
Yet another Bud Selig Zeppelin.

durl
03-10-2010, 02:56 PM
My initial reaction is that I'm not strongly against realignment. I don't think it's ideal, though. I would be against radical realignment and switching of leagues.

Someone mentioned it earlier but a salary cap and a limit on signing bonuses would make the most sense if the intent is parity. Big media markets with their own TV networks are going to have a lot more cash for large payrolls and no degree of realignment will change that.

The union has way too much power and the players are more concerned about the paycheck than they are making the playoffs. I honestly don't see a salary cap, and the parity it would likely bring, coming anytime soon.

M2
03-10-2010, 03:01 PM
I'm not in favor of floating teams around every year. But I don't see why there shouldn't be re-examination and re-alignment every three or four years.

That's my basic take. Perhaps extend it out to a decade for re-examination. The current division alignment isn't sacred by any stretch of the imagination.

I've long been for a full league re-organization along east-west geographical lines. The NL (aka the Senior Circuit) would contain teams in the eastern time zone and the AL (originally known as the Western League) would have everyone else.

You'd wind up with something like this, which is a slight tweak on the Bleacherreport alignment (because the Cardinals and Cubs will demand to be together and should be):

NL East

Yankees
Red Sox
Mets
Phillies

NL South

Marlins
Rays
Braves
Nationals
Orioles

NL Midwest

Reds
Indians
Pirates
Tigers
Blue Jays

AL Midwest

Cubs
White Sox
Brewers
Twins
Cardinals

AL Sunbelt

Astros
Rangers
Royals
Diamondbacks
Rockies

AL Pacific

Mariners
Giants
A's
Dodgers
Angels
Padres

The Royals might complain, but who really cares about the Royals? They won't exist in 20 years anyway.

Meanwhile that does a better job of limiting travel, enhancing geographic rivalries and ensuring that game times are convenient for fans. When the league expands two more teams then it can toy with the idea of four divisions.

KronoRed
03-10-2010, 03:23 PM
The Royals might complain, but who really cares about the Royals? They won't exist in 20 years anyway.



Neither will the Reds or Pirates ;)

RichRed
03-10-2010, 03:50 PM
NL Midwest

Reds
Indians
Pirates
Tigers
Blue Jays


Woof, that's a snoozer of a division, at least in the short term.

I like the overall geographical makeup though.

klw
03-10-2010, 04:18 PM
Version 1- focus on geography, resources

NL East NL SE NL Midwest AL North AL SW AL California
Yankees Marlins Reds Mariners Astros Giants
Red Sox Rays Indians Cubs Rangers A's
Mets Braves Pirates White Sox Royals Dodgers
Phillies Nationals Tigers Twins Diamondbacks Padres
Blue Jays Orioles Cardinals Brewers Rockies Angels


Version 2 Trying to maintain some league traditions While emphasizing regional rivalries

AL East AL North AL West NL East NL Central NL California
Yankees Cubs Mariners Phillies Reds Giants
Red Sox White Sox Royals Pirates Indians A's
Mets Brewers Diamondbacks Nationals Cardinals Dodgers
Blue Jays Twins Rockies Rays Astros Angels
Braves Tigers Marlins Rangers Padres
Orioles
Version 3- balance out the money with the fewest moves, Mets and Rays swap; Diamondbacks Angels swap: Brewers Royals swap

AL East AL Central AL West NL East NL Central NL West
Yankees Indians Mariners Phillies Reds Giants
Red Sox White Sox Rangers Braves Cubs Rockies
Mets Brewers Diamondbacks Nationals Cardinals Dodgers
Blue Jays Twins A's Rays Astros Angels
Orioles Tigers Marlins Royals Padres
Pirates

Heath
03-10-2010, 05:18 PM
When you have 30 teams, one has to have 16 and one 14 unless you want one interleague series per week.

KronoRed
03-10-2010, 05:42 PM
When you have 30 teams, one has to have 16 and one 14 unless you want one interleague series per week.

I think it would be every day, and why not anyway? It's MLB now, AL and NL are just names.

kaldaniels
03-10-2010, 05:43 PM
When you have 30 teams, one has to have 16 and one 14 unless you want one interleague series per week.

I wouldn't lose an ounce of sleep over that. The mystique of interleague play is gone.

Scrap Irony
03-10-2010, 06:18 PM
Eastern Seaboard (AL)
Yankees
Red Sox
Orioles
Nationals
Mets

East (NL)
Phillies
Pirates
Braves
Marlins
Rays

Midwest (NL)
Reds
Cardinals
Cubs
White Sox
Royals

North (AL)
Tigers
Blue Jays
Indians
Twins
Brewers

West (NL)
Diamondbacks
Astros
Rangers
Padres
Rockies

Pacific (AL)
Giants
Dodgers
Angels
Mariners
A's

BCubb2003
03-10-2010, 07:14 PM
Mega

Yankees
Mets
Red Sox
Cubs
White Sox

Metro

Atlanta
Baltimore
Philadelphia
Toronto
Washington

Central

Pittsburgh
Cleveland
Detroit
Milwaukee
Cincinnati

Sunbelt

Tampa Bay
Florida
Houston
Texas
Arizona

Midwest

Minnesota
St. Louis
Kansas City
Denver

Pacific

Seattle
San Francisco
Oakland
Dodgers
Angels
San Diego

M2
03-10-2010, 07:43 PM
I think it would be every day, and why not anyway? It's MLB now, AL and NL are just names.

I agree "NL" and "AL" have become vestigial terms, but it works out neatly that 14 teams play in the eastern time zone. So if MLB went with a geographic split, it could engineer a clean 14/16 divide and sprinkle in interleague games using the current format.

The bigger problem is what to do about the DH rule. I say scrap it and expand the rosters to 27 players, though MLB likely won't be soliciting my opinion on the subject.

jmcclain19
03-11-2010, 01:34 AM
Add two new teams in Charlotte & Portland and you have yourself 32 teams with a clean breakdown of 8 divisions of 4 teams each.

macro
03-11-2010, 09:22 AM
As someone who loves symmetry, I'd like to see two leagues of 15 teams each, with three divisions of five teams. Play at least one interleague game every day. I've never understood the resistance to playing interleague throughout the season. :confused:

Here's the scheduling formula I would propose:


15 games against the other four teams in your division = 60 games
9 games against the ten non-division teams in your league = 90 games
3 games against four of the five teams in one division of the other league = 12 games (on a regularly scheduled three-year rotation)

Sea Ray
03-11-2010, 10:56 AM
Whoever came up with that idea should be drug tested. That may be the dumbest idea I have ever heard.

The thing is apparently a whole committee liked the idea. Wow...


The concept gained strong support among committee members

M2
03-11-2010, 01:17 PM
As someone who loves symmetry, I'd like to see two leagues of 15 teams each, with three divisions of five teams. Play at least one interleague game every day. I've never understood the resistance to playing interleague throughout the season. :confused:

My guess is the resistance has been based on marketing concerns for the most part. If there's an interleague game every day it doesn't seem so special.

Also, I suspect that there isn't a single NL team looking to jump to the AL. Houston or DC probably would benefit from the jump, but I've never heard that either franchise has even considered such a move. That's probably because no one wants to be the only team making the switch and because NL franchises don't want any part of the DH rule.

Now, if MLB is putting everything on the table, then a 15/15 split certainly deserves consideration. Yet, from my perspective, the optimal reorganization looks like a 14/16 split. If MLB really wants to change things, then grouping leagues into east-west piles seems to make the most sense. Tweaking the current leagues is probably DOA because it's too status quo. So why change? Allowing teams to hop divisions based on how pathetic they wish to be is, well, pathetic.

If you go east-west, then some central time zone team has to jump to the east. The Cardinals aren't going to want to leave the Cubs behind and vice versa. The Brewers also want to be in a division with the Cubs, which is why they joined the NL in the first place. The Astros probably will want to get paired with the Rangers. My guess is the only semi-viable option would be the White Sox, which might want to stay grouped with the Tigers and Indians. My take is it would be fine no matter how the White Sox landed.

If they went east, you'd get something like this:

NL

Northeast

Yankees
Red Sox
Mets
Phillies
Blue Jays

Southeast

Nationals
Orioles
Braves
Marlins
Rays

Central

Reds
Pirates
Tigers
Indians
White Sox

AL

North

Cubs
Cardinals
Brewers
Twins
Royals

Southwest

Astros
Rangers
Rockies
Diamondbacks
Padres

Pacific

Mariners
Giants
A's
Dodgers
Angels

The Padres likely would be the team that needed the most convincing in that scenario, as they'd be the one Pacific club not grouped with the rest of the time zone.

Yet it would be easier to expand from that setup. For instance, if Vegas and Charlotte joined the party, MLB could break into four-team divisions quite neatly.

Yankees-Red Sox-Mets-Blue Jays
Phillies-Pirates-Nationals-Orioles
Braves-Marlins-Rays-Charlotte
Reds-Tigers-Indians-White Sox

Cubs-Cardinals-Twins-Brewers
Astros-Rangers-Royals-Rockies
Padres-Angels-Diamondbacks-Vegas
Dodgers-Giants-A's-Mariners

RedsManRick
03-11-2010, 01:39 PM
As someone who loves symmetry, I'd like to see two leagues of 15 teams each, with three divisions of five teams. Play at least one interleague game every day. I've never understood the resistance to playing interleague throughout the season. :confused:

Here's the scheduling formula I would propose:


15 games against the other four teams in your division = 60 games
9 games against the ten non-division teams in your league = 90 games
3 games against four of the five teams in one division of the other league = 12 games (on a regularly scheduled three-year rotation)


Agreed completely with your premise. However, I don't like the idea of one team missing the Yankees while the other misses the Orioles. What about this:


18 games against the other four teams in your division = 72 games (44%)
6 games against the ten non-division teams in your league = 60 games (37%)
6 games against four of the five teams in one division of the other league = 30 games (19%)


You get a home-home with each team in your interleague matchup division (no extra forced rivalry games) and the other NL teams while you play 3 series at each park against your division. That would give more weight back to the idea of winning your division, more divisional pride, and more intrigue in the league playoffs.

Here's my alignment. It's primarily a geographic region basis. I think these lead to the most natural rivalries and happens to put similar revenue teams together. I tried to keep teams mostly where they're at, but did some swapping in the central divisions to tighten things up. I also kept both leagues with National appeal. AL is primarily northern. NL is primarily southern.



American League National League
Northeast Great Plains Pacific Coast Southeast Midwest Southwest
Blue Jays Brewers Angels Braves Cubs Astros
Mets Cardinals A's Marlins Indians Diamondbacks
Phillies Twins Giants Nationals Pirates Padres
Red Sox Royals Dodgers Orioles Reds Rangers
Yankees White Sox Mariners Rays Tigers Rockies

Not to toot my own horn, but I really love this alignment. This maintains most of the strong rivalries that currently exist while introducing all sorts of natural rivalries exist here that don't currently exist. This would breath more life in to the game and increase attendance as more fans would be able to drive to games at opponents stadiums.
- Yankees/Mets
- Brewers/Twins
- Cardinals/Royals
- Nationals/Orioles
- Marlins/Rays
- Reds/Indians
- Pirates/Indians
- Astros/Rangers

The current alignment seems to spread out these rivals to the two leagues, which just doesn't make sense to me. It creates two sets of unconnected fan bases rather than encouraging the conflict that makes being a fan fun.

This also keeps almost every team in the same time zone as their division mates, with the exceptions being the Cubs, Padres, and Rangers.

M2
03-11-2010, 02:08 PM
RMR, the Cubs and Cardinals are never going to get split into different leagues. That rivalry, Yankees-Red Sox and Dodgers-Giants are sacrosanct. Those clubs shall not be divided, by division let alone by league.

I also don't see the point in mixing up the divisions if the leagues are going to stretch from coast-to-coast. We've already got that. A doppelganger version of it doesn't really achieve anything.

Chip R
03-11-2010, 02:19 PM
http://newsthatsfittoprint.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/samir.jpg

"Yes, this is horrible, this idea."

Sea Ray
03-11-2010, 02:26 PM
Part of the idiocy of this whole thing is that it would change from year to year. Who would determine the change? When would it be decided? Schedules generally are determined mid summer before the year in question. This is unwieldy and will never happen under Bud "concensus" Selig. We can't agree on one set of changes here and supposedly they would go through this every year.

Why don't they spend their time doing more constructive stuff like figuring out one set of rules that will be played in the NL as well as the AL?

westofyou
03-11-2010, 02:33 PM
Canada weighs in....

http://www.thestar.com/sports/baseball/article/778206--griffin-selig-and-co-should-have-their-heads-realigned



Major League Baseball, according to a Tom Verducci column at SI.com, seems to be considering a move that would allow the Blue Jays to escape the unbelievably tough AL East. It sounds good, but thankfully is a long way from reality.

This is the dumbest thing commissioner Bud Selig has ever considered. With apologies to the Jays and any hopes they might have for realignment, there must be another motive behind this initiative.

RedsManRick
03-11-2010, 03:11 PM
Maybe the Jays should stop giving $100M contracts to mediocre players forcing them to trade away their Cy Young. AL East is tough, but the Rays have shown it's not impenetrable...

M2, I would love to have an East (NL), West (AL) alignment -- or visa versa, but that would require even more teams switching leagues, which I think would be the #1 complaint. In my alignment, just switch Cubs and Sox and the problem is solved. Or if you prefer to have Cubs and Sox together as well, swap the Cubs and Brewers. Milwaukee is basically a rust belt city as is...

I think a "doppleganger" version of what we have which creates 5 team leagues and increases geographic alignment does achieve something. It creates more natural rivalries without eliminating the current ones, reduces travel for teams and (more importantly) fans, and balances out the imbalance of teams.

I would also argue (though it deserves a closer look) that tighter geographic alignment will reduce intradivison payroll disparity -- as those disparities are largely the result market forces which are themselves regional in nature. I think a constantly changing structure which adapts to the other factors related to the quality of organizational management would just create a race to the bottom for teams knowing that if they suck enough, they won't have to play the hard teams as often. That's just ripe for manipulation.

If you realign, better geographic alignment is the way to go. And I think my structure really accomplishes that as well or better than the other alignments I've seen suggested.

KronoRed
03-11-2010, 03:17 PM
Add two new teams in Charlotte & Portland and you have yourself 32 teams with a clean breakdown of 8 divisions of 4 teams each.

Two more cities that have no business having an MLB team IMO.

Big market or contraction.

pedro
03-11-2010, 03:23 PM
Two more cities that have no business having an MLB team IMO.

Big market or contraction.

I think MLB would do pretty well in Portland. Much better than is some cities where it already is such as Pittsburgh, Tampa or Miami.

Sea Ray
03-11-2010, 03:30 PM
Actually I think the last realignment did a good job geographically. Teams changing leagues is another matter altogether

Degenerate39
03-11-2010, 03:39 PM
So they'll put the non-contenders in their own division? Which will make one of them go to the playoffs which will make them contenders? If I understood that right then Selig and his committee aren't too bright

vaticanplum
03-11-2010, 03:42 PM
Maybe the Jays should stop giving $100M contracts to mediocre players forcing them to trade away their Cy Young. AL East is tough, but the Rays have shown it's not impenetrable...

M2, I would love to have an East (NL), West (AL) alignment -- or visa versa, but that would require even more teams switching leagues, which I think would be the #1 complaint. In my alignment, just switch Cubs and Sox and the problem is solved. Or if you prefer to have Cubs and Sox together as well, swap the Cubs and Brewers. Milwaukee is basically a rust belt city as is...

I think a "doppleganger" version of what we have which creates 5 team leagues and increases geographic alignment does achieve something. It creates more natural rivalries without eliminating the current ones, reduces travel for teams and (more importantly) fans, and balances out the imbalance of teams.

I would also argue (though it deserves a closer look) that tighter geographic alignment will reduce intradivison payroll disparity -- as those disparities are largely the result market forces which are themselves regional in nature. I think a constantly changing structure which adapts to the other factors related to the quality of organizational management would just create a race to the bottom for teams knowing that if they suck enough, they won't have to play the hard teams as often. That's just ripe for manipulation.

If you realign, better geographic alignment is the way to go. And I think my structure really accomplishes that as well or better than the other alignments I've seen suggested.

I totally agree with this.

It would go a long way toward saving baseball. As it stands right now, the markets and rivalries are terribly skewed and only a very few areas stand to increase or even maintain strong fanbases. I really believe the current alignment is not sustainable over, say, 20-30 years more.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 03:47 PM
Somehow, I don't think floating realignment is going to do anything to change the number of times the Yankees and Red Sox make the playoffs. The only way you're going to do that is to find a way to prevent them from outspending other teams by an enormous margin.

How about just moving to a balanced schedule? If teams like the Indians want more revenue generating games against the Yankees and Red Sox, that would probably help them out more than some goofy floating realignment schedule. To balance out disparities between the number of teams per division, if they aren't going to add two teams, they should just move to two divisions in each league with a balanced schedule. Add wild cards to replaced lost division champs and there you go. Not only would it help add to the competitive balance of each league (teams playing every other team more often), it would allow for the opportunity for teams to rebuild old rivalries destroyed by the last realignment.

M2
03-11-2010, 03:57 PM
M2, I would love to have an East (NL), West (AL) alignment -- or visa versa, but that would require even more teams switching leagues, which I think would be the #1 complaint. In my alignment, just switch Cubs and Sox and the problem is solved. Or if you prefer to have Cubs and Sox together as well, swap the Cubs and Brewers. Milwaukee is basically a rust belt city as is...

I think a "doppleganger" version of what we have which creates 5 team leagues and increases geographic alignment does achieve something. It creates more natural rivalries without eliminating the current ones, reduces travel for teams and (more importantly) fans, and balances out the imbalance of teams.

I would also argue (though it deserves a closer look) that tighter geographic alignment will reduce intradivison payroll disparity -- as those disparities tend to be the result of market forces which are themselves regional in nature.

Milwaukee switched leagues once just to get in a division with the Cubs. I'm relatively sure the current commissioner, who was also the owner of the Brewers at the time of that shift, would make sure those two stayed together.

As for the amount of movement, more movement with a strong rationale for why teams are being grouped together strikes me as easier than less movement with no specific rationale beyond "let's reshuffle the deck." If it's random as to what teams are in which league, then you're going to get an endless loop of teams asking why they should be the ones to fall on the sword. Some will want other divisions. Some will want other leagues. Some will want their divisions in the other league. Some will want some other teams brought into their leagues and some will want other teams moved out of their leagues. Who gets what they want and who doesn't? If the league is deciding that using an arbitrary method then realignment goes nowhere (and this is likely why this latest round will go nowhere).

I agree that tighter geographic alignment will reduce intradivision disparity. It makes perfect sense, but the way you're looking to institute it could very well create an A league and a B league. In fact, I'd say you're a Cubs-Royals swap away from it. Meanwhile, if you follow geographic grouping to its logical end (splitting the leagues along east/west lines), you avoid that problem while still getting the divisional parity you hoped. You also get less travel and more games played in prime time for the home television audience.

Most of all, you get a clear rationale for why a team is being placed in one league as opposed to another. No one can argue the map of the U.S. is treating them unfairly. You'd get some kicking and screaming over the divisional alignment (mostly in trying to figure out Kansas City and San Diego), but everything else would sort out with minimal fuss. East/west presents the cleanest, fairest path to realignment.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 04:04 PM
Milwaukee switched leagues once just to get in a division with the Cubs. I'm relatively sure the current commissioner, who was also the owner of the Brewers at the time of that shift, would make sure those two stayed together.

As for the amount of movement, more movement with a strong rationale for why teams are being grouped together strikes me as easier than less movement with no specific rationale beyond "let's reshuffle the deck." If it's random as to what teams are in which league, then you're going to get an endless loop of teams asking why they should be the ones to fall on the sword. Some will want other divisions. Some will want other leagues. Some will want their divisions in the other league. Some will want some other teams brought into their leagues and some will want other teams moved out of their leagues. Who gets what they want and who doesn't? If the league is deciding that using an arbitrary method then realignment goes nowhere (and this is likely why this latest round will go nowhere).

I agree that tighter geographic alignment will reduce intradivision disparity. It makes perfect sense, but the way you're looking to institute it could very well create an A league and a B league. In fact, I'd say you're a Cubs-Royals swap away from it. Meanwhile, if you follow geographic grouping to its logical end (splitting the leagues along east/west lines), you avoid that problem while still getting the divisional parity you hoped. You also get less travel and more games played in prime time for the home television audience.

Most of all, you get a clear rationale for why a team is being placed in one league as opposed to another. No one can argue the map of the U.S. is treating them unfairly. You'd get some kicking and screaming over the divisional alignment (mostly in trying to figure out Kansas City and San Diego), but everything else would sort out with minimal fuss. East/west presents the cleanest, fairest path to realignment.


I would argue that tighter geographic alignment may have been part of the culprit in creating the NY-Boston oligarchy in baseball. NY and Boston have always been huge draws for other teams (as well as the Dodgers, Giants, and Mets in the NL). By going with smaller divisions and an unbalanced schedule, it has allowed NY and Boston to generate a great deal of money promoting that one rivalry relative to the rest of the league. Cities like Cleveland and KC get sizable boosts in attendance when those teams come around. So if you want to help the weaker sisters of baseball, there should be some plan that sends the big money teams out to play the rest of the league more often.

M2
03-11-2010, 04:29 PM
Big market or contraction.

Problem is there really aren't any big markets out there. I suppose the league could add another NYC team.

Another L.A. area team could be a possibility since the population keeps exploding out by Riverside. Technically that's the biggest metro area in the U.S. without a team. Portland is next, followed by Sacramento, Orlando, San Antonio and Vegas.

Montreal is a large metropolitan area, but I think it's safe to say MLB isn't going back there. Vancouver's actually smaller than Portland in terms of population. Mexico City is monstrous and Monterrey and Guadalajara are also big cities, but crime and a violent drug war likely will keep MLB out of Mexico in the near term.

San Juan? Maybe, though it's really not that big. Santo Domingo probably is too poor. Havana might open up as a possibility within the decade. Caracas might be too far away (though not as far from the east coast as you might think) even if the league wanted to put up with the political histrionics involved with locating a team there, but it is a huge city and it probably could sustain a team.

I imagine that a few decades in the future an Asian division will become a distinct possibility, but that's a way off -- mostly waiting on China to supply fan interest and player talent.

So I'm not seeing where there are obvious big markets to choose. And no healthy sports league should be entertaining thoughts of contraction.

M2
03-11-2010, 05:02 PM
I would argue that tighter geographic alignment may have been part of the culprit in creating the NY-Boston oligarchy in baseball. NY and Boston have always been huge draws for other teams (as well as the Dodgers, Giants, and Mets in the NL). By going with smaller divisions and an unbalanced schedule, it has allowed NY and Boston to generate a great deal of money promoting that one rivalry relative to the rest of the league. Cities like Cleveland and KC get sizable boosts in attendance when those teams come around. So if you want to help the weaker sisters of baseball, there should be some plan that sends the big money teams out to play the rest of the league more often.

That's a fair argument. Boston actually wasn't that big of a draw until the divisional format got created, though that's got more to do with television and the maturing of the Baby Boom generation than divisional play. Still, the divisional format does allow the Yankees and Red Sox to focus almost solely on one another.

Then again, big, wealthy cities are still big, wealthy cities no matter how you align things. They will charge more for tickets, draw more fans, land lucrative local television contracts and make more money in merchandising and promotions. I suspect those clubs know enough about the business by this point that they'd continue to view the upper echelon as their main competition and ignore everyone else. And it certainly doesn't seem to be helping Toronto (which is an awfully big city), Baltimore and Tampa Bay to play all those extra games against them. If New York-Boston had the power to bestow riches upon their most immediate satellites, then those three franchises should be in great shape.

At least with the Mets and Phillies in the mix you'd have four mega teams clawing away at each other, making for more of a mutual bloodbath.

FWIW, I don't care a bit about helping smaller market teams. It couldn't interest me less. I agree with RMR that many of the market conditions, good and bad, tend to be regional so more tightly grouping the divisions by geography strikes me as fair. Yet that runs second to it being sensible as far as I'm concerned - natural rivalries, less travel, better television times, eliminating arbitrary division alignments. Plus, one of these days the east/west split is going to happen. It's actually a bit strange that it hasn't happened already given its logistical advantages in a league that plays such a densely-packed schedule. Both owners and players should be clamoring for that sort of realignment.

Grouping like markets together is a nice bonus on top of that. Yet the reality is that some markets have natural advantages. For the smaller markets, if you want to run with the big dogs then stop yapping and start running.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 05:53 PM
That's a fair argument. Boston actually wasn't that big of a draw until the divisional format got created, though that's got more to do with television and the maturing of the Baby Boom generation than divisional play. Still, the divisional format does allow the Yankees and Red Sox to focus almost solely on one another.

Then again, big, wealthy cities are still big, wealthy cities no matter how you align things. They will charge more for tickets, draw more fans, land lucrative local television contracts and make more money in merchandising and promotions. I suspect those clubs know enough about the business by this point that they'd continue to view the upper echelon as their main competition and ignore everyone else. And it certainly doesn't seem to be helping Toronto (which is an awfully big city), Baltimore and Tampa Bay to play all those extra games against them. If New York-Boston had the power to bestow riches upon their most immediate satellites, then those three franchises should be in great shape.

At least with the Mets and Phillies in the mix you'd have four mega teams clawing away at each other, making for more of a mutual bloodbath.

FWIW, I don't care a bit about helping smaller market teams. It couldn't interest me less. I agree with RMR that many of the market conditions, good and bad, tend to be regional so more tightly grouping the divisions by geography strikes me as fair. Yet that runs second to it being sensible as far as I'm concerned - natural rivalries, less travel, better television times, eliminating arbitrary division alignments. Plus, one of these days the east/west split is going to happen. It's actually a bit strange that it hasn't happened already given its logistical advantages in a league that plays such a densely-packed schedule. Both owners and players should be clamoring for that sort of realignment.

Grouping like markets together is a nice bonus on top of that. Yet the reality is that some markets have natural advantages. For the smaller markets, if you want to run with the big dogs then stop yapping and start running.

I would argue that Toronto, Baltimore, and Tampa's problems aren't entirely economic. Maybe they get some extra money from playing NY and Boston, but they still have to compete with the big dogs on the field. You also have to consider the fact that Toronto and Baltimore haven't always made the best management decisions and Tampa hasn't really been around long enough to have built the hard core fan base that other teams have.

My concern with your plan is that, by grouping the mega markets together, you're almost begging them to up and decide to seek out their own separate TV deal to keep more of that money at home. ESPN is already heavily weighted toward NY-Boston. Throwing NY and Philly into the mix practically gives them the incentive to just about exclude most other teams from the mix through a separate TV deal. It just increases the tension between the haves and the have-nots.

Furthermore, the long-term financial health of the league is dependent on all the teams, not just the big markets. Part of what makes the NFL such a great money maker is that any market in the league can support a dominant team. Teams and stars are distributed throughout the league. It generates interest in the league across the country. On the other hand, the economic structure of MLB has allowed baseball to pretty much fade in interest in large sections of the country, sections which, believe it or not, still have a significant portion of the US population. Ohio is still estimated to be the 7th most populous state. The problem is that it doesn't have the majority of its population jammed into one corner of the state as does NY or IL or some of these other states with mega market teams. Would you just leave Ohio teams to their own devices because their population is spread among Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, and Youngstown instead of being jam-packed into a single ginormous media market?

My feeling is that your proposal and the Bud Selig proposal will eventually end up creating a 10 team major league and what is essentially a AAAA league with everyone else. The goal of MLB should be to raise the water level for all boats in the harbor, whether it be competitively or economically. MLB isn't a bunch of individual businesses competing against each other. It's a major business in and of itself with individual franchises in various locations. It's real competition for the attention of fans are other sports leagues and other entertainment options. The more MLB neglects that, the more likely they are to drive future fans to other alternatives.

westofyou
03-11-2010, 05:57 PM
My feeling is that your proposal and the Bud Selig proposal will eventually end up creating a 10 team major league and what is essentially a AAAA league with everyone else.


Or in essence the recreation of the National League and American Association of the 1880's, when the leagues were essenially regional.

M2
03-11-2010, 06:44 PM
I would argue that Toronto, Baltimore, and Tampa's problems aren't entirely economic.

I agree 100%. I'd even go as far to say that's the case with every franchise that's got problems.


My concern with your plan is that, by grouping the mega markets together, you're almost begging them to up and decide to seek out their own separate TV deal to keep more of that money at home.

That already happens, at least inside a team's designated market. However, those top dog teams will still have to go through the league for national and international TV contracts. The rules are already in place for that. In fact marquee franchises are a big reason why the league keeps raking in national TV and Internet revenue, something that is buoying the entire league.

To a degree you're talking about gutting the golden goose.


Furthermore, the long-term financial health of the league is dependent on all the teams, not just the big markets.

Long-term health doesn't mean all 30 teams stay in one place. If a team really can't make it work in City X, then it will move. That's as old as the game itself. Where are the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Boston Braves, Philadelphia A's, Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns? That's 3/8 of the franchises that built MLB. Two of them moved twice.

And the NFL model is just as prone to franchise movement as MLB. When there's greener pastures, franchises go grazing. It's epidemic in American sports. Always has been. Doesn't seem likely to change.

So the solution is never going to be that the league needs to coddle the Kansas City Royals. Ultimately they'll become the Las Vegas Royals (damn, that is a sweet team name) or something to that effect.


My feeling is that your proposal and the Bud Selig proposal will eventually end up creating a 10 team major league and what is essentially a AAAA league with everyone else.

My proposal is teams should be placed in divisions with their closest neighbors and leagues should be divided upon common sense geographical lines. If a franchise can't compete in that format then good riddance. Selig's proposal is going nowhere fast and the article WOY posted is probably 100% correct that this is a trial balloon designed to open dialog about playoff expansion.

As for creating a split in the majors, I actually think that's not a bad idea. Though I think you've got the numbers all wrong. It's only a handful of franchises that are in any real distress. And for every Kansas City or Pittsburgh, there's a Minnesota that's just about to sign a fat new local TV deal or a Milwaukee climbing to more than 3 million in attendance. So if there were a split, it would be more like 24 teams sticking in MLB.

And that wouldn't be a bad deal for the six who got culled if there were some sort of relegation/promotion system like you see in international soccer leagues. It would allow teams that need to rebuild a chance to go down and get their house in order. It would also allow new cities to break into the MLB mix. Mind you, it will never happen. It won't even be entertained. American fans would rather lose their teams, and many will, than admit those teams might not be top caliber.


The more MLB neglects that, the more likely they are to drive future fans to other alternatives.

MLB attracts more fans than any professional sports league on earth and it's not even close. During the past two decades the attendance for MLB, MiLB and independent league baseball has shot through the roof. Far from driving people away, the sport has never been in better shape. Simply put, baseball has no problem whatsoever when it comes to attracting fans.

If MLB has a "problem" it's that certain current owners want to rig the system to maximize their eventual sales price.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 06:46 PM
Okay, here's an idea. Let's just take an earlier proposal similar to the floating system and take it to its logical extreme. Full on adoption of the system used in English Football. Divide the majors into a First and Second Division with promotion and relegation. Teams only play regular season games within their division. At the end of the season, the bottom teams of the First Division duke it out with the top teams of the Second Division for promotion and relegation. You could even have top minor league teams battle for promotion into the Second Division and demote poor performers in the Second Division to AAA.

The second part of the equation is to transform the World Series into a cup tournament similar to the FA Cup. All teams in all divisions get seeded according to their performance the previous season, so that the regular season champ of the First Division gets top seed, on down. First Division teams get byes for the first few rounds while Second Division teams play mid-week series to determine who goes on to the next rounds. Finish with the quarterfinals being conducted at the end of the season, just as the playoffs are conducted today.

The only problem is that it would require greater schedule flexibility and shortening the number of regular season games. It would also result in teams with a lot of mid-week open dates. That could be resolved by either having some regular season series count as both cup games and regular season games, or just scheduling additional regular season series in the open dates.

jmcclain19
03-11-2010, 06:49 PM
I think MLB would do pretty well in Portland. Much better than is some cities where it already is such as Pittsburgh, Tampa or Miami.

Miami is the soon to be home of the largest empty stadium in pro sports.

What an awful baseball town.

RedsManRick
03-11-2010, 06:51 PM
I would argue that Toronto, Baltimore, and Tampa's problems aren't entirely economic. Maybe they get some extra money from playing NY and Boston, but they still have to compete with the big dogs on the field. You also have to consider the fact that Toronto and Baltimore haven't always made the best management decisions and Tampa hasn't really been around long enough to have built the hard core fan base that other teams have.

I actually agree 100% with your analysis Yactzee. My alignment only makes sense in a world with vastly increased revenue sharing that includes revenue from team owned stations like YES or NESN and a cap/floor system that keeps the free agent market from being so skewed.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 07:14 PM
I agree 100%. I'd even go as far to say that's the case with every franchise that's got problems.



That already happens, at least inside a team's designated market. However, those top dog teams will still have to go through the league for national and international TV contracts. The rules are already in place for that. In fact marquee franchises are a big reason why the league keeps raking in national TV and Internet revenue, something that is buoying the entire league.

To a degree you're talking about gutting the golden goose.



Long-term health doesn't mean all 30 teams stay in one place. If a team really can't make it work in City X, then it will move. That's as old as the game itself. Where are the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Boston Braves, Philadelphia A's, Washington Senators and St. Louis Browns? That's 3/8 of the franchises that built MLB. Two of them moved twice.

And the NFL model is just as prone to franchise movement as MLB. When there's greener pastures, franchises go grazing. It's epidemic in American sports. Always has been. Doesn't seem likely to change.

So the solution is never going to be that the league needs to coddle the Kansas City Royals. Ultimately they'll become the Las Vegas Royals (damn, that is a sweet team name) or something to that effect.



My proposal is teams should be placed in divisions with their closest neighbors and leagues should be divided upon common sense geographical lines. If a franchise can't compete in that format then good riddance. Selig's proposal is going nowhere fast and the article WOY posted is probably 100% correct that this is a trial balloon designed to open dialog about playoff expansion.

As for creating a split in the majors, I actually think that's not a bad idea. Though I think you've got the numbers all wrong. It's only a handful of franchises that are in any real distress. And for every Kansas City or Pittsburgh, there's a Minnesota that's just about to sign a fat new local TV deal or a Milwaukee climbing to more than 3 million in attendance. So if there were a split, it would be more like 24 teams sticking in MLB.

And that wouldn't be a bad deal for the six who got culled if there were some sort of relegation/promotion system like you see in international soccer leagues. It would allow teams that need to rebuild a chance to go down and get their house in order. It would also allow new cities to break into the MLB mix. Mind you, it will never happen. It won't even be entertained. American fans would rather lose their teams, and many will, than admit those teams might not be top caliber.



MLB attracts more fans than any professional sports league on earth and it's not even close. During the past two decades the attendance for MLB, MiLB and independent league baseball has shot through the roof. Far from driving people away, the sport has never been in better shape. Simply put, baseball has no problem whatsoever when it comes to attracting fans.

If MLB has a "problem" it's that certain current owners want to rig the system to maximize their eventual sales price.

Sure the MLB attracts more fans on a yearly basis, but they also have the benefit of providing the most games in one of the most populous countries on the planet. If the NFL could realistically play as many games as baseball, or if you compared all the top professional soccer leagues in Europe (for an comparable population size), I think the number of fans in attendance would balance themselves out. Doesn't mean that more people prefer MLB to NFL or soccer. It just means that more people have the opportunity to catch a game in the MLB. It would be interesting to see MLB's revenues and attendance compared to other leagues and eras, but adjusted to compensate for the inherent differences in the leagues and eras, similar to what we do for playing stats by adjusting for park factors and eras.

The question isn't about moving teams. Teams move for a variety of reasons, and as of late it's because the team can't get the local population to buy them a new sports palace rather than any lack of local support for the team. Whenever realignment is brought up, it's always brought up in terms of competitiveness, creating rivalries (not a fan of manufactured rivalries, they develop naturally), and a bunch of other hoo-ha that has more to do with what teams people would like to see their favorite team play on a regular basis.

The fact is, whether the Royals play in KC or Vegas, they're always going to have issues with regard to financial disparity because Vegas, or Portland, or wherever you want to move a team, isn't going to have the same financial dynamo that is found in NY-Boston. It's just shuffling deck chairs. And citing the current status of Minnesota and Milwaukee doesn't change the fact that they could be a few bad seasons away from financial disaster.

Maybe I'm just biased because I grew up in an era, the '70s and '80s, when there was a certain degree of competitive balance between small and large markets, and where a team could have a decade-long playoff run in a place like Cincinnati just as easily as it could in New York or Boston. I believe competitive balance promotes financial growth across the league and keeps bringing in the young fans who are the next generation of your revenue streams. I think the best way to do that is to ensure that all franchises are benefiting from the revenues of the sport as a whole, while putting in safeguards to ensure certain owners aren't using league revenues to pad their own wallets. NY and Boston need other teams to play, right?

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 07:24 PM
If you want an example of what the financial disparity has been doing to baseball, look no further than Cleveland. This is a team that has been doing everything right over the years, new park, smart drafting, great farm system, created their own TV network, yet they still have to trade their top players or let them leave to the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and other big market teams. They sold out 455 straight games and all it took was a few bad years and now they talk about cutting costs and rebuilding. If that rebuilding fails they could find themselves in a bigger hole than before. I'd say they have a better chance of becoming the next Pittsburgh than they do the next Yankees.

M2
03-11-2010, 07:28 PM
Okay, here's an idea. Let's just take an earlier proposal similar to the floating system and take it to its logical extreme. Full on adoption of the system used in English Football. Divide the majors into a First and Second Division with promotion and relegation. Teams only play regular season games within their division. At the end of the season, the bottom teams of the First Division duke it out with the top teams of the Second Division for promotion and relegation. You could even have top minor league teams battle for promotion into the Second Division and demote poor performers in the Second Division to AAA.

The second part of the equation is to transform the World Series into a cup tournament similar to the FA Cup. All teams in all divisions get seeded according to their performance the previous season, so that the regular season champ of the First Division gets top seed, on down. First Division teams get byes for the first few rounds while Second Division teams play mid-week series to determine who goes on to the next rounds. Finish with the quarterfinals being conducted at the end of the season, just as the playoffs are conducted today.

The only problem is that it would require greater schedule flexibility and shortening the number of regular season games. It would also result in teams with a lot of mid-week open dates. That could be resolved by either having some regular season series count as both cup games and regular season games, or just scheduling additional regular season series in the open dates.

The MLB-AAA split already exists, and there's an even number of teams at both levels. So, theoretically, a pro-rel system could be instituted without any change in the current number of teams in each league. A 20-20-20 split could also be arranged.

And the World Series/playoffs is a cup competition. Always has been. There's no reason to throw out 100+ years of history just to institute an FA Cup replacement.

It would actually be pretty easy to implement (though I stress once again this will never even get serious consideration let alone actually happen). The biggest hurdle would be in setting free minor league franchises. They'd have to figure out how to act like a full-grown adult team after nearly a century of being spoon-fed.

Still, as a thought experiment, it's nice to envision a system that simply whisks away the most hapless franchises and replaces them with eager new up-and-comers. Plus, the occasional giant would screw up and get relegated. Then everyone could point and laugh.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 08:15 PM
The MLB-AAA split already exists, and there's an even number of teams at both levels. So, theoretically, a pro-rel system could be instituted without any change in the current number of teams in each league. A 20-20-20 split could also be arranged.

And the World Series/playoffs is a cup competition. Always has been. There's no reason to throw out 100+ years of history just to institute an FA Cup replacement.

It would actually be pretty easy to implement (though I stress once again this will never even get serious consideration let alone actually happen). The biggest hurdle would be in setting free minor league franchises. They'd have to figure out how to act like a full-grown adult team after nearly a century of being spoon-fed.

Still, as a thought experiment, it's nice to envision a system that simply whisks away the most hapless franchises and replaces them with eager new up-and-comers. Plus, the occasional giant would screw up and get relegated. Then everyone could point and laugh.

Of course, for that system to work, you'd also have to wipe out the current rules that allow one team to control a market area and prevent other teams from operating in that market. It comes to no good if, say, someone buys a minor league team in New Jersey, builds it up and earns promotion up to the majors, only to have the Yankees, Mets, or Phillies say "No thank, you. We were here first."

Of course the Yankees and Mets would never favor any changes that would potentially result in cutting into the advantage they enjoy under the current market rules.

M2
03-11-2010, 08:21 PM
Sure the MLB attracts more fans on a yearly basis, but they also have the benefit of providing the most games in one of the most populous countries on the planet. If the NFL could realistically play as many games as baseball, or if you compared all the top professional soccer leagues in Europe (for an comparable population size), I think the number of fans in attendance would balance themselves out. Doesn't mean that more people prefer MLB to NFL or soccer. It just means that more people have the opportunity to catch a game in the MLB. It would be interesting to see MLB's revenues and attendance compared to other leagues and eras, but adjusted to compensate for the inherent differences in the leagues and eras, similar to what we do for playing stats by adjusting for park factors and eras.

The question isn't about moving teams. Teams move for a variety of reasons, and as of late it's because the team can't get the local population to buy them a new sports palace rather than any lack of local support for the team. Whenever realignment is brought up, it's always brought up in terms of competitiveness, creating rivalries (not a fan of manufactured rivalries, they develop naturally), and a bunch of other hoo-ha that has more to do with what teams people would like to see their favorite team play on a regular basis.

The fact is, whether the Royals play in KC or Vegas, they're always going to have issues with regard to financial disparity because Vegas, or Portland, or wherever you want to move a team, isn't going to have the same financial dynamo that is found in NY-Boston. It's just shuffling deck chairs. And citing the current status of Minnesota and Milwaukee doesn't change the fact that they could be a few bad seasons away from financial disaster.

Maybe I'm just biased because I grew up in an era, the '70s and '80s, when there was a certain degree of competitive balance between small and large markets, and where a team could have a decade-long playoff run in a place like Cincinnati just as easily as it could in New York or Boston. I believe competitive balance promotes financial growth across the league and keeps bringing in the young fans who are the next generation of your revenue streams. I think the best way to do that is to ensure that all franchises are benefiting from the revenues of the sport as a whole, while putting in safeguards to ensure certain owners aren't using league revenues to pad their own wallets. NY and Boston need other teams to play, right?

Yeah, MLB plays the most games. It's still doing better than ever by its own standards. And there's no point in saying "If the NFL, NBA, NHL etc. could play as many games ..." because they can't and people wouldn't show in nearly the number they currently do for those sports if they could. Baseball is a game people like to watch beautiful-day-after-beautiful-day. "Why what a lovely day, let's go catch a baseball game." You can't compare anything to it because baseball is a perpetual motion machine unlike any sport known to modern humankind.

The question isn't about moving team, but the reality that teams move pretty much eliminates the need to cater to the bottom 20% of the league. They will sort themselves out in time, either by improving where they are or by moving. It's a non-problem.

Vegas is built to punch well above its population weight. When you consider the palace the city would build to lure a MLB team, the whale boxes, the promotional and marketing opportunities, and the pure spectacle factor of the whole game experience, I suspect a Las Vegas team would be blazing a few trails.

And Minnesota and Milwaukee are nowhere near a financial disaster. While they would have to live a bit leaner if the quality of the team on the field tanks, both are examples of how new parks and good management can improve a franchise's station in life. Both are set up to have a very comfortable next decade. Some team is always struggling. Yet there are always successes to balance that out and you can't pretend they're not there. Check out the transformation the Phillies have undergone during the past decade, and the Angels. And I'm talking about the way they operate as businesses, not just the results on the field.

For the record, MLB is plenty competitive. 20 teams (that's 2/3 of all teams) have made the most exclusive playoff system in American team sports during the past five seasons. Another six teams have put together winning seasons during that run. Only four clubs - the Reds, Pirates, Royals and Orioles - have been hapless each of the past five years (and the Reds weren't terribly far away from respectable in 2006). I must be missing what the problem is. Looks to me like almost every team is in the mix. I grew up in the '70s too. The '00s were more competitive.

In fact, I'm becoming ever more convinced that playoff expansion is Selig's endgame. If he gets that, disparity complaints will melt away to a bare minimum.

M2
03-11-2010, 08:29 PM
Of course, for that system to work, you'd also have to wipe out the current rules that allow one team to control a market area and prevent other teams from operating in that market. It comes to no good if, say, someone buys a minor league team in New Jersey, builds it up and earns promotion up to the majors, only to have the Yankees, Mets, or Phillies say "No thank, you. We were here first."

Of course the Yankees and Mets would never favor any changes that would potentially result in cutting into the advantage they enjoy under the current market rules.

Agreed and agreed.

Yet wouldn't it be cool to see a half dozen NYC area teams? It could be like London is to soccer. We could watch the meteoric rise of the Brooklyn Cyclones or the rebirth of baseball in Manhattan.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 08:31 PM
Yeah, MLB plays the most games. It's still doing better than ever by its own standards. And there's no point in saying "If the NFL, NBA, NHL etc. could play as many games ..." because they can't and people wouldn't show in nearly the number they currently do for those sports if they could. Baseball is a game people like to watch beautiful-day-after-beautiful-day. "Why what a lovely day, let's go catch a baseball game." You can't compare anything to it because baseball is a perpetual motion machine unlike any sport known to modern humankind.

The question isn't about moving team, but the reality that teams move pretty much eliminates the need to cater to the bottom 20% of the league. They will sort themselves out in time, either by improving where they are or by moving. It's a non-problem.

Vegas is built to punch well above its population weight. When you consider the palace the city would build to lure a MLB team, the whale boxes, the promotional and marketing opportunities, and the pure spectacle factor of the whole game experience, I suspect a Las Vegas team would be blazing a few trails.

And Minnesota and Milwaukee are nowhere near a financial disaster. While they would have to live a bit leaner if the quality of the team on the field tanks, both are examples of how new parks and good management can improve a franchise's station in life. Both are set up to have a very comfortable next decade. Some team is always struggling. Yet there are always successes to balance that out and you can't pretend they're not there. Check out the transformation the Phillies have undergone during the past decade, and the Angels. And I'm talking about the way they operate as businesses, not just the results on the field.

For the record, MLB is plenty competitive. 20 teams (that's 2/3 of all teams) have made the most exclusive playoff system in American team sports during the past five seasons. Another six teams have put together winning seasons during that run. Only four clubs - the Reds, Pirates, Royals and Orioles - have been hapless each of the past five years (and the Reds weren't terribly far away from respectable in 2006). I must be missing what the problem is. Looks to me like almost every team is in the mix. I grew up in the '70s too. The '00s were more competitive.

But the competition in the '70s were based more on teams' abilities in the front office. I would say the '80s were the ideal. An era with free agent movement and more teams competing evenly on a financial level. I just want a system where a team's ability to build a dynasty is based on their baseball acumen rather than their ability to take advantage of artificial market conditions created by MLB's restrictive rules.

I ask you this. If you are in favor of team movement, are you also in favor of eliminating market area restrictions? I mean, if someone has the wherewithal to buy the Royals or Pirates and get together the financing to build a ballpark in Manhattan, would you prevent them?

Edit: Sorry, posted before I saw your post above. Apparently you are. To be honest, that's fine by me too. I think the only reason the Yankees and Red Sox are what they are has been their ability to keep other teams out.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 08:35 PM
Agreed and agreed.

Yet wouldn't it be cool to see a half dozen NYC area teams? It could be like London is to soccer. We could watch the meteoric rise of the Brooklyn Cyclones or the rebirth of baseball in Manhattan.

I think it might also be a boon to fans in other markets too. Say, for example, some enterprising soul bought the Altoona Curve and built the team up, they could conceivably move into PNC park to replace the Pirates when their owners drive that team down to relegation.

Will M
03-11-2010, 08:53 PM
1. i have always liked the idea of making baseball more similar to the way Europe does soccer

how about this?
the top 1/2 of MLB makes the A league
the bottom 1/2 makes the B league
a C league is made up of 16 new teams. the players for this league can be found in the AAA lifers, AAAA type players, the Mexican league & the Japanese league.

during the regular season teams mostly play within their own league but occasionally play a team from another league.

for the playoffs only the top 2 teams from the C league make it, the top 4 teams from the B league make it and the top 10 teams from the A league make it (that gives you 16 teams)

each year the worst 4 A teams drop to B and are replaced by those B teams that made the playoffs. similarly the worst 2 B teams drop to the C league and are replaced by those 2 C teams that made the playoffs.

could it happen? fat chance. but i would enjoy this style of play more than the current. it also solves the problem of the small-mid market team who has to play every year in a powerhouse division like the AL East.

2. i still like my idea of 2 teams in Japan (or one in Tokyo & one in Seoul). US sports leagues aren't very creative. why have 1/2 empty stadiums in mid sized US towns when you could sell out every game in Tokyo?

plus the globalization of the sport brings in mucho merchandising and advertisisng dollars.

3. part of the issue is that the fans don't own baseball. the team owners own MLB. what they do will be in their best interest not in the interest of the fans or the sport overall.

Unassisted
03-11-2010, 08:57 PM
It would put a torpedo into the gullet of any realignment initiative, but the best thing MLB could do for the balance of power in the game would be to put a third team in the NYC market. Let the Marlins fail and move 'em into Newark or Long Island.

M2
03-11-2010, 08:58 PM
But the competition in the '70s were based more on teams' abilities in the front office.

No, we were just younger and didn't pay attention to the front office stuff. Those teams on the field didn't get there by accident. The Reds, Dodgers, Phillies and Pirates were the best run NL franchises of the 1970s and they completely dominated the league.

And historically speaking, all dominant teams either are or become big market franchises. No team that couldn't grow to large market size (in whatever way teams grew big during that given era) ever sustained dominance.

FWIW, the '00s were a lot like the '80s in terms of the number of teams in the mix. In fact, I think the '00s probably would grade out as more competitive.


I ask you this. If you are in favor of team movement, are you also in favor of eliminating market area restrictions? I mean, if someone has the wherewithal to buy the Royals or Pirates and get together the financing to build a ballpark in Manhattan, would you prevent them?

I'm actually not all for franchise movement, but it's a fact of life in a league with a fixed membership. If a new city elbows its way in, it makes another franchise disappear. In a different system, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants would still exist. They'd simply be in a mix competing against the L.A. Angels, Hollywood Stars and San Francisco Seals. However, that's not the system we've got, nor is it a system we'll ever have. City jumping comes with the package, like it or not.

As for market restrictions, I'm against them. New York clearly could sustain another team. Greater L.A. probably could too. If there were anywhere to put it (and there probably isn't) another team in Boston would be fantastic. Seems to me that if movement is built into the fabric of the system, then no one should be able to prevent another viable franchise from invading their turf. That said, I think we have to expect MLB owners to ignore reason and act like petulant children when it comes to their own markets.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 08:59 PM
1. i have always liked the idea of making baseball more similar to the way Europe does soccer

how about this?
the top 1/2 of MLB makes the A league
the bottom 1/2 makes the B league
a C league is made up of 16 new teams. the players for this league can be found in the AAA lifers, AAAA type players, the Mexican league & the Japanese league.

during the regular season teams mostly play within their own league but occasionally play a team from another league.

for the playoffs only the top 2 teams from the C league make it, the top 4 teams from the B league make it and the top 10 teams from the A league make it (that gives you 16 teams)

each year the worst 4 A teams drop to B and are replaced by those B teams that made the playoffs. similarly the worst 2 B teams drop to the C league and are replaced by those 2 C teams that made the playoffs.

could it happen? fat chance. but i would enjoy this style of play more than the current. it also solves the problem of the small-mid market team who has to play every year in a powerhouse division like the AL East.

2. i still like my idea of 2 teams in Japan (or one in Tokyo & one in Seoul). US sports leagues aren't very creative. why have 1/2 empty stadiums in mid sized US towns when you could sell out every game in Tokyo?

plus the globalization of the sport brings in mucho merchandising and advertisisng dollars.

3. part of the issue is that the fans don't own baseball. the team owners own MLB. what they do will be in their best interest not in the interest of the fans or the sport overall.

I think the only way you're going to make international baseball work on that scale is to improve the level of play in the Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese professional leagues to that of MLB and operate them as a third major league, with the champs getting births in the playoffs. Otherwise, the time differences and travel requirements would be too daunting.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 09:15 PM
No, we were just younger and didn't pay attention to the front office stuff. Those teams on the field didn't get there by accident. The Reds, Dodgers, Phillies and Pirates were the best run NL franchises of the 1970s and they completely dominated the league.

And historically speaking, all dominant teams either are or become big market franchises. No team that couldn't grow to large market size (in whatever way teams grew big during that given era) ever sustained dominance.

FWIW, the '00s were a lot like the '80s in terms of the number of teams in the mix. In fact, I think the '00s probably would grade out as more competitive.



I'm actually not all for franchise movement, but it's a fact of life in a league with a fixed membership. If a new city elbows its way in, it makes another franchise disappear. In a different system, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants would still exist. They'd simply be in a mix competing against the L.A. Angels, Hollywood Stars and San Francisco Seals. However, that's not the system we've got, nor is it a system we'll ever have. City jumping comes with the package, like it or not.

As for market restrictions, I'm against them. New York clearly could sustain another team. Greater L.A. probably could too. If there were anywhere to put it (and there probably isn't) another team in Boston would be fantastic. Seems to me that if movement is built into the fabric of the system, then no one should be able to prevent another viable franchise from invading their turf. That said, I think we have to expect MLB owners to ignore reason and act like petulant children when it comes to their own markets.

Yes, the Reds, Dodgers, Phillies, and Pirates were well run teams. That's the point. Their advantage came not from their ability to outspend other teams, but their ability to build a farm system and identify talent, develop it, and bring it up to the big club. Of course their ability to keep those teams together was based on the last gasps of the reserve system. However, we still hadn't reached the point where the revenues of the Yankees began to greatly outstrip those of other teams. Teams who had good development systems could still afford to keep some of their top talent and replace those leaving with new guys from the farm or by signing role players on the free agent market. Now it's starting to get to the point where even teams that do run a smart organization still can't afford to keep top talent before having to let them go and enter a rebuilding phase. Plenty of small-medium market teams make the playoffs, but it seems like their window for a shot at the World Series is getting smaller and smaller.

Will M
03-11-2010, 09:32 PM
I think the only way you're going to make international baseball work on that scale is to improve the level of play in the Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese professional leagues to that of MLB and operate them as a third major league, with the champs getting births in the playoffs. Otherwise, the time differences and travel requirements would be too daunting.

this is the standard arguement.

lets say the league axed the Royals & the Pirates and moved those teams to Tokyo and Seoul. teams going to Asia would start by playing on the west coast. then when they fly to Asia they get a day off to acclimate. they then play 4 games against each of the two teams. when they fly home they get another day off. these guys are big boys. professional athletes. they could do it.

in my A-B-C league scenario you could have more than two teams in Asia making the trip longer but a bit easier as you can acclimate to the new time zone then stay that way for a while.

you could also play more day games in Asia which wouldn't be that different than a night game on the west coast

is it as easy as a trip to Pittsburgh? heck no. is it more exciting? heck yeh!

IslandRed
03-11-2010, 09:36 PM
I admit I'm not as much of a soccer fan as many of you, but it seems to me like a typical European-league setup is exactly the way to go if you don't want competitive balance. Aren't pretty much the same teams at the top every year? How often does a team ever sniff the upper echelon after being relegated in recent memory? After winning promotion, how many teams have the resources to stay and thrive? I admit the threat of relegation discourages teams from tanking it and cashing the checks, but in the big picture it's just churning the fringes.

Now, I'm working off the presumption that the multi-division setup would torpedo the current methods a weaker baseball team uses to get strong. I don't see how multiple divisions could ever work out an equitable draft. With no draft and just a remnant of a player-development system as we understand it today, given 48, 60, whatever-the-number-is so-called top-level teams, how does a lower-tier team ever assemble enough talent to crack the ceiling absent an extremely large checkbook? If the goal is to have a system where brains matter more than money, I don't see how that would be an improvement.

westofyou
03-11-2010, 09:37 PM
The Reds, Dodgers, Phillies and Pirates were the best run NL franchises of the 1970s and they completely dominated the league.
All Branch Rickey influenced farm system/scouting machines, with only the Phillies not having a direct link to the master.

Caveat Emperor
03-11-2010, 10:55 PM
I think it might also be a boon to fans in other markets too. Say, for example, some enterprising soul bought the Altoona Curve and built the team up, they could conceivably move into PNC park to replace the Pirates when their owners drive that team down to relegation.

Without access to major-league facilities and major-league media deals, the only way someone could build an "Altoona Curve" team to MLB status would be to find an extremely wealthy individual looking for a vanity project and willing to lose several hundred million dollars with a chance of never recouping losses down the road (if the team never successfully makes it into the "major" leagues).

KronoRed
03-11-2010, 10:57 PM
I admit I'm not as much of a soccer fan as many of you, but it seems to me like a typical European-league setup is exactly the way to go if you don't want competitive balance.

Without a drastic change in the way Baseball revenue is distributed, and the players and big owners will never go for it, then true competitive balance is impossible, what we have now is what we'll have for the foreseeable future, teams like the Royals, Reds, Pirates, Rays, Marlins, Brewers, and more have to hope for cheap young players to arrive, lead them to the promised land and of course then move on.

Might as well try and shift the leagues in a way that gives the little guy a better chance at the prize.

Yachtzee
03-11-2010, 10:58 PM
I admit I'm not as much of a soccer fan as many of you, but it seems to me like a typical European-league setup is exactly the way to go if you don't want competitive balance. Aren't pretty much the same teams at the top every year? How often does a team ever sniff the upper echelon after being relegated in recent memory? After winning promotion, how many teams have the resources to stay and thrive? I admit the threat of relegation discourages teams from tanking it and cashing the checks, but in the big picture it's just churning the fringes.

Now, I'm working off the presumption that the multi-division setup would torpedo the current methods a weaker baseball team uses to get strong. I don't see how multiple divisions could ever work out an equitable draft. With no draft and just a remnant of a player-development system as we understand it today, given 48, 60, whatever-the-number-is so-called top-level teams, how does a lower-tier team ever assemble enough talent to crack the ceiling absent an extremely large checkbook? If the goal is to have a system where brains matter more than money, I don't see how that would be an improvement.

Well, some European Leagues are more competitive than others. The French, Dutch and Germans tend to see a bit more fluctuation in their top teams than the English, Spanish and Italians. I suggested it more in jest than as a realistic option.

Part of the problem with international soccer, as it is, is the complete lack of financial controls on teams and the disparity with how certain leagues and teams operate. While the system of promotion and relegation is enticing to many, I don't think anyone would want to adopt the transfer system here. The system where teams can just get anyone they want based on how much they can pay the other team has lead to a lot of financial instability among teams during the global recession. Portsmouth in the EPL has been in dire straits all season and there is concern that a number of other EPL teams are in bad shape, mainly from spending too much money to either keep up with the Big 4 or keep from being relegated. It doesn't help when you have Russian oligarchs and Spanish teams with favorable tax treatment and government banks willing to dole out sweet loans to buy up the biggest names on the market.

International soccer represents both the best and worst of the free market. Teams play at the level at which they can win, but their salaries are limited only by how much they can spend. The stakes get so high that some leagues are plagued by graft and corruption, where top teams can be caught bribing officials or lesser teams to throw games their way in order to secure a spot that qualifies them for Champions League play.

IslandRed
03-11-2010, 11:28 PM
Part of the problem with international soccer, as it is, is the complete lack of financial controls on teams and the disparity with how certain leagues and teams operate.

Yeah, it just seems like it would be a near-impossible task to impose any sort of meaningful cost control while also sticking to a relegation system. They'd be asking clubs already in the top division to accept the threat of relegation while not allowing them to use their financial advantages to avoid it. Good luck with that, and I don't see how baseball would be any different. But yes, I know you guys weren't putting that out there in a serious manner.

M2
03-11-2010, 11:45 PM
I admit I'm not as much of a soccer fan as many of you, but it seems to me like a typical European-league setup is exactly the way to go if you don't want competitive balance. Aren't pretty much the same teams at the top every year? How often does a team ever sniff the upper echelon after being relegated in recent memory? After winning promotion, how many teams have the resources to stay and thrive? I admit the threat of relegation discourages teams from tanking it and cashing the checks, but in the big picture it's just churning the fringes.

Now, I'm working off the presumption that the multi-division setup would torpedo the current methods a weaker baseball team uses to get strong. I don't see how multiple divisions could ever work out an equitable draft. With no draft and just a remnant of a player-development system as we understand it today, given 48, 60, whatever-the-number-is so-called top-level teams, how does a lower-tier team ever assemble enough talent to crack the ceiling absent an extremely large checkbook? If the goal is to have a system where brains matter more than money, I don't see how that would be an improvement.

Like everything else, Euro leagues go through phases. If you just look at a 5- or 10-year slice you can get the impression that there's never any change at the top. Yet if you look back a little farther you'll see it's different clubs going on runs. Someone looking at the NFL or NBA from the outside would get the same impression. Italy is probably the least dynamic league at the top (with Inter, Juve and AC Milan almost always at the front of the pack decade after decade). Germany probably has the most turnover.

The Euro system has its plusses. More teams play at the top level, 43 have been in the EPL during the past 19 seasons. That's kind of cool. Someone new is always coming up to the top tier to prove themselves. That's kind of cool. The bottom of the league is as important as the top of the league. That's also kind of cool. Teams don't pick up the stakes and move to new cities very often. That's very cool.

It is, however, a bit easier for elite teams to remain at the top. If you've got money and you can spot talent, you will do well. Yet Moneyball has come to Euro football. The book "Soccernomics" is a great read on that subject. One of the upstart clubs, Lyon, just ousted Real Madrid from the Champions League. I expect you're going to see many more upstarts doing well in the near future.

You are correct that a pro-rel system would alter how teams get built. The draft would be history. Major league teams would be buying players for the majors and maybe operating a B team in a lower league. That actually would put many more players in flux. A guy like Joey Votto would be starting out with a rookie team that would sell his rights to a club like Dayton, which might ride him up to AA and then sell him to the Reds. Point is, young talent could still be had, major league clubs would just be getting it later in the development cycle (really at the end of the development cycle). With a limited number of jobs to hand out, the Yankees and Red Sox wouldn't be able to hoard as much talent.

Mind you, it would never happen in a million years.

As for building a system which levels the playing field, I don't really care for that, largely because it involves making the interesting teams less capable so that the boring franchises can keep up. I'd prefer a system which just purges the sad-sack operations and replaces them with new blood. Neither will happen. A small playoff expansion will placate the parity-minded and business will continue as usual outside of that.

Topcat
03-12-2010, 03:39 AM
Like everything else, Euro leagues go through phases. If you just look at a 5- or 10-year slice you can get the impression that there's never any change at the top. Yet if you look back a little farther you'll see it's different clubs going on runs. Someone looking at the NFL or NBA from the outside would get the same impression. Italy is probably the least dynamic league at the top (with Inter, Juve and AC Milan almost always at the front of the pack decade after decade). Germany probably has the most turnover.

The Euro system has its plusses. More teams play at the top level, 43 have been in the EPL during the past 19 seasons. That's kind of cool. Someone new is always coming up to the top tier to prove themselves. That's kind of cool. The bottom of the league is as important as the top of the league. That's also kind of cool. Teams don't pick up the stakes and move to new cities very often. That's very cool.

It is, however, a bit easier for elite teams to remain at the top. If you've got money and you can spot talent, you will do well. Yet Moneyball has come to Euro football. The book "Soccernomics" is a great read on that subject. One of the upstart clubs, Lyon, just ousted Real Madrid from the Champions League. I expect you're going to see many more upstarts doing well in the near future.

You are correct that a pro-rel system would alter how teams get built. The draft would be history. Major league teams would be buying players for the majors and maybe operating a B team in a lower league. That actually would put many more players in flux. A guy like Joey Votto would be starting out with a rookie team that would sell his rights to a club like Dayton, which might ride him up to AA and then sell him to the Reds. Point is, young talent could still be had, major league clubs would just be getting it later in the development cycle (really at the end of the development cycle). With a limited number of jobs to hand out, the Yankees and Red Sox wouldn't be able to hoard as much talent.

Mind you, it would never happen in a million years.

As for building a system which levels the playing field, I don't really care for that, largely because it involves making the interesting teams less capable so that the boring franchises can keep up. I'd prefer a system which just purges the sad-sack operations and replaces them with new blood. Neither will happen. A small playoff expansion will placate the parity-minded and business will continue as usual outside of that.


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