PDA

View Full Version : MLB and players in realignment talks



paintmered
06-11-2011, 03:21 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6651634



Sources: MLB, players talk realignment

Buster Olney
ESPN The Magazine

A simple form of realignment being seriously considered has been raised in the labor talks between Major League Baseball and the players' association, according to four sources: two leagues of 15 teams, rather than the current structure of 16 teams in the National League and 14 in the American League.


The pros:
- It gets rid of the ridiculous situation of having six teams in the NL Central but only four in the Al West
- Balanced scheduling, records would be a true reflection on how good a team is, not their level of competition
- The Torontos and Baltimores of the world would have a legitimate chance to complete for a playoff spot
- Allows for proper seeding for the playoffs (and no more "can't play an intra-division team in the first round" nonsense)

The cons:
- Additional travel demands (playing against fewer Central teams means more trips to the West Coast)
- Doesn't promote rivalries
- Scheduling becomes more difficult

All in all, I think this would be a net plus for MLB. It's simple and doesn't resort to gimmicks like other schemes out there. That's a good thing.

I wonder which NL team would make the move to the AL? Milwaukee?

Unassisted
06-11-2011, 03:32 PM
So there would be interleague play every day of the season. :p


I wonder which NL team would make the move to the AL? Milwaukee?

The article says Houston is the most likely candidate to switch, to create an in-state rivalry with the Rangers.

And those of us who live in Texas would get to see the Reds in our state even less than we do now... depending on how the interleague play would shake out.

paintmered
06-11-2011, 03:45 PM
For balanced scheduling, here's how I would do it:

Assume 54 3-game series in a season (54*3=162). Play each team inside the respective league three series, (42 series total). Play the remaining 12 series vs. interleague teams and have run them continuously (should have three interleague matchups most of the time, a single matchup the remainder of the time).

MikeThierry
06-11-2011, 03:50 PM
I am all for realignment. Beside scheduling issues, the issue of 14 teams in the AL vs. 16 teams in the NL has been one of the key reasons why the AL seems to dominate the All Star game and Interleague play. I just hope they don't get rid of traditional rivalries like Cubs/Cards, Giants/Dodgers, etc.

RedsManRick
06-11-2011, 03:56 PM
Houston moving to the AL West would certainly be the easiest "fix".

I'm all for it.

Joseph
06-11-2011, 04:09 PM
I am all for realignment. Beside scheduling issues, the issue of 14 teams in the AL vs. 16 teams in the NL has been one of the key reasons why the AL seems to dominate the All Star game and Interleague play. I just hope they don't get rid of traditional rivalries like Cubs/Cards, Giants/Dodgers, etc.

I'd bet it wouldn't be a full fledged realignment, just the movement of one team to the AL West. So traditional rivalries wouldn't go away.

lollipopcurve
06-11-2011, 04:11 PM
Long overdue.

KronoRed
06-11-2011, 04:25 PM
These are logical moves.

Not a chance in hell they happen.

Brutus
06-11-2011, 04:37 PM
I kind of like this idea. Regardless of how they do it, making it 15-15 is the smart choice. But while this no-division idea is radical, I think it would be kind of neat. As paintmered mentioned, it would definitely make the playoff seedings more logical.

757690
06-11-2011, 04:38 PM
I'm a traditionalist, and even I like this idea.

I hate the situation now, it really is a big, fat, ugly mess, and very unfair to some teams, so I'm all for anything that corrects what we have now.

Brutus
06-11-2011, 04:45 PM
If they really wanted to make it simple, and I realize there's no way they do this but it's worth mentioning anyhow... go to 174 games and just play each team in the majors home & away for a total of six games each.

Talk about a balanced schedule lol

MrCinatit
06-11-2011, 05:14 PM
Part of me wishes it were a west coast team, so the yearly "nightmare trips" would be reduced - but the Dodgers and Giants will never be moved to the AL, and for some reason, I get the feel San Diego would never move, either.
Another part of me thinks it would be hilarious of the Cubs were moved to the AL East with NY, Boston, Tampa Bay and Toronto, as all four of those teams presently would probably enjoy feasting on some baby bear.

remdog
06-11-2011, 05:29 PM
Dump interleague play, boot Bud and the Brewers back to the AL, work from there.

Rem

oneupper
06-11-2011, 05:50 PM
Dump the DH. Do whatever else you want.

RBA
06-11-2011, 05:54 PM
The should move ST Louis Cardinals to the American league so they can have a rival with KC Royals. Same time zone too.

BCubb2003
06-11-2011, 06:01 PM
Interleague play every day would take some getting used to. Otherwise I'm for it. And it might actually happen. But I have a question:

I read an article that made the point that when you're in the four-team division, you have a 25 percent chance of winning the division while odds are greater in the other divisions. Is that realistic though? Win 90 games and aren't you basically a contender no matter how many teams in your division? Maybe a bigger division just means more at the bottom. Any stats to bear this out?

Chip R
06-11-2011, 07:58 PM
More interleague play? As if the Reds don't get screwed enough as it is now.

BCubb2003
06-11-2011, 08:27 PM
More interleague play? As if the Reds don't get screwed enough as it is now.

If only you could schedule your own out-of-conference opponents.

Tony Cloninger
06-11-2011, 08:46 PM
I do not see this years IL schedule as that bad. CLE was not that good and guess what....they are really not that good any more are they? BAL? You are worried about them? TOR is OK but should you really be afraid of them?

If you are a good team you should be able to hold your own against the yankees and Tampa Bay...while the other 3 teams are not better than the Reds.

kaldaniels
06-11-2011, 08:58 PM
Interleague play every day would take some getting used to. Otherwise I'm for it. And it might actually happen. But I have a question:

I read an article that made the point that when you're in the four-team division, you have a 25 percent chance of winning the division while odds are greater in the other divisions. Is that realistic though? Win 90 games and aren't you basically a contender no matter how many teams in your division? Maybe a bigger division just means more at the bottom. Any stats to bear this out?

Simple statisics at play here. The more teams fighting for a division title, the less chance 90 wins will win the crown. Wildcard aside, having 6 teams in a division does make it harder to win the division card. The Reds (and all Central teams) have the deck stacked against them before the season begins.

hebroncougar
06-11-2011, 09:49 PM
I do not see this years IL schedule as that bad. CLE was not that good and guess what....they are really not that good any more are they? BAL? You are worried about them? TOR is OK but should you really be afraid of them?

If you are a good team you should be able to hold your own against the yankees and Tampa Bay...while the other 3 teams are not better than the Reds.

The problem isn't in who you play, it's who STL gets to play.

757690
06-11-2011, 10:02 PM
The problem isn't in who you play, it's who STL gets to play.

The Cardinals have had a 2-3 game minimum advantage over nearly every other team by getting to play the Royals 6 times every year since Interleague play has started. it's one of the main reasons why I have hated it since it began. It is very unfair the way it is structured.

Structured to make the most money, not to produce the best baseball. Pure Selig.

MikeThierry
06-11-2011, 10:10 PM
The should move ST Louis Cardinals to the American league so they can have a rival with KC Royals. Same time zone too.

I'm sorry, that is beyond a stupid idea. Next topic.

traderumor
06-11-2011, 10:20 PM
I'm sorry, that is beyond a stupid idea. Next topic.
I really like it. There, or the International League.

RBA
06-11-2011, 10:57 PM
oh well, darn it.

MikeThierry
06-11-2011, 11:00 PM
I really like it. There, or the International League.

There is a better chance at the Cubs winning a World Series than the Cardinals moving to the AL. Do you really think that the commissioner will allow the team with one of the richest histories in the National League to move to the AL? You all might hate the Cardinals but you cannot deny they they are one of the Gold Standard organizations of the NL.

I also appologize for my response originally. I have been very sick lately and have been in the hospital so I have been on edge a bit. I want to appologize to RBA for my strongly worded response.

Tony Cloninger
06-11-2011, 11:07 PM
The Cardinals have had a 2-3 game minimum advantage over nearly every other team by getting to play the Royals 6 times every year since Interleague play has started. it's one of the main reasons why I have hated it since it began. It is very unfair the way it is structured.

Structured to make the most money, not to produce the best baseball. Pure Selig.

Maybe they should go by what position you finished the previous year. You finish 1st....you face the other teams in the AL that finished 1st. Home/Away.
So on so forth.
I realize you have 2 extra teams in the NL. But at least it's a start to doing something different until the figure this out.

Despite all the hand wringing of the schedule....I still like having to play your divisional games in the amount that they do. Maybe less IL games is the answer.

RBA
06-11-2011, 11:29 PM
I also appologize for my response originally. I have been very sick lately and have been in the hospital so I have been on edge a bit. I want to appologize to RBA for my strongly worded response.

Thanks for the apology. I really wasn't all that serious.

remdog
06-11-2011, 11:31 PM
N/M

MikeThierry
06-11-2011, 11:44 PM
Maybe they should go by what position you finished the previous year. You finish 1st....you face the other teams in the AL that finished 1st. Home/Away.

That's not a bad idea. Under that structure, it would give teams that struggled a year before a chance to be competitive as well.

757690
06-12-2011, 12:19 AM
There is a better chance at the Cubs winning a World Series than the Cardinals moving to the AL. Do you really think that the commissioner will allow the team with one of the richest histories in the National League to move to the AL? You all might hate the Cardinals but you cannot deny they they are one of the Gold Standard organizations of the NL.

I also appologize for my response originally. I have been very sick lately and have been in the hospital so I have been on edge a bit. I want to appologize to RBA for my strongly worded response.

Hospitals suck. Sorry to hear. Get better soon. :thumbup:

BCubb2003
06-12-2011, 09:31 AM
Simple statisics at play here. The more teams fighting for a division title, the less chance 90 wins will win the crown. Wildcard aside, having 6 teams in a division does make it harder to win the division card. The Reds (and all Central teams) have the deck stacked against them before the season begins.

And yet the six-team NL Central doesn't seem to have more 90-game winners than the four-team AL West: Sometimes two, mostly one, a few times zero. My hunch, and that's all it is, is that the markets and the particularities of the season have more to do with it than the size of the division.

Hap
06-12-2011, 10:40 AM
Dump the DH.

The players union will never allow that to happen. If anything, the DH will be adopted in the NL, which is 50 years overdue, in my humble opinion.

_Sir_Charles_
06-12-2011, 12:51 PM
I'm not sure I follow completely. Are they talking about merging everything into 2 even leagues and that's it like pre 1968? Or keeping the 3 divisions in each league?

Personally, I'd prefer it if they balanced the 2 leagues, went with no divisions and then took the top 4 clubs from each league for the playoffs.

Team 1 plays team 4 at 1's home (3 game set)
Team 2 plays team 3 at 2's home (3 game set)

Winner with better record during regular season gets homefield advantage for pennant series (7 game set)

World series would be 7 game set of course. Homefield based on teams overall record.

For me, this would be the best system. It would make it easy to balance the schedule (I'd eliminate interleague play too) and it would switch the emphasis on winning the division to simply winning as many games as possible (weak divisions be damned). Maybe I'm just still bitter from the 1981 season when the Reds had the best overall record in the national league and didn't even get IN the playoffs due to that first half/second half garbage.

traderumor
06-12-2011, 01:41 PM
There is a better chance at the Cubs winning a World Series than the Cardinals moving to the AL. Do you really think that the commissioner will allow the team with one of the richest histories in the National League to move to the AL? You all might hate the Cardinals but you cannot deny they they are one of the Gold Standard organizations of the NL.

I also appologize for my response originally. I have been very sick lately and have been in the hospital so I have been on edge a bit. I want to appologize to RBA for my strongly worded response.
Honestly, I don't hate the St. Louis Cardinals franchise in the way I do have a deep seated hate for say, the Michigan Wolverines. I do not respect the current cast of characters that are the face of the organization, and I think the "baseball city" idea of St. Louis is overdone. The arrogance of the organization and its fans is why I poke fun at the Cards on this board.

757690
06-12-2011, 02:57 PM
Honestly, I don't hate the St. Louis Cardinals franchise in the way I do have a deep seated hate for say, the Michigan Wolverines. I do not respect the current cast of characters that are the face of the organization, and I think the "baseball city" idea of St. Louis is overdone. The arrogance of the organization and its fans is why I poke fun at the Cards on this board.

I think playing a video before every home game that declares Cardinal fans as the greatest fans in all of baseball definitely makes it easy to poke fun at them. I can't imagine an earlier regime doing something like that.

MikeThierry
06-12-2011, 06:13 PM
I think playing a video before every home game that declares Cardinal fans as the greatest fans in all of baseball definitely makes it easy to poke fun at them. I can't imagine an earlier regime doing something like that.

Honestly though, when ESPN constantly calls us the best fans in the game, we can't help but have a huge ego, lol.

kaldaniels
06-12-2011, 06:38 PM
And yet the six-team NL Central doesn't seem to have more 90-game winners than the four-team AL West: Sometimes two, mostly one, a few times zero. My hunch, and that's all it is, is that the markets and the particularities of the season have more to do with it than the size of the division.

I'm not smart enough to explain it in an easy way to understand it, but trust me....the Reds are at a disadvantage. Maybe someone else can help explain it...please?

RBA
06-12-2011, 08:38 PM
I was watching the Brewers broadcast today and they were pointing out St Louis traditionally gets a cake inter-league schedule and it is unfair to the rest of the teams.

MikeThierry
06-12-2011, 11:06 PM
I was watching the Brewers broadcast today and they were pointing out St Louis traditionally gets a cake inter-league schedule and it is unfair to the rest of the teams.

This year it is absolutely glaring. I'm not complaining because its an advantage to my team but it is almost so glaring this year that I wouldn't blame the Reds management talking to the league office in the off season about it.

Slyder
06-12-2011, 11:30 PM
If there is no divisions then this is just a poorly veiled attempt by baseball to guarantee more Yanks/Sox in the playoffs and less everyone else. With that said I agree with balancing the leagues and playing inter-league throughout the season. But I think it be better if you kept the divisions and just went 3x5 in each league.

Caveat Emperor
06-13-2011, 12:30 AM
If there is no divisions then this is just a poorly veiled attempt by baseball to guarantee more Yanks/Sox in the playoffs and less everyone else. With that said I agree with balancing the leagues and playing inter-league throughout the season. But I think it be better if you kept the divisions and just went 3x5 in each league.

I don't see that at all -- if anything, it's a move that benefits teams OTHER than the Yankees and the Red Sox because it allows other teams to compete for the post-season without worrying that one of those two teams will suck up the Wild Card every season.

I like the idea of getting rid of divisions (in all sports, really -- especially the NFL), and I like the idea of saying "Top X number of teams make the post season." It's never made sense to me that a mediocre team should make the postseason just because they happen to be the best of what's around in some crap division.

Personally, I'd love to figure out some way to bring an even number of teams to each league (either via contraction or expansion) and eliminate interleague play entirely.

KronoRed
06-13-2011, 01:19 AM
I'd almost lean more toward abolishing the National and American league names (since that's all they really are) and going 1-30, take the top 8 teams to the playoffs.

No other sports league treats playing the other half of the league as some special adventure, it's not, especially with such a long season.

cumberlandreds
06-13-2011, 08:23 AM
The players union will never allow that to happen. If anything, the DH will be adopted in the NL, which is 50 years overdue, in my humble opinion.

Listening to the radio while out doing some errands yesterday I heard one idea to get rid of the DH would be to expand the roster to 26 players. That would placate the Union in the loss of jobs. But I doubt the owners would go for this idea. It would mean added salary.
Washington should go to the AL. They did have a franchise in the AL for about 70 years.
The best thing would be to eliminate 2 teams and and go with two seven team divisons in each league. But I know this ain't happening either.

Caveat Emperor
06-13-2011, 08:36 AM
Listening to the radio while out doing some errands yesterday I heard one idea to get rid of the DH would be to expand the roster to 26 players. That would placate the Union in the loss of jobs. But I doubt the owners would go for this idea. It would mean added salary.
Washington should go to the AL. They did have a franchise in the AL for about 70 years.
The best thing would be to eliminate 2 teams and and go with two seven team divisons in each league. But I know this ain't happening either.

I imagine the players association would still not be happy about swappnig 14 starting-salary positions for veteran ballplayers for 30 back-bench, likely rookies, making league minimum.

Chip R
06-13-2011, 09:12 AM
If there's going to be an interleague game every day, that means the last series of the season, an AL team is going to play a NL team. It'd be nice if it were like the Royals and Pirates but what if it's the Yankees and Phillies and both teams have a chance at the playoffs?

westofyou
06-13-2011, 09:35 AM
The players union will never allow that to happen. If anything, the DH will be adopted in the NL, which is 50 years overdue, in my humble opinion.

Nope, it will never happen. No league so firmly entrenched against a rule like the NL is against the DH will except it.

Thank god.

Kc61
06-13-2011, 09:44 AM
If there's going to be an interleague game every day, that means the last series of the season, an AL team is going to play a NL team. It'd be nice if it were like the Royals and Pirates but what if it's the Yankees and Phillies and both teams have a chance at the playoffs?

So what? Could be exciting.

It would be particularly exciting if the Yanks and Phils each needed a win to make the playoffs, yet had to face each other.

There's nothing wrong with one interleague game every day during the stretch drive.

oneupper
06-13-2011, 10:27 AM
I imagine the players association would still not be happy about swappnig 14 starting-salary positions for veteran ballplayers for 30 back-bench, likely rookies, making league minimum.

I'm not sure I understand all the "Player's Associations woud veto s the DH elimination" arguments.

Do they actually have such veto power? (I don't know, I'm assuming they do since this always comes up).

Regardless, though, a change in the roster makeup (fewer vet big bats, more middle relievers/utility guys), doesn't necessarily lower overall payrolls. The money that is available is the money that will be available (to pay players). It will just be allocated differently. Guys like David Ortiz won't make it, but guys like Miguel Cairo will be more in demand (and likely to make more).
Players who can field a position AND hit will command even higher paydays.

So if this is the Players associations' reason for keeping the DH (and I've never seen an official position on the issue), I think a counter argument could be made.

I think the DH is more a big market AL team owner issue. The BoSox and Yanks understand that the DH is an easy way to upgrade a team with money only.

Slyder
06-13-2011, 11:11 AM
I'm not sure I understand all the "Player's Associations woud veto s the DH elimination" arguments.

Do they actually have such veto power? (I don't know, I'm assuming they do since this always comes up).

Regardless, though, a change in the roster makeup (fewer vet big bats, more middle relievers/utility guys), doesn't necessarily lower overall payrolls. The money that is available is the money that will be available (to pay players). It will just be allocated differently. Guys like David Ortiz won't make it, but guys like Miguel Cairo will be more in demand (and likely to make more).
Players who can field a position AND hit will command even higher paydays.

So if this is the Players associations' reason for keeping the DH (and I've never seen an official position on the issue), I think a counter argument could be made.

I think the DH is more a big market AL team owner issue. The BoSox and Yanks understand that the DH is an easy way to upgrade a team with money only.

They would have to collectively bargain an end to DH. DH has extended the career of too many people, made the union too much money, and is too vital of a piece for AL roster construction (Adam Dunn, David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez, etc. They would NEVER allow the end of it for an extra player making under a million.

oneupper
06-13-2011, 11:38 AM
They would have to collectively bargain an end to DH. DH has extended the career of too many people, made the union too much money, and is too vital of a piece for AL roster construction (Adam Dunn, David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez, etc. They would NEVER allow the end of it for an extra player making under a million.


Here's a crazy idea (not really). Transfer all the AL teams to the NL.
Realign as desired into divisions, conferences or whatever.

The AL can keep the DH. :D

Chip R
06-13-2011, 12:10 PM
There's nothing wrong with one interleague game every day during the stretch drive.

Until the Reds are the one playing an interleague game.

Unassisted
06-13-2011, 12:15 PM
Source in ESPN article (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6651634) says that the Marlins are another strong candidate to switch to the AL.

Jim Bowden blog article (http://espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/post/_/id/363/mlb-needs-geographic-realignment) there has a more radical swap in mind, that would move the Reds and Pirates to a more Eastern AL Central, move the rest of the NL Central into an AL Midwest division with the ChiSox and KC, and put all of the California teams into a division of their own.

Doesn't seem like Bowden has much affection for the NL Central. :D

IslandRed
06-13-2011, 12:32 PM
Jim Bowden blog article (http://espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/post/_/id/363/mlb-needs-geographic-realignment) there has a more radical swap in mind, that would move the Reds and Pirates to a more Eastern AL Central, move the rest of the NL Central into an AL Midwest division with the ChiSox and KC, and put all of the California teams into a division of their own.

Doesn't seem like Bowden has much affection for the NL Central. :D

Unless they go to a truly balanced MLB-wide schedule that makes the league a team is in largely irrelevant for the sake of regular-season scheduling, nothing of that sort will happen. MLB doesn't mind a bit if the Cubs and White Sox play now and then, but they don't want both of them in the same league if that means the other league rarely sets foot in Chicago during the regular season. Same logic with the multiple teams in New York, Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Baltimore-D.C., or with putting all the teams in the Pacific time zone in the same league.

Slyder
06-13-2011, 12:41 PM
Source in ESPN article (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6651634) says that the Marlins are another strong candidate to switch to the AL.

Jim Bowden blog article (http://espn.go.com/blog/the-gms-office/post/_/id/363/mlb-needs-geographic-realignment) there has a more radical swap in mind, that would move the Reds and Pirates to a more Eastern AL Central, move the rest of the NL Central into an AL Midwest division with the ChiSox and KC, and put all of the California teams into a division of their own.

Doesn't seem like Bowden has much affection for the NL Central. :D

I hate this idea. We lose the two teams we all hate the most sCrubs and the LaRussas.

traderumor
06-13-2011, 12:51 PM
Here's a crazy idea (not really). Transfer all the AL teams to the NL.
Realign as desired into divisions, conferences or whatever.

The AL can keep the DH. :DNot bad, except let's adopt the DH. I would much rather see a hitter hit than watch a pitcher bunt.

cumberlandreds
06-13-2011, 01:15 PM
Not bad, except let's adopt the DH. I would much rather see a hitter hit than watch a pitcher bunt.


Or run the bases.......:)

Dan
06-13-2011, 01:28 PM
If there's going to be an interleague game every day, that means the last series of the season, an AL team is going to play a NL team. It'd be nice if it were like the Royals and Pirates but what if it's the Yankees and Phillies and both teams have a chance at the playoffs?

Have the teams with the worst records in their respective leagues the previous season playing each other. Yes, you might have a worst-to-first season, but that almost never happens.

Another option would be a "position round" in which first plays second in each division, 3rd plays 4th, and the 5th place teams all fight amongst themselves.

BCubb2003
06-13-2011, 02:58 PM
I'd almost lean more toward abolishing the National and American league names (since that's all they really are) and going 1-30, take the top 8 teams to the playoffs.

No other sports league treats playing the other half of the league as some special adventure, it's not, especially with such a long season.

I understand this and yet, if you play 162 games against a wide cross-section of the majors and have the eighth-best record, why should you be in the playoffs? It's not like you haven't played Butler yet and aren't sure who's the best.

Chip R
06-15-2011, 10:55 AM
Dougherty believes if there is just one division in each league, the Reds' odds on making the playoffs decrease tremendously.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110614/COL03/306140126

Roy Tucker
06-15-2011, 12:11 PM
I think every time they do something like this, they tear up the rivalries that take a long time to develop (like, the 70's Reds-Dodgers). These things don't just develop overnight. I'd hate to see this nice and nasty Reds-Cards blood hatred go to waste.

Seems that going to a 15-15 no-divisions set-up would cause a lot more problems than it would cure.

Plus, I figure all this is just a ploy to add one more wild-card team per league to the playoffs. Why not just do that and leave everything else alone?

kaldaniels
06-15-2011, 12:11 PM
Dougherty believes if there is just one division in each league, the Reds' odds on making the playoffs decrease tremendously.

http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20110614/COL03/306140126

Standardize ballpark dimensions?

All sympathy for his cause was lost on that one.

JaxRed
06-15-2011, 12:45 PM
Man, that was a stupid article.

corkedbat
06-15-2011, 03:30 PM
Logisticly, it would be ideal toto add two more teams and have four, four-team division in two sixteen-team leagues.

Realistically though, talent (especially pitching) is already watered down and I'm not sure there are two more markets out there capable of supporting a major league franchise (Portland, Las Vegas, Carolina, Memphis, a 3rd NYC franchise?).

FlightRick
06-15-2011, 11:31 PM
I'm probably not alone in thinking contraction of 2 teams would be better for the on-field product than expansion by 2 teams, and also knowing that there's no way in hell contraction will ever happen. Oh well...

If pondering expansion, I'm reminded of an excellent post I read some months ago, which identified possible markets: http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2266504#post2266504 .

Now that realignment is being seriously discussed, I'm no longer as attached to the idea of contraction/expansion to make things even/more-manageable as I am deeply upset that a "single division" format would be seriously considered. That would marginalize traditional rivalries and further concentrate play-off series featuring big-market/big-spending teams who could easily dominate the wild card picture on a regular basis.

I'm actually a fan of a two leagues, two divisions per league format. Two division winners, two "high" wild cards, two "low" wild cards (wild cards are just the 4 next-best records, regardless of division). HWC hosts LWC for a best-of-3 series. Winners advance to the LDS, which is a 5-game series with home field to the division winners. LCS is 7-games, just like now. Divisions are even with either 28 or 32, but honestly: there's no reason you couldn't do it with 30, and have the eastern divisions with 8 teams and the western with 7.

I think two divisions avoids the "crappy division getting token playoff spot" problem that can exist with 4 (or 3) divisions, but maintains rivalries and history in a significant (and necessary) way.

My other big preference when it comes to realignment: I'd really like to see them keep and celebrate the differences between the NL and AL, rather than trying to turn things into one uniform MLB. Including letting one (and only one) keep the DH. In a related issue: less Interleague Play to help revive that AL/NL distinction. Depending on which league format is adopted, you could drop down to 12 (maybe even to 9) interleague games per team, even if there must be an interleague series taking place at all times. Interleauge opponents should be determined by the previous seasons standings (NL East #1 plays AL East #1 and AL West #1, and so on) along with requisite games against your geographic rival.

There has also been some talk in this thread about what it would take to get the players' union to agree to drop the DH... as a result of my fetish for contraction, I've been toying around with ideas for how to placate the union. This idea was concocted more to offset the loss of 50 MLB roster spots, but could be downsized or tweak to apply to the loss of the DH...

Basically: create a 3-player "reserve roster" who travel with the team and have all the perks/benefits of a 25-man roster player, but are not automatically a part of the 25-man roster. Rather, they can be activated at the discretion of the team (while a corresponding player is deactivated and placed on the reserve roster) for a given game. It's like having a 28-man roster, but the team has to declare which 25 are active for each game. I'd imagine for position players, it'd be OK to make moves effective for only 1 game at a time, though for pitchers, you might have to make moves that are effective for a week (so as to avoid abuse of the system by "stashing" starting pitchers so you can carry 16 bats).

You wouldn't waste a reserve roster spot on a developing player (who needs to play regularly at AAA more than he needs to be riding pine on the big league squad), so the union would see this as a way for solid proven veterans to eek out another year or two as the "solid hand" that a team might not want to see out there every day, but would love to have in their back pocket. As a fan, I think it might be fun, too, as this gives a manager more options to create favorable match-ups (or re-jigger a tired bullpen, or what have you). For the organization, it creates a bit more flexibility, too, since you wouldn't have to be shuffling as many guys between the minors and majors (although I would imagine you'd treat any move between the reserve roster and the minors the same as any 25-man/minors transaction)... it would probably be a good idea to make a corresponding move to the 40-man rosters (expanding them to 44 or something like that).

Intriguing concept, or nutjob theory? You make the call....


Rick