Posted by: The Man Behind the Microphone | June 14, 2011

Realignment Should Happen in Major League Baseball

 Hello Friends,

I want to start blogging about everything that is going on in sports and I thought I would start with the possibility of realignment in Major League Baseball.

Can you name any other professional sports leagues that have uneven teams in each conference/league, uneven teams in certain divisions, and a different set of rules for each league/conference? (DH Rule). It is amazing that Major League Baseball has gone almost 14 years with 14 teams in the American League and 16 teams in the National League. Teams in the NL Central have a 1 in 6 chance of winning their division while teams in the AL West division have a 1 in 4 shot at winning their division. Teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates already have a tough time winning games, the last thing they need is worse odds than every other team to win the division.

Rumor has it that with the realignment there would be 15 teams in each league with no divisions and the top 5 teams would make the playoffs. The 4th and 5th seed in each league would play one game against each other to earn the “new” 4 seed and play the 1 seed in the Division Series. So lets take today’s standings and see what the playoffs would look like if the season ended today under the new realignment.

American League Playoffs:

1. Boston Red Sox

2. New York Yankees

3. Cleveland Indians

4. Detroit Tigers

5. Texas Rangers

Detroit would play Texas in a one-game playoff and the winner would take on Boston in a best of 5 series.

New York would play Cleveland in the other best of 5 series.

National League Playoffs:

1. Philadelphia Phillies

2. Milwaukee Brewers

3. St. Louis Cardinals

4. Atlanta Braves

5. San Francisco Giants

*MIL/STL/ATL all have the same record as of 6/15/11.

San Francisco would play Atlanta in a one-game playoff and the winner would play Philly.

Milwaukee and St.Louis would play in the other best of 5 series.

This means in the National League you could have TWO potential “former” division rivals play each other in the first round of the playoffs. How great would that be!

With the realignment one team from the National League would have to move to the American League. I think either Houston or Arizona would be a good fit to the American League. You can renew the rivalry of Houston and Texas if Houston moves or create a rivalry with Arizona and Tampa Bay (two teams that entered MLB at the same time) if Arizona moves to the AL.

Here is what I would do with a realignment.

I would have 15 teams in each league (move Houston over to the American League) and have the top 6 teams from each league make the playoffs. It would be just like the NFL Playoff system. Seeds 3-6 would play each other in a best of 3 series and the top two teams would get a bye. Just like in the NFL the lowest seeded team would face the 1 seed and the highest seeded team remaining would play the 2 seed. Then you would continue on with the playoffs like they have been since the Wild Card was introduced. If you start games in mid to late March than the playoffs would end before November hits.

Scheduling is a huge issue right now with Major League Baseball. I don’t like the fact that there is no equality in the schedule for teams in your own division. For example: Atlanta’s Interleague games include: L.A. Angels, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, and Baltimore Orioles. Philadelphia’s Interleague schedule includes: Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Oakland A’s, Boston Red Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays. They have 3 out of the 5 teams in common but don’t play the same teams. Also they are playing teams in two separate divisions.

In my new realignment schedule each team in the National League would play each team in the American League in one 3 game series per year. You would switch off location each year you play that team. That would be 45 games out of the schedule. Then each team would play every other team in their league twice (two 3 game series) at each team’s venue. That would mean each team would play the other 14 teams in their league 6 times creating 84 games. So far we have 129 games scheduled for each team. Here comes the tricky part having 33 games left if you stick with a 162 game schedule. You can either stay at 129 which wouldn’t keep the playoffs into November or you can you can use the other 33 games to create new rivalries with teams. I am going to use the Atlanta Braves for an example (since they are my hometown team). They can use those 33 games to play 11, 3 game series against the Yankees, Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Nationals, Red Sox, Giants, Twins, Reds, Cubs, and Toronto. You can play your former rivals in your division, teams like the Yanks, Twins, and Blue Jays that you have played in the World Series, and other teams like Giants, Cubs, and Reds that you have played in the playoffs before. You can always switch them each year based on storylines that have happened in previous years and there would be a little more equity in baseball than in the past.

The last thing that would make this work is if the AL would lose the DH or the NL would gain it. It is pretty ridiculous that one league has the DH and the other league doesn’t. I always like the pitcher hitting because it involves more players and strategy in the game for example: sacrifice bunts, pinch runners, pinch hitters, and double switches. On the other hand the DH lets us continue to watch players that can’t necessarily play the field anymore i.e. David Ortiz and Jim Thome. It would be too difficult to put together a roster when you could play a team with a DH and a team with no DH every week. Either get rid of it in both leagues or add it to the National League.

That is what I would do to realign Major League Baseball. You don’t have to agree with me on how they should realign baseball, but change has to happen in the next couple of years.