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MLB realignment?

Well, this is interesting.

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.

According to a highly ranked executive, one consideration that has been raised in ownership committee meetings is eliminating the divisions altogether, so that 15 AL and 15 NL teams would vie for five playoff spots within each league. Currently, Major League Baseball has six divisions.

A source who has been briefed on the specifics of the labor discussions says that the players’ union has indicated that it is open to the idea of two 15-team leagues, but that the whole plan still hasn’t been talked through or presented to the owners.

“I’d still say the odds of it happening are less than 50-50,” one source said.

Apparently, the Astros have been identified as the NL team that could change leagues, from the six-team NL Central to the four-team AL West, where they’d be joined with the Rangers. I’m not a big fan of this idea, mostly because I don’t think more interleague play would be advisable, but if we’re going to think about changing alignments and schedules, I’d prefer an approach that’s both more radical and more simplistic. David Pinto wrote a series of three articles for the Baseball Prospectus back in 2007 that proposed abolishing the leagues and going to five six-team divisions that made a lot of sense on many levels, and allowed for easy expansion to boot. I’d love to see the discussion be broadened to include such ideas. What do you think?

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4 Comments

  1. Brad M. says:

    Realignment…what the ….?!

    And lose the opportunity to win the prestiguous “Wild Card” playoff banner to display in our stadium. Never. I am a baseball purist.

  2. Joey P. says:

    I’d like to see divisions based on the relegation concept in soccer. Here is how it would work:

    There would be two divisions – an “A” division of 16 teams and a “B” division of 14 teams. Teams in the A division would play each other 8 times each and would also have one series of 3 games against the B division. The top 6 in the A division would make the playoffs as well as the top 2 in the B division. The bottom 3 in the A division would be relegated to the B division for the next year and the top 3 B division teams would be promoted to A division.

    Weak teams (B division teams) would largely play each other and the stronger, A division teams would also play each other. More teams would be in playoff races – teams like the Pirates would play most of the season against teams they could better compete against.

  3. Linkmeister says:

    What this suggestion would do is turn the MLB playoffs into the NHL or the NBA playoffs. I’m agin’ it. I like divisional championships. Think of the seamsters thrown out of work if there were no more divisional flags needing to be sown!

  4. [...] these days given that there are no more league presidents, and adopt saner schedules as folks like David Pinto have advocated. That would mean coming to a decision one way or the other on the DH – as a [...]

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