Monday, August 16, 2010

Starting from Scratch: Realigning Major League Baseball

If tradition were no concern, wouldn't this make sense?
To follow up with last night's post about the travesty that is the three-division league, I thought I'd draw up a quick realignment plan. I threw tradition out the window. The westward expansion of baseball slapped tradition in the face a long time ago, so it's about time the traditionalists got over it. The league can be divided much more conveniently by geography than it can by its current Senior Circuit/Junior Circuit rules (baseball is old; both leagues are senior citizens). So here's what I suggest:

Western League
Pacific Division
Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, with an Affinity for Burbank
Las Angeles Dodgers
Oakland A's
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners

Midwest Division
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Colorado Rockies
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins
St. Louis Cardinals
Texas Rangers

Eastern League
Central Division
Atlanta Braves
Cincinnati Reds
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Florida Marlins
Milwaukee Brewers
Tampa Bay Rays

Northeast Division
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals

The division winners would make the playoffs along with the teams with the next two best records regardless of division. Seems to me it would cut down on travel and emphasize regional rivalries over traditional ones, many of which no longer mean anything. At first I was dismissive of this idea because it will "never happen," but I can't think of any good reason it shouldn't.

Can you? Go ahead, tear the idea to shreds.


  1. i feel by doing this it would create the same problem the SEC has in college football with the northeastern division in the eastern league.

  2. Right now that would be the strongest division, especially at the top, but it's not altogether imbalanced. According to the SRS rankings in the previous post ( ) the 19 above-average teams (and Detroit, the best of the below-average teams) in baseball happen to be distributed perfectly among the four divisions. There would still be good teams left out of the playoffs, but at least the damage would be a bit more minimized.

    The big difference in college football is that the competitive imbalance is far more pronounced. There aren't as many clear-cut World Series favorites in that proposed division as there are legitimate national title contenders in the SEC. The traditional powerhouses, the Red Sox, Mets, Yankees, and Phillies, would be competing for at-most three playoff spots between them. As it is, the AL East is ridiculously good. They have three of baseball's top 4 teams and 4 of the top 10. Four of their five teams are in the top 10 in baseball . . . and then they've got the second-worst team in Baltimore. (Ouch.)

  3. The biggest problem I see is that you're going to have to move Milwaukee into the same division with the Cubs and Sox. You can't have a team that is 90 miles due north of Chicago not playing in the same division. The owners in Milwaukee would absolutely howl at losing "natural" rivalries with the Sox and especially the Cubs.


Spill it.

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