Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Re-alignment? How I'd Blow Up Baseball And Start Over

The Astros to the AL eh?  Instead of something simple, let's just blow it all up.  Why not?  All the records are tarnished from steroids anyway, right?  Let's just start over and usher in a new era of baseball.

Starting with the divisions.  Four.  Four divisions.  North, South, East and West.  There are no leagues anymore.  The AL and NL are gone.  As is the crazy All-Star game to decide who gets homefield advantage (stay with me, we'll get there).

What's left?  Glad you asked.

MLB East
Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
New York Mets
Boston Red Sox
Philadelphia Phillies
Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals

MLB South
Miami Marlins
Tampa Bay Rays
Atlanta Braves
Houston Astros
Texas Rangers
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals

MLB North
Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Indians
Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates

MLB West
Seattle Mariners
San Francisco Giants
Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers
Anaheim Angels
Arizona Diamondbacks
Colorado Rockies

There we go.  While we're at it, since it's just MLB and there isn't an AL/NL, we have to make a decision on the DH.  I feel like it's inevitable that the DH will win out someday, so let's just get on with it.  I like the strategy of the NL too guys, but I'm making a concession here.

Let's move onto the schedule and playoffs.  For starters, we're going to shorten the season slightly to accommodate a larger playoff system.  This is win-win.  It allows us to further distance ourselves from the tarnished steroid-era records, and gives us a chance to expand the postseason and only play 7 game series.  5 game series are lame.  I'll sacrifice a couple weeks of the regular season for better postseason play.

All four division winners are in the playoffs, and then we've got 8 wild cards to dish out.

Round 1 of the playoffs is the wildcard round.  It will be seeded based on record.

#1 BYE
#5 v #12
#7 v #10
#4 BYE

#2 BYE
#6 v #11
#8 v #9
#4 BYE

Round 2 of the playoffs is the divisional round and will feature the divisional winners (who did not play during the first round) against the winners of the wildcard round.  Imagine the NCAA brackets, but slightly modified.  #1 gets the lowest seed to come out of the 5/12 and 7/10 games with #4 getting the leftovers.  Same goes for #2 and #3 on the other side.

Round 3 of the playoffs is the championship round.  The Final Four.  Let's do this.

Of course Round 4 of the playoffs is the World Series.

I reckon we're going to need to shorten the regular season to approximately 148-150 games to fit in the new playoff system, and we're going to need some more cable carriers to step up and broadcast all the games.

As for the regular season, each team in the 8 team divisions will play 13 games against each divisional rival.  That's three 3-game series, and a 4-game series.  Each team in the 7 team divisions will play 14 games against each divisional rival.  That's two 3-game series and two 4-game series.  This leaves each team in the 8 team divisions with 57 games to play against other teams in the MLB.  Each team in the 7 team divisions has 64 games to play against other MLB teams.  You'll average a 2 or 3 game series against every other team in baseball.  This is about as fair as it gets people!

In case you are wondering how the season would have turned out, your division winners and 1-4 seeds would have been:

Phillies (East)
Brewers (North)
Rangers (South)
Diamondbacks (West)

The Wildcard round would have featured these matchups:

Yankees v. Angels
Rays v. Braves
Tigers v. Giants
Cardinals v. Red Sox

Let's assume all the teams that made the playoffs moved on you'd have seen a Divisional round like this:

Phillies v. Yankees
Rays v. Diamondbacks
Brewers v. Tigers
Cardinals v. Rangers

I get a smile on my face just thinking about all of this.  And I consider(ed) myself a baseball traditionalist.

Oh yeah, one last thing, home field advantage in each round goes to the best record, and the format will be 2-2-1-1-1 for the seven game playoff series.


  1. Agreed. All teams are looking for is a chance to make the playoffs anyway. Were the Cardinals the only non-division winner that could have randomly won the WS? Nope. Might as well get all those above .500 teams in.

    Can you imagine the Blue Jays or Orioles finally having a shot at the postseason? Miraculous.

  2. I consider myself a baseball traditionalist. I also love disagreeing with you. But that really is a perfect set up. I have read it three times hoping to argue against it or find a flaw. Damn you Jim and your giant brain.

  3. Don't worry though, MLB is throwing 15 teams in each league, awarding 10 playoff spots (so what, one team gets a bye on each side?), and having interleague play every night of the week.

    Nothing says "not special" like interleague play every night, but resigning it to "regional rivalries" and "one division".

    MLB is run by terribly short-sited individuals.