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.
Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees
New York Mets
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers
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.
#5 v #12
#7 v #10
#6 v #11
#8 v #9
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:
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.