Time For Logical Realignment
With the absurd number of barely mediocre to poor National League teams within 6 games of the Wild Card lead; and the Central and Western Division leaders barely ahead of them; and with the likelihood of there being at least four American League teams eliminated while they have better records than two or three National League playoff qualifiers; it’s time to look at some serious realignment possibilities.
The experiment of inter-league play in now ten years old and, while it generated interest initially, the idea has run its course. While the main rivalries—Yankees-Mets; Dodgers-Angels; Giants-A’s—-still generate interest, is there anyone that is truly interested in seeing the Pittsburgh Pirates playing the Cleveland Indians? Or the Seattle Mariners playing the Colorado Rockies?
Baseball needs to enhance the natural rivalries of teams that play in the same city by placing those teams in the same divisions. The uproar for such a move would be minimal compared to the whining that some "purists" did when the four division format was enacted in 1969; or when the Wild Card was brought in; or when inter-league play came to pass. It’s time to create some excitement and that can be done by eliminating the American and National Leagues, creating four divisions based on locale, reducing the number of games in a season by 17-20, adding another tier of playoffs and rewarding a team that wins their division with a bye to the second round. A couple of teams with better records than others will be left out, but it’s certainly better than what’s going on now. Other things, like the DH would have to be worked out, but there are compromises to be made along the line. The first draft of the plan follows. If anyone has any ideas to improve it, I’m all ears.
Northeast-New York Mets, New York Yankees, Boston, Philadephia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland
Southeast- Washington, Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta, Florida, Tampa Bay, Toronto
West- Arizona, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Anaheim, Oakland, Seattle, Colorado
Central- Chicago Sox, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Houston, Texas
Standings with realignment based on current records:
Northeast Standings Southeast Standings
NY Mets Detroit
NY Yankees Toronto
Pittsburgh Tampa Bay
West Standings Central Standings
Anaheim Chicago WS
Los Angeles St. Louis
San Diego Texas
San Francisco Milwaukee
Colorado Chicago Cubs
Seattle Kansas City
Playoff Format If Standings As Today Hold
Division Winners Receive Bye To Second Round
#2 in each division plays #3 in best 3 of 5. Winner plays division winner in best of 7.
Winners play each other in best of 7 in championship series.
Winners Advance to World Series.
Examples: NY Yankees vs Boston , Florida vs Toronto, Los Angeles vs Anaheim, Chicago Sox vs St. Louis
Round 2: NY Mets, Detroit, Oakland and Minnesota receive byes and home field for the second round.
Teams are re-seeded following every round based on record to account for upsets.
26 possible playoff games at most increased from 19 because of added series. Decrease season by 17 games. Start playoffs Sept. 20 (+/-)
Schedule determined in which teams play in division 14 times each; out of division 8 times.