Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Time For Realignment

I’m sick and tired of complaining about the late start (EDT) for games the Phillies play on the West Coast.  It’s time for realignment!!

If the NFL could move the Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers from the NFC to the AFC when the two leagues merged in 1970, baseball can realign and live to tell about it.  Think of inter-league play as the prelude.

My new alignment would have the following two leagues:

American League

East
Baltimore
Boston
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies

South
Atlanta
Florida
Tampa Bay
Washington

Central
Cleveland
Detroit
Pittsburgh
Chicago White Sox
Toronto

National League

North
Chicago Cubs
Cincinnati
Milwaukee
Minnesota
St. Louis

Central
Arizona
Colorado
Kansas City
Houston
Texas

West
Angels
Athletics
Dodgers
Giants
Mariners
Padres


I know, the Mets, Yankees and Red Sox in the same division???!!!!!  Admittedly, that may be a little too intense while somewhat diminishing the NY-Boston rivalry.   On second thought, I’ve had it with that rivalry.  Every time the Red Sox and Yankees meet the networks evoke Armageddon.   Put ‘em all in the same division and let ‘em duke it out!!

The NL Central is a wide territory to be sure, but take it from someone who has lived in  Texas and the Southwest, the natives in both locales are forever telling anyone within earshot that distances are nothing in those parts.  Let ‘em prove it!!

Why are the two Chicago teams in different divisions?  First, it seems important to maintain the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.   But what I really love are the travel possibilities for the AL Central.  They could all go by train or bus.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Jon said...

I am glad I came across your page. I love this kind of talk! I like your initial ideas, but made some changes. Check out my scenario. If you want to do realignment, I think you have to do it the old school way, as in dividing the two leagues into an Eastern League (which I will call the AL) and a Western League (which I will call the NL). How does this sound:

AL EAST DIVISION

1. BOSTON RED SOX
2. NEW YORK METS
3. NEW YORK YANKEES
4. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
5. PITTSBURGH PIRATES

AL MIDEAST DIVISION

1. CHICAGO CUBS
2. CHICAGO WHITE SOX
3. CINCINNATI REDS
4. CLEVELAND INDIANS
5. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

AL SOUTHEAST DIVISION

1. ATLANTA BRAVES
2. BALTIMORE ORIOLES
3. FLORIDA MARLINS
4. TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
5. WASHINGTON NATIONALS

NL NORTHMIDWEST DIVISION

1. DETROIT TIGERS
2. KANSAS CITY ROYALS
3. MILWAUKEE BREWERS
4. MINNESOTA TWINS
5. TORONTO BLUE JAYS

NL SOUTHWEST DIVISION

1. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
2. COLORADO ROCKIES
3. HOUSTON ASTROS
4. SAN DIEGO PADRES
5. TEXAS RANGERS

NL WESTERN DIVISION

1. LOS ANGELES ANGELS
2. LOS ANGELES DODGERS
3. OAKLAND ATHLETICS
4. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
5. SEATTLE MARINERS

4:37 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

I like it, Jon. Indeed, I had originally been speaking with Beerleaguer about this notion and was calling them East and West. Much better. I also thought of putting the O's in the South (your Southeast). I would like to see San Diego in the West not the Southwest and I worry about having cross-town rivals in NY, Chicago, LA and SF in the same divisions.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous J. Weitzel said...

I came up with a plan a couple years ago, designed to expand on the two great successes of baseball over the last 10 years. The first is interleague play, specifically, geographic rivals like the Mets/Yankees and Dodgers/Angels. The second is the Wild Card round.

Here is the framework:

-- Four divisions split evenly among the National League and American League.

-- Six playoff teams. Division winners get first-round byes. The 162-game season should be worth more than it's worth now.

-- Florida and Tampa Bay are contracted. Easier said than done I know. Play along anyway.

-- Interleague play ia eliminated because the best matchups happen during regulation.

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

Comments: Look at the number of geographic rivals in this division. Washington plays Baltimore, NY/NY, NY/Boston stays together and Philadelphia can develop a true rivalry with all of them.

AL WEST
Pittsburgh Pirates
Cleveland Indians
Cincinatti Reds
Atlanta Braves
Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers

Comments: I like the idea of developing some geographic rivalries for small-market teams like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincy, Milwaukee and Minnesota, while keeping them in the same league as the main attractions like the Yankees. This way, there's a nice balancing act between small markets and large markets. That’s what this division is all about. An automatic playoff bid from this division would be a great thing for baseball. We've seen that Atlanta does not generate fans, so they are the oddball in this group. Three teams from the AL East - Twins, Tribe, Tigers - stay together, but the White Sox are an unfortunate sacrifice here.

NL EAST
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals
Texas Rangers
Houston Astros
Colorado Rockies

Comments: More outstanding rivalries, both geographic and historic. St. Louis and Chicago stay together. The Chicago teams are together. Kansas City has a geographic connection with St. Louis and stays in the same league the White Sox. Also, Texas and Houston are finally together in the same division, and the Houston-Cardinal rivalry is preserved.

NL WEST
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Los Angeles Dodgers
Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Arizona Diamondbacks
Seattle Mariners

Comments: An all-California division makes sense, and this is where you must also stick Arizona and Seattle. Los Angeles and Los Angeles can develop into the best rivalry in baseball. Giants and Dodgers stay in the same division.

Positives
Having six playoff teams gives fans more reason to come out to the ballpark in September. In this new format, it's possible that Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee (for example) could fight for the final playoff spot until the last day of the season. That's positive.

Under this format, all the major rivalries are preserved. Displaced teams, like Seattle and Colorado, are among the newer teams in the league.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

I like it, Jason. The contraction would be an obstacle though Loria would probably be happy to take the money and run. There might be a problem with so many teams in a division. The bottom teams would probably be out of the running fairly quickly under this scenario, perhaps faster than under the current setup where a division has a maximum of five or six teams

5:30 PM  
Anonymous J. Weitzel said...

To clarify, that's six playoff teams from each league. So four wild cards per league.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Jon said...

Yeah I like it too. Baseball could handle losing two teams and adopting your idea.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Jon said...

I would however swap Toronto and Atlanta. Atlanta is more on the Atlantic side of things, and Toronto is closer to Clevelands and Detroits of the world. I might even rename the divisions, but I like the idea of 4 seven team divisions! Nice job.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Jon said...

* Atlanta is more on the Atlantic side of things, and Toronto is closer to the Clevelands and the Detroits of the world.

7:27 PM  
Blogger JB said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:46 AM  
Blogger JB said...

THis would basically guarantee that the Phils would never make the playoffs ever again...

That said, for a ton of other reasons I think this is just a terrible idea. For one, it stomps traditions and old rivalries in a game where that stuff is important. It puts probably the 3 spending teams in the game in one divison and 4 of the top 10.

The idea of teams in the same town in the same divisions is probably the most ridiculous of all. It almost makes it pointless to have 2 teams in a city.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous RickSchuBlues said...

Me, I miss the days of four divisions and two entirely separate leagues. I miss the Phillies playing each West division team twelve times a year and AL teams none. I miss them playing the Cardinals, Cubs, and Pirates who went from East Division rivals who played 19 times a year to only 6. The umpires aren't affiliated with leagues anymore, there are no league presidents, and interleague games and expanded playoffs have already made the World Series seem like far less of an event than it used to be. Exploding the century-old alignment of teams with league identities is just another way to alienate long-time fans and undermine the game's strong traditional sense. I hope it never comes to this.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

RSB: Truth be told, I hope so, too, but baseball is not headed in the right direction so those of us who care about it might as well start thinking about what we would like to see happen. The direction is clearly not back toward the days you describe.

1:53 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home