Blog Entry

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Posted on: June 11, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2011 4:14 pm
By Evan Brunell

As Major League Baseball continues to discuss possible realignment, one idea that has come up is going to a league with 15 teams per league, reports ESPN's Buster Olney.

Currently, the National League has 16 teams and the AL 14 for scheduling purposes. Should baseball go to two 15-team leagues, that would likely require interleague play every day of the season. Given baseball likes to treat interleague play as an event, that could dilute the appeal of interleague play to the point it would no longer be a moneymaker. However, there is still real resistance to the idea which has not been presented to owners yet, although the player's union is reportedly open to it.

"I'd still say the odds of it happening are less than 50-50," the source said.'s Danny Knobler says that players are open to it because they are not happy about AL West teams having a 25 percent chance of making the playoffs, the NL Central just 18 percent and the rest all at 20 percent.

To switch to a 15-team alignment, one team from the NL would have to move to the AL. According to Olney, two highly-ranked executives think the Astros could receive the call in order to tap into a rivalry with the Texas Rangers. Picking the Astros would also allow baseball to remove one team from the NL Central and slot Houston into the AL West, which would address the issue of playoff percentages.

The Astros, to no surprise, are not interested in switching divisions, a source close to new owner Jim Crane told CultureMap.

"Jim is a businessman first, but he's also a traditionalist in many ways," the source said. "He's a pitcher [in college] and he loves the National League game. He grew up in St. Louis. This is not something he's looking for. This group certainly didn't buy the team with the intention of it becoming an American League franchise."

Yeah, but Crane doesn't wield the power... Selig does. He hasn't been formally approved as new owner yet after purchasing the team from Drayton McLane, so Selig could make a move a condition of purchase. However, the source also countered that.

"You don't spend $680 million on something and have a third-party come in an dictate new terms after the agreement's been ironed out," the source added. "Even Major League Baseball. These are extremely complicated deals. A lot of work goes into them. They are not something you can just go in and change in that significant of a manner."

The only time a team has changed leagues is when Selig's own Brewers -- owned by the family at the time -- switched leagues from the AL to NL. Selig's main excuse was that Milwaukee was a "National League town" because of the Braves (who had previously played in Milwaukee). That's not the case in Houston.

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Category: MLB
Tags: Astros, MLB

Since: Nov 14, 2010
Posted on: August 31, 2011 7:45 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

I agree with all who stated, MLB should move Houston over to the AL West. It would be a good fit.

Since: Jul 14, 2011
Posted on: July 14, 2011 9:48 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

I agree with everyone about Houston moving to the AL West with the Texas Rangers. I rather see them in the American League.

Since: Jun 26, 2011
Posted on: June 27, 2011 1:59 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Yes, move the Houston Astros to the AL West. I think it would be better for MLB.

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: June 21, 2011 1:49 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

the reason the astros are going to move is beacuse baseballcancan hold up the sale if they dont agree to it

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: June 16, 2011 3:19 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

I generally agree with your strategy sentiment - it's the only thing I find interesting about the NL vs. AL rules.  I think that the leagues should have different rules so that the traditionalists (like you) can continue to enjoy the NL game and so that the people who love the DH (like me) can continue to enjoy seeing a real hitter hitting for the pitcher. 

I think that the biggest issue they have right now is convincing a team and it's fanbase to switch to the other rules, not a change in leagues per se; it's the rules of the league.  I think baseball should run a vote for all of the NL teams and the fanbase that is least against changing leagues is the team that has to move - regardless of geographical location - I think that would be the most fair way to do it.   

Since: Jun 15, 2011
Posted on: June 15, 2011 1:01 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

I think that Leyland was refering to managing an AL club playing in a NL park because of the disadvantage his pitchers have hitting and bunting, and also the lost of a DH...   "We play with the DH rules. The American League gets penalized, even though the record’s been decent over the years. We get penalized. Their pitchers are hitting and bunting all year, and they get the advantage of letting their pitchers rest and using the DH when they come here, and we gotta use guys six straight days without Victor Martinez or Alex Avila or somebody. That’s ridiculous. Totally ridiculous, and they ought to look into it..." 

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: June 14, 2011 9:47 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

In the scenario laid out, the pitcher is up in that inning. That's why.

Fortunately, we have different sets of rules. That's part of what makes the leagues great as they are. You can have your old-school ways, I'll take the DH. We each have our choice there.

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: June 14, 2011 5:17 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Skyhawk, how do you figure any rules in the NL take the pitcher out? Is his spot in the order coming up in the next half inning? It he's not due up in the first 3 to 4 batters and he's doing well, you leave him on the mound. Or, you could swap him with a double switch and bring in a strong bat off the bench for someone else in the line up. move that bat into the pitcher's slot and the new pitcher is now in the number 7 or whatever.  But, in the AL, the DH allows you to make that willy nilly move any time you want because you do not have to worry about whether the pitcher will be hitting or not in the next inning. His bat is immaterial to the game and thus takes half of the decision off your plate.

I don't believe that the NL is the only level not using the DH. I realize college baseball went that route, which I think was a mistake. Nothing like offering an aging unable to play the field guy with a stick the chance to make that kinda money as a part time player. I much prefer the old school ways. Which would also help with some of the hit batters if a Becket had to stand in the batter's box after beaning two guys on the opposing team.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: June 14, 2011 4:53 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Your pitcher is doing well and has finished the 6th inning.  Now the bottom of the 6th comes up and there are runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs.  Your team is down by one, and a base hit in that situation gives you the lead (most likely).  Even though the pitcher is doing well, the manager has to decide if he's strong enough to outweigh the potential of a game changing base hit there.  Your thinking is backwards!!!  The National league is much more interesting in late game situations because of the strategy!
Actually, your thinking is backwards. First, in your scenario, the manager doesn't decide a thing other than which hitter to send up as a pinch-hitter. The pitcher is done because the rules of the National League take all that strategy out of the equation. You're trailing, so out the pitcher comes. No thinking required in the NL.

I think the American League is more interesting in late game situations because of the strategy. Your right-handed pitcher is feeling good in a 3-3 ballgame in the eighth inning with the bottom of the order coming up in your half. The opponent is leading off the ninth with two lefties. If you don't take the lead, do you leave your pitcher in, bring in your closer or go with your lefty stopper? Strategy comes into play in a big way. National League? Pitcher comes out, new pitcher in. A chimp could do that.

Like I said, the NL likes to THINK it's got a monopoly on strategy. The AL is where strategy wins games.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: June 14, 2011 4:45 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

I must say, your thinking on the DH thing is almost silly.  You think that it's MORE difficult to manage when you've got a DH?
Yes, I do. But don't take my word for it. Detroit manager Jim Leyland, who has won the pennant in both leagues and won a World Series with Florida in 1997, has also said it is more difficult to manage when he has a DH. I think Jim Leyland knows a thing or two about managing.

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