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: May 24, 2011
Posted on: June 14, 2011 2:35 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

pretty sure they are talking 78 games of interleague

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 3:33 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Wells, at one point your thinking on the subject was correct, and I was against the DH.  However the game has changed.  Now you use 4/5 pitchers a game, the starter never gets a CG anyway.  So even in the AL, when a pitcher is having a great game he usually doesn't finish it.  It is more of a situational, specialist game than before.  A  DH is a specialist - fits in with TODAY'S game.

Since: Jun 4, 2007
Posted on: June 13, 2011 2:17 pm

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?  All the manager has to do, with the help of his pitching coach is watch how well the pitcher is pitching.  If he gets gassed in the 6th or 7th, take him out.  If he's halfway through an inning, take him out...It doesn't even enter the manager's mind on the batting, because he DOESN'T BAT!  Now take the NL for example.  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!

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 2:11 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

If teams play more geographically similar teams, with vastly different talent levels, in a schedule that blurrs divisions and leagues,  fans are going to eventually migrate toward the stronger at the peril of the weaker, to the point where cities won't support more than one team.
Then why does the NHL have three teams around New York, or the NBA have two in the Bay Area and L.A., or the NFL have Washington and Baltimore?

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:58 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

There are far more problems involved with this proposal than an unequal schedule and Bud Seligs inadequate vision.

Anyone proposing solving schedule issues by expansion, needs to take a closer look at the current economic situation in MLB, arguably better addressed by contraction, rather than expansion. 

Interleague play is already a deterrant to a fair and equal divison schedule, only pursued because of it's unique but limited, increased fan draw. To play interleague games every week would quickly remove the "uniqueness", and only draw more attention to the inequities of counting wins and losses outside the league, for playoff spots within the league. 

This isn't a new concept- its NFC vs. AFC NFL,  or Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference NBA, logic. Unfortunately, MLB is by nature a completely different animal than the NFL. MLB rosters and schedules dwarf the NFL and NBA, dictating games be played in series', not in single game regular season formats. Determination of the better team in baseball can't be addressed in a single game like other sports, because an entire team can't be played in a single game.

MLB also has a deeper investment in it's century long history of 2 separate leagues, stats and records that make a wholescale mixing of the leagues less palatable, and arguably weakens an already weakened sense of fan loyalty and team rivalry. Rivalries that are important in fan's minds are generally derived between teams WITHIN the same division, not from another league. Does Bud Selig think that there will be MORE Mets fans created if they play the Yankees MORE ? You can easily see similar unequal talent in the Giants and A's, Cardinals and Royals, or Rangers and Astros. If teams play more geographically similar teams, with vastly different talent levels, in a schedule that blurrs divisions and leagues,  fans are going to eventually migrate toward the stronger at the peril of the weaker, to the point where cities won't support more than one team. 

If Bud Selig wants to impact baseball in a positive way, he needs to retire and allow someone with the best interests of baseball take over.      

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:46 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

What MLB should do is this: 1- Contract the Marlins and the Rays. It's obvious since 1993 that people in Florida don't care about or support baseball. Most baseball fans in Florida are transplants from other areas of the country anyway. 2- Move the Brewers back to the AL where they belong! They are an AL team! They started in the AL as the Seattle Pilots. 3- End Interleague play!!! Was never a fan of it. It takes away the lure of the All Star Game and the World Series. 4-Eliminate the divisions and have two 14 team leagues. 5- Reduce the regular season to 156 games. It will bring a balanced schedule. All teams will play every team in their league 12 games a season. 6- Have the top 4 teams in each league make the playoffs. Home field advantage for the World Series would go to the team that has the better reg. season record........ Of course this will never happen because it makes sense!   
No, it will never happen because it makes no sense. About your only good idea was home field advantage for the best record in the World Series.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:44 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Move the Marlins to the AL East (SoFla was always an AL area: remember, Yankees used to train in Ft. Lauderdale and Orioles in Miami plus helps establish a Florida rivalry both teams need. Move Pittsburgh to NL East. Move Toronto to AL Central (with Detroit and Cleveland), move KC to AL West (although they are a Central time zone team, so is Texas).

This gives you a Florida-TB rivalry, a Philly-Pitt rivalry, Yankees and Orioles in Miami where they used to train, and give Blue Jays better rivalries with Detroit and Cleveland. The only one who suffers a little is KC, having to make west coast trip, but it should help Texas.
Actually, that's a heck of an idea.

Since: Oct 7, 2007
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:31 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Ive been saying this for years.  Its makes absolutely no sense than an al west  team only has to beat out 3 teams to make the playoffs.  Traditions or no traditions, that is totally unfair when all the other teams have to beat out 4 or even 5 in the nl cent.  Yes there is a wild card, but still doesnt change the fact that its much easier to make it into the playoffs for 4 teams than the rest of the league.

Since: Jun 13, 2011
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:23 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

That all sounds great, but how about some kind of new Mayor League Baseball with and structure more like the european soccer, with local leagues and diffrents divisions and at the same time there Continental leagues (champions League) that could alowed to play teams from differents league that are form differents countries. Leaguas can be from Japon, China, Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Italy and some Islands in the caribbean like Curazao. This Idea can be radical but if works Baseball can become that ultimate Sports and be love by may. Jose Hernandez

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:17 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

I obviously hate the DH. I like the strategy of the double switch and the occasional bunt or when a surprise hit comes off the bat of the pitcher but more importantly baseball is a two way game. The AL doesn't seem to recognize that any more. In any baseball rule book it says players field their position and hit the pitched ball. Very simple. It is an abomination as is interleague play.
Actually, it doesn't say that in any baseball rule book. Rule books specifically mention the designated hitter, and the National League is now the only league left at any level of baseball in America that does not use the designated hitter.

I obviously love the DH. I like the strategy of knowing when you have to pull the pitcher and when you should leave him out there for another inning. The NL completely takes that out of the equation by requiring the pitcher to bat, because if the pitcher's spot comes up in the batting order, you have to take him out of the game, no thought required. In the AL, you have to know exactly when to yank your pitcher, or you're going to pay dearly. This is why Jim Leyland, who has managed in both leagues, says it's more difficult to be a manager in the AL. The NL likes to believe it has more strategy, but the AL actually does.

Put simply, the DH was a great idea, as was interleague play.

Interleague play is not interesting to anyone who doesn't live in a city with 2 teams and maybe there are a couple of other rivalries. The rest of us get stuck playing teams who hold no interest for us and the stadium is half full when we could be seeing a National League club that otherwise only comes in once per year. To have 15 teams in each league means an interleague game every day. Yuck!
I'm a Blue Jays fan. We have no rivalries whatsoever in the NL since the Expos don't exist anymore. I love interleague play. Even though we suck at them, I look forward to the interleague series each year because I like seeing how we match up with the Cardinals, the Phillies, the Rockies, etc. We're never going to play those teams otherwise. I'd rather play an NL team than get a second home series with Kansas City.

15 teams would mean an interleague game every day. Sweet.

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