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: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:07 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

So the idea instead of realigning is possible expansion? The tallent pool was diluted before PEDs. Roids only made it more glaring. But, I'll play your little game and not only expand the AL by two teams, but lets go to 4 teams per division. Everyone gets a 25% shot at the playoffs and you kill off the wildcard. Thereby clearing up this other silly "play-in" miniseries Selig wants in order to avoid what always happens in the AL East. The top 2 are far better than the other divisions most of the time as far as record goes. So, you go back to 1 team per division making it.

You get your even number of teams, scrub interleague play all together. Face it, outside of the subway series or maybe Chicago, there are no real rivalries in it like MLB had hoped. You also get what should be more exciting divisional races in September since you have to win to get in. And while we're at it, scrub the damn DH from baseball altogether. Pitchers hit at every level until they get into the AL. That would also force teams to think about who they have pitching and who is in the bullpen or usable as a pinch hitter.

Since: Dec 7, 2010
Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:41 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

As one person commented that they should maybe expand by 2 more teams.... Not sure where you would go with 2 new franchises...Here are some cities that do not have baseball but other sport franchises that do fairly well:  San Antonio, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Nashville ...

Since: Oct 28, 2009
Posted on: June 13, 2011 11:49 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

read the whole post before commenting next time.......other people are saying it too, so theres no need to single out just myself....

Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 11:31 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Any realignment ought to come with expansion by two teams to bring MLB to 32 teams.  As we have seen, with the reduction in PEDs, there is no pitching shortage, which was an argument against further expansion.  Let the bidding for two new teams begin.

Since: Aug 10, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 10:44 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

The problem baseball has is that the two leagues have different rules. This is insane. No other sport has different rules for different divisions. Imagine if in the NFC, the quarterback also had to play defense. That's stupid. If they would make the rules the same in both leagues, the inter-league play every day would not be a big deal.

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 10:39 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

As for which team would move to the AL, I like the idea of putting the Marlins in the AL East.  Yes it would cause more teams to change divisions, but they are the expansion team, so they are the best candidate.  Pirates should be in the East, not the Central.

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 10:36 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

For 40 years, I was against the DH.  thought it changed the game.  Well it has.  Remember something called a complete game from a starting pitcher?  Using one or two pitchers for an entire game?  Those days are long gone.  Now 5 pitchers is a normal game.  And I believe the DH (and no salary cap)  are the reasons the AL has been dominant for so long.  So I have finally changed my opinion.  The NL should go to the DH.

As for having 15 teams per league.  it is the only logical thing to do.  Four teams have a 25% chance to get to the playoffs.  Six teams have a 16% chance.  How fair is that?  Add in that 3 of those 6 teams are small market, and the deck is stacked against them.  You will have interleague games every day?  Well since every other sports league does that, why is it a problem for MLB?

Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: June 13, 2011 10:36 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Brewer fans are NOT interested in moving back to the American League.  A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel online poll shows 84 percent do not want the Brewers to move back to the AL to 16 percent who do.

Since: Feb 27, 2009
Posted on: June 13, 2011 7:49 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Wow! No understanding of real baseball! NL baseball rocks, everyone has to be a baseball player; i.e. be able to hit, field, run and throw. DH's are a joke, one note players. Keep the strategy of pinch hitting and bunting that makes the NL great. Get rid of the ridiculous DH and let's ALL play BASEBALL!!!!

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: June 13, 2011 5:11 am

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

I think that it would be a bad issue for the Astros to move to the AL because they aren't doing well in what has been perceived as a weaker league for years (NL).  I don't know that Houston moving to the AL would do anything for Houston but I do know that it DOES make sense from the point of view of the MLB - the realignment makes sense in terms of how the leagues are aligned.  That said, it might be easier to contract too - there are several cities that are unworthy of having MLB franchises or simply do not have the significant sized fan bases to support teams.  The Marlins and Rays come to mind quickly as franchises who have had moderate to incredible success but do not draw regular crowds.  Instead of contraction of these teams, maybe these teams could be relocated as well.  I can think of 3-4 cities with ease that have significant sized fan bases that could support a franchise.  I would consider putting a team in Indianapolis, a team in the Carolinas, OKC, and another team in Utah or northern Nevada.  We never thought that putting an NFL team in Jacksonville would work and while they have the smallest market in terms of viewership they regularly sell out.  Additionally, several of the larger cities in America could support second (or even third) MLB franchises with ease. 

Now onto the subject of NL vs. AL - I think it falls into the eye of the beholder.  I grew up on AL ball so I like the DH and when I watch an NL game or watch my favorite team play an NL team there is nothing more embarassing than watching a pitcher strike out or try to lay down an ugly bunt.  Sure, the double switch is "neat" but you have to admit that in greater than 95% of the cases the pitcher is just an automatic out.  Additionally, it's kind-of unfair to the pitchers in the AL when compared against pitchers in the NL because no matter what the NL pitcher is going to have an extra 30-40 k's per year by simply striking out the pitcher.  The term "easy out" rarely gets tossed around in the AL unless you're talking about a catcher who is on the roster simply for his ability behind the plate, not his ability to hit the ball - this is rare indeed so every guy who holds a bat can do damage.  The pitchers in the NL just look like a bunch of idiots holding barely used bats - when they go to the plate they look like they are posing for a baseball card and not actually paying attention; it's also hilarious to see the guy up there wearing his windbreaker.  Last year I laughed my tail off at an AL pitcher who went up to bat and literally just stood there while the NL pitcher walked him because he couldn't hit the strike zone, it was hilarious because you knew the AL pitcher was not going to swing that bad - no way, no how.

To the guy who said that he hates to see Big Papi hit because he's fat and slow and etc. etc. - then what about Prince Fielder?  He's not exactly the picture of health either; the guy looks like he eats a couple of Big Macs before each at bat.  Big Papi is not a bad first baseman either - he can play the field but doesn't do it frequently enough for Francona to have confidence in his ability to dig a ball out of the dirt.

Again, it's in the eye of the beholder and that's why the leagues are different.  You have to admit that it does add for some interesting drama during the world series and interleague.  I just get bummed out when Big Papi gets stuck warming the bench during interleague because Gonzo is too good at first base and hitting to put on the bench.  You can actually see Big Papi feeling bad about himself in the dugout because he can't contribute.

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