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 26, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 7:10 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Actually Milwaukee was an AL town. The Brewers played like 25+ years in the AL which was longer than the Braves played in Milwaukee in the NL, which I believe was only 8 years.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 7:08 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

They should move the Rays to the NL East and contract the Mets or Yankees. End of story.

Since: Nov 9, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 6:57 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Long overdue. If the Astros won't move, either a move by the Rockies or Diamondbacks to the AL West, with the "Stros" moving to the NL West would work as well. It would give every team pretty much a "natural" rivalry for interleague play, and as far as there being at least one interleague series all the time, how about spreading out the big intercity rivalries over the course of a season. Why do the Yanks/Mets, White Sox/Cubs, A'S/Giants, Angels/Dodgers series all have to be played at the same time? Wouldn't, to commemorate the tragedy of 9/11/01, it have been prudent for the Yanks to play the Mets on 9/11/11, and they could have even scheduled one of those day night two stadium DH on that date?

Since: Oct 28, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 6:54 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

they should move the Rockies to the AL West.  Colorado has mostly been an American League ballpark anyway. 

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 6:47 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Could not disagree more on the division breakdown, HOWEVER, I offer INCREDIBLE props on the thought that has gone into it!!! Why can't MLB take a page from your imagination? Play with some possibility. Never must it become probability, but within the mix, good things might happen!!!!! 

Love the idea of HOF inductees... it completely gets lost in the shuffle. Year after year. Especially with the college football season going later, and yes, the NFL just getting to the nit and grit. It would make the Mid-Summer Classic even more enjoyable!

Since: Aug 11, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 6:45 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Expansion is not an option, so we don't even need to contemplate that.  In terms of the other issues, I'm warming to the idea of two wild cards per league and possibly one NL team moving to the AL, but I'm still chewing on the idea of abolishing divisions.  If MLB were to return to a balanced schedule, wouldn't that rectify much of the problem we are currently seeing?  If the problem is that certain divisions are easier than others, thus creating an easier path to the playoffs for certain clubs, then balancing the schedule would seem to fix it.  The Blue Jays, for instance, argue that the have very little shot of making the playoffs because they have to play 36 games per year vs the Yankees and Red Sox.  But that's because of the unbalanced schedule.  If the schedule were balanced, they'd only have 24 total games per year against those teams.  I suppose the counter-argument would be that if you went to a balanced schedule and each team played clubs from other divisions just as much as they play teams within their own division, what's the point of having divisions in the first place?

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 6:34 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL


Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 6:16 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Let's be real here: with the Astros and Pirates in the Central, the other four teams have a 25 percent chance to make the playoffs. With the Cubs sucking this year, it's up to 33.3 percent.

Since: Oct 15, 2007
Posted on: June 12, 2011 6:10 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

My plan: 1.) Add two teams in AL, one in east and one in west. 2.) Create 4 eight teams divisions. 3.) Playoffs: four wild cards in each league play a best of three to face the division champs with the wild card survivors matched with division winners based on best record. 4.) Require each team to play one double header each month to keep the season from getting too long.

The divisions:

NL East: Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Braves, Nats, Reds, Pirates, Brewers

NL West: Dodgers, Padres, Rockies, D-Backs, Giants, Astros, Cardinals, Cubs 

AL East: Yanks, Red Sox, D-Rays, Blue Jays, Tigers, Orioles, Indians, New Team in the East

AL West: Angels, A's, Mariners, Royals, Rangers, White Sox, Twins, New Team in the West

The Schedule:

16 interleague games (8 two game series against one of the divisions, which rotates each year)

56 games against each team in the other division (7 against each team)

84 games against each team in your own division (12 against each team)

6 games against your natural rival in the other league

Makes a 162 game schedule

Since: Feb 10, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 6:08 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

"They haven't really been competitive in the NL since the early '80's."

What are you talking about?  I recall a trip to the World Series in 2005.  in the nine years between 1997 and 2005 (clearly not the 80's) the team made the post-season 6 years.  The Biggio/Bagwell Astros had a much higher level of achievement than the Jose Cruz/Mike Scott Astros of the 80's who only made 3 playoff appearances.

Granted, they haven't been a factor in the NL since 2005.

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