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 9, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 3:05 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

I posted that exact same alignment about 10 pages back...

Since: Dec 30, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 3:04 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

My plan would be the ultimate in balance, expand 2 teams and have 8 NFL- like 4 team divisions.  I would add a southeast team like carolina to the nl and a northwest team like portland to the al.  I would move tampa to the nl and houston and colorado to the al.  NLEAST:   Phillies, mets, nationals, pirates.  NLCENTRAL:  cubs, cards, brewers, reds.  NLWEST:  dodgers, giants, padres, dbacks.  NLSOUTH:  devil rays, marlins, braves, carolina.  ALEAST:  yanks, red sox, orioles, blue jays.  ALCENTRAL:  tigers, indians, twins, white sox.  ALWEST:  mariners, angels, athletics, portland.  ALMIDWEST:  rockies, rangers, astros, royals.

Since: Nov 9, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:58 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Really, the teams in the AL West has 32% probability of making the playoffs, not 25%. 25% is the probabilty of them winning their division, but doesn't take into account the wild card. The probability if an AL West team making the playoffs is equal to

(Probability they win their division) + (probability they don't win their division)*(probabilty they're the best non-division winner)

Which is to say

(1/4) + (3/4)*(1/11) = about 32%

Likewise, for each division the probabilties of make the playoffs are

NL East - 26%
NL Central - 23%
NL West - 26%
AL East - 27%
AL Central - 27%
AL West - 32%

But whose counting :P

Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:54 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

I like the effort, but as a White Sox fan, taking them away from Cleveland, Minnesota and Detroit would be horrible.  I think those team's fans would agree.  While I like the competition factor, the rivalry factor for the White Sox is completely gone, to be replaced by the Cubs only.  I don't like trading 3 rivals for 1, especially since most Sox fans hate the Twins and Indians more than the Cubs anyways.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:41 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Do away with the AL and NL, too. Let's have a Legends league and a Leaders league. Then the Big Ten will have company in the Hall of Fame for Sports Stupidity. I mean, really? This is not simple realignment they're talking about. That's happened before. I remember when the Cubs were in the NL East and the Brewers were in the AL. This goes well past that, scraps divisions completely and thrusts interleague on us all season long. Bad, bad and bad. However, let's not argue about this ruining the tradition of the game. This is how baseball used to work. Divisions are new. 

Since: Dec 15, 2007
Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:40 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Liked the realignment post.  Lots to think about in that.  A bit challenging geographically, so I took a shot at rearranging it from that angle.

See what you think about this:

NL SEast: Atlanta, Florida, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Washington
NL Central: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis
NL West: Arizona, Colorado, Houston, Texas, Seattle

AL East: NY Mets, NY Yankees, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto
AL Central: Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit
AL West: LA Dodgers, LA Angels, San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland

Since: Aug 21, 2007
Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:14 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Leave everything as is and look into adding 2 teams for the American League like the Carolinas (Raleigh/Durham) or Virginia (Virginia Beach) for the AL East and Oklahoma City or Utah for the AL West.  Bring baseball to places that have (or had) only minor league teams and expand its growth. Its easy to say add teams but in the end you need someone to step up to the plate to start a franchise in a city where people would go and pay reasonable prices. The bottom line is money so i do not see MLB teams folding or the league shrinking but in the situation that there in its either stay the same or expand and baseball is an American sport thats played everywhere so why not expand. There will always be enough talent to go around with all the high schools, colleges, and minor leagues around the country. Football and basketball expanded, hockey shrunk (Atlanta moved to Canada again) so do the right thing and look into expanding or just stay put and do nothing at all. 

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:11 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Just to get in on the DH rule debate- if the DH rule was removed, it would certainly create an incentive for young pitchers to work on hitting much more than they do now. Knowing they have to hit no matter where they end up (AL or NL) would likely improve pitchers' hitting overall. Danny Hultzen hit .305 this year for UVA. Babe Ruth started his career as a pitcher. Micah Owings. Mike Hampton. Etc. There have been and continue to be pitchers that hit well so I dont really see how the DH rule makes the game better. Without it, pitchers would be incentivized to work on hitting after high school, when they generally stop (other than working on bunting). Personlly, I think that if you hit, you should play the field. Thats how all of us grew up playing the game. Maybe there will be fewer runs overall throughout baseball, which you might think would be worse, but if your chances of seeing an exciting, competitive, and well-played game is higher, I think DH-free baseball is better.

More to the point of the article, it will be interesting to see how NL teams react to playing AL teams more regularly (assuming the DH rule stays put). Now, NL teams don't stock a spare hitter to serve as a DH when they only need it for 3 regalar season series (or however many they play in AL ballparks) and the world series if they make it. For example, when Philly played the Yankees, Greg Dobbs was the Phillies DH (vs Hideki Matsui- not exactly a fair matchup). However, if interleague is played throughout the season and for a greater number of games, will NL teams get in the act of buying the Ortiz's and Guerrero's of the world to serve as part-time DH's and spot starters in the field? I think a smart NL team would spend that money because it would increase their chances of winning an NL playoff spot and the world series.

Last, as much as other people react negatively to this, I favor adding two teams to the AL and making two 16 team leagues without divisions. I'm not really sure where I'd place them if I had the godlike power to do so, but several places where I think baseball could work are San Antonio, Las Vegas, Vancouver,  and Montreal (the ownership situation and stadium were reasons why the team failed there, not the lack of fan passion- with a new stadium and an owner willing to invest in the team, Montreal is a very viable place for MLB). All of these cities' metro areas (except for Vegas) are bigger than at least 3 metro areas that have MLB teams at present. This not only avoids creating a stink with forcing a team to switch leagues, but also increases MLB's exposure in areas where it currently is lacking.

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:57 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

"brewcrewfanatic" you are insane right? That would explain your ramblings. Move three teams from the National league west to the American league? You are not a baseball fan and for sure a young know nothing. Thanks for the drivel but save your breath.

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:49 pm

MLB ponders realignment, moving NL team to AL

Whatever they do DON"T add two teams to make it 16 in each league. All of sports know that there are two many teams in every sport due to the greed by the leagues and the short term money to be made. What should happen is remove two teams so that it is 14 in each league. That would be the senseable thing to do. The smart thing to do. Look how many teams don't draw squat to their games. Way too many. Reduce is the way to go. Sad but true.

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