Blog Entry

Realignment is on the way

Posted on: July 12, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 7:24 pm
PHOENIX -- More and more, it's clear that realignment will come to baseball within the next two years, almost certainly resulting in a format that would see 15 teams in each league, with some interleague play on every day of the season.

In separate Tuesday sessions with the Baseball Writers Association of America, both commissioner Bud Selig and players union head Michael Weiner expressed an openness to a 15-15 plan, with Weiner saying that players have favored it for a decade or more. The players and owners have been discussing realignment, along with schedule and playoff reform, as part of negotiations for the new basic agreement.

Both Selig and Weiner ruled out what Selig called "massive realignment," which would involve multiple teams changing leagues, or a system that basically does away with the traditional leagues.

The 15-15 plan would require at least one team (almost certainly either the Astros or Diamondbacks) to change leagues.

It seems now that realignment won't come in time for the 2012 season, although Weiner said even that isn't totally impossible. But people in the game believe that realignment for 2013 is almost a given.

How would it look? Probably a lot like the plan I detailed in a column last month.

Why will it happen? Many reasons, but fairness is at the top of the list.

"Fundamentally, it's arithmetic," Weiner said. "[The players] take the competition very seriously. They want the competition to be fair. I know why 16-14 came about, but it's like the U.S. Open, if you had a different number of players on the two sides of the draw."

Under the current format, the National League Central has six teams, while the American League West has four (and the other four divisions have five teams apiece). By moving the Astros from the NL Central to the AL West, or by moving the Diamondbacks from the NL West to the AL West and then shifting the Astros to the NL West, you would have six five-team divisions, and you'd have a schedule that makes much more sense than the one in use now.

Both Selig and Weiner indicated that the details of realignment have not yet been decided, and Selig insisted that a resolution and an announcement are not "imminent." But with both sides so open to it, it's hard to believe now that it won't happen.

What won't happen, it seems, is a move to unify the designated hitter rule. Both Selig and Weiner suggested that with limited realignment and no significant increase in interleague play (most likely, each team would play no more than 30 interleague games in a 162-game schedule), the current system of a DH in one league and not in the other would not be changed.

"It would take some type of catalytic event to deal with that issue," Selig said.

While using the DH in both leagues (or in neither league), would make more sense, there's far too much resistance to that change.

"Good luck doing that," one baseball official said.

One change that could be made: A reverse use of the DH rule in interleague games, with the DH used in National League parks, and with National League (no DH) rules used in American League parks.

Another change that is coming, without a doubt: Adding one playoff team per league, with a either a play-in game or play-in series involving the two wild-card teams. The momentum seems now to be heading towards going with the one-game play-in -- and that's a good thing.

The playoff change could well happen in 2012. Realignment may wait for 2013.

But all the momentum now is in favor of it happening.


Since: Jan 13, 2008
Posted on: July 14, 2011 6:17 pm

Realignment is on the way

If that is is the case than why not have the Yankees, Boston & Philly just automatically make the playoffs every year. I think baseball should not be about who has the biggest checkbook, but rather who can bring up the best talent, but baseball got rid of that and basically, it is whoever can buy the best talent. Its aggravating to watch the Yankees buy their way to the playoffs each and every year, with such an enormous payroll and the money to buy whatever talent is available. If you really believe this, I guarantee every year there will be consistently the same 4-6 teams making it. If that is the case than what is the point in having baseball? Why not just make MLB 6 teams, the ones that will always make it and get rid of the other 24 teams that will never make it? Its rediculous that this is even worth bringing up. Baseball is fine how it is and if they want to fix it, get rid of 2 teams and make it like it used to be with 14 & 14 AL-NL with 2 divisions for each league like it originally was before 1994 in the pre-divisional era with the best team from the East & West for the AL & NL going to the playoffs and making the pennant worth something again.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: July 14, 2011 3:50 pm

Realignment is on the way

Here is the Best "Travel Friendly" Realignment Scenario with some pontential for great matchups!

Al East: Red Sox, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays

Al Central:Twins, Brewers, Tigers, Royals, Cardinals

Al West: Mariners, Giants, Angels, Dodgers, Athletics

Nl East: Braves, Rays, Marlins, Orioles, Nationals

Nl Central: Indians, Reds, White Sox, Cubs, Pirates

Nl West: Padres, Diamondbacks, Astros, Rockies, Rangers
What did the Blue Jays ever do to you?

Since: Sep 28, 2007
Posted on: July 13, 2011 11:06 pm

Realignment is on the way

Are you paying attention?  You can't have realignment that they are talking about and get rid of interleague play.  You'd have 15 teams and 15 the math.  The whole idea of it would be you'd have at least one interleague series happening throughout the season.  If you want to get rid of interleague play (which I totally disagree with as I enjoy seeing a variety of teams throughout the year), then you'd have to keep it at even number of teams in each league.

I do agree that they should get rid of the DH; baseball is the only sport I know of that you can play completely different rules depending on the league or park you're in.  It doesn't make sense.  Either have the DH everywhere or nowhere; preferrably eliminate the DH.

Since: Jan 19, 2009
Posted on: July 13, 2011 5:58 pm

Realignment is on the way

wiscgc i agree wholeheartedly get rid of the dh make two 15 league teams and have TWO playoff teams in each conference. Afterall the difference between national league and american league has passed log ago.  Thanks to free agency.  So the "style" or players are inter mixed Its like th old NFL AFL once the merge happened gradually the league was the same.  and if that doesnt work contraction is always a consideration

Since: Dec 8, 2008
Posted on: July 13, 2011 5:46 pm

Realignment is on the way

you are correct.  which means that my option (a) is not valid (I added that at last minute).  But option "b" playing "natural rival" home and home series in the non-interleague years I think is still valid.

Since: Jan 3, 2008
Posted on: July 13, 2011 5:34 pm

Realignment is on the way

ANY realignment plan has to include the elimination of interleague games, that has to be a given. And limit the number of playoff teams from each league to no more than 6, even that seems a bit high though.

And eliminate the DH, make all the teams use the same strategies in that respect. This is another experiment long past its due, get rid of it.

Since: Mar 25, 2008
Posted on: July 13, 2011 5:30 pm

Realignment is on the way

Sorry...the DH is BS.  Needs to be eliminated.  There is no other sport that has such a moronic position.  It makes sense in a softball beer league so that everyone can hit, but needs to be taken out of the professional game in my opinion.  People need to play the field in order to get AB's.  The National League game is so much more interesting.  So may different things play out late in games & the managers actually have to think & make moves with pinch hitters, etc.  Pitchers should be able to swing the bat.  The ones that can give their team a big advantage on nights they pitch.  I just don't agree with people walking up to the plate 4 or 5 times a game & taking some hacks without having to make an actual baseball play throughout the game.  Never liked it, never will. 

Since: Jan 13, 2008
Posted on: July 13, 2011 5:20 pm

Realignment is on the way

I am for adding 2 more teams and making 4 divisions. My 2 cities to add teams would be: Mexico City and Providence, Rhode Island, although Mexico City may be a reach, baseball is huge in Mexico and with the largest city in North America, I am sure there would be some type of draw for fans, but it may be difficult, but not far-fetched. As for Providence, Rhode Island, it lies between 3 major metropolitan areas (New York, Boston & Philadelphia) + a few smaller metro areas (Hartford, Stamford, Bridgeport) and with the Northeast proving to be such a huge market for Major League Baseball, why can't Providence with almost 1.6 million (metro) have a team? I think a rivalry would be created instantly, however for this to work, they would have to have a large payroll and the talent to compete. Other metros that possibly could support a team: Memphis, Nashville, Indianapolis, Orlando, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, Portland, New Orleans, San Antonio, Jacksonville and possibly Omaha. All of those have a metro with over 1 million and would be solid candidates to potentially have a team.

Since: Sep 19, 2007
Posted on: July 13, 2011 5:19 pm

Realignment is on the way

Bud Selig is a moron. the realignment plan is beyond stupid.  If he had anything resembling a brain in his  pinhead he'd simply expand the AL by two teams in cities like San Antonio and Nashville. They would also move Tampa to Orlando where they should have been all along. Orlando has a much younger demo and on top of it they have a better chance of drawing from all of central Florida.  Also, with expanding the AL to 16 instead of the idiotic 15 15 format you can move to 4 divisions in each league. You could either leave the number of playoff teams the same and have only division winners or add two  wildcards in each league. Then you could have the top two division winners in each league get a bye and have the two  division winners with the worst record play the wildcard teams in a best of 3 series. To give the division winners the advantage you could have the division winners host the whole 3 game series or you could go 1-1-1. Also blow up interleague play it was a fad that was cool for a year or too but absolutely needs to be dumped.

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: July 13, 2011 5:00 pm

Realignment is on the way

Well stated SB dumb can it be to have 8 teams in each league make the playoffs?  Why would anyone push their pitchers if they basically have a lock into a playoff spot, making much of the regulatr season meaningless.  Do the smart thing.  Expand the league by 2 and go with two 16 team divisions...someone previously proposed San Antonio and Vancouver.  I am not sure how popular baseball is in Vancouver, but San Antonio instead of Mexico City is a good trade off, but I still think Nashville is the best option for the other expansion site.

I dont like the idea of Florida being oput into an AL Easty instead of the Orioles.  I rather have a new AL Southeast division with Nashville joining Tampa and Florida and Atlanta being put into the AL.  And the new NL Southwest division would have San Antonio, Arizona, Houston and Texas becoming an NL team.  Or you could flip it and it would be an NL Southeast division with Tampa being just the one team switching to the NL and the other division becomes an AL Southwest with Houston and Arizona switching to the AL....

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