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: Jun 20, 2011
Posted on: July 13, 2011 4:37 pm

Realignment is on the way

Shorten the season and expand the playoffs.

Make the playoffs for the top 16 teams. Also, expand each series to a best of 9 (3 home, 3 away, 3 home) rather than it's current best of 7 or 5 format.
This is the worst idea that has been posted on here. Having 16 teams making the playoffs have made the NHL and NBA regular seasons completly meaningless. I am a huge hockey fan, but I barely watch any regular season games. I am fine with expanding the MLB playoffs to 10, but that is the absolute max.

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: July 13, 2011 4:32 pm

Realignment is on the way

DH to the NL...sacrilege...the whole point of baseball is to make all the players play, including hitting.  DH destroys the sanctity of baseball...

Since: Dec 28, 2006
Posted on: July 13, 2011 4:27 pm

Realignment is on the way

Knobler, there is a much simpler plan for realignment...add two teams!  Then there will be two leagues of 16 teams and four divisions in each league.

I would then prefer that each division winner would advance to the playoffs with no wild card.  But if they insisted on a wild card, they could add two in each league and give the two best division records a first round bye.  So 6 playoff teams in each league.

I dont want to hear the argument that this will dilute the plan calls for the elimination of the DH, immediately putting out about 14 DH hitters that would be available to the two new expansion teams.  A draft taking just one player from each of the other 30 teams, creates an immediate talent pool of 44 players for 2 teams needing 50 total players.  Allow those two expansion teams the ability to draft one other player from each team's 40 man roster, you now have a talent pool of 74 players .  If I can pick out 15 players from current rosters and another 15 from 40-man rosters and 7 DH hitters, I think I can build a .500 team immediately. 

Now about location.  I always thought baseball should formally expand into Mexico with a Mexico City team and then Charlotte or Nashville getting the other team.  I think Nashville would be more ideal because they only have an NFL team and the closest MLB city to Nashville would be probably St. Louis or Cincinnati or Atlanta, so a decent area from Northern Mississippi and Alabama and greater TN would allow them to draw a decent fan base from

Since: Nov 23, 2007
Posted on: July 13, 2011 4:01 pm

Realignment is on the way

Never heard of Minasodia?? Is that near Millwalkie???

Since: Nov 23, 2007
Posted on: July 13, 2011 3:59 pm

Realignment is on the way

Get the DH to the NL....Watching pitchers hit is hardly exciting and almost a guaranteed out....Pitchers should pitch and hitters should hit....

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: July 13, 2011 3:54 pm

Realignment is on the way

A 10th batter? Only a Mets fan would say that.

And Minasodia is classic.

Since: Jun 14, 2010
Posted on: July 13, 2011 3:45 pm

Realignment is on the way

D-Backs to the AL West makes more sense than the Astros. Expansion team and why two AL teams in Texas?  AZ would effectively trade tv markets as they would gain on two (DAL and SEA vs. DEN and SD) and lose on one (SF vs. OAK).


Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: July 13, 2011 3:22 pm

Realignment is on the way

PSU - You're obviously assuming realignment has occurred, 15 teams per league. How do you avoid interleague play? The only way is to have two teams (one in each league) sit out during each series while the other 14 in their league pair up. And that is definitely not going to happen.

Since: Sep 20, 2009
Posted on: July 13, 2011 3:10 pm

Realignment is on the way

Really?  "Minasodia"?  Your opinion would be received more seriously if you knew how to spell Minnesota.  They have won two World Series, and have produced several Hall of Fame players.  Are you from Cuntuckeee?

Since: Jul 16, 2008
Posted on: July 13, 2011 2:52 pm

Realignment is on the way

Why not move Milwaukee Brewers back to the AL.  Put them in the AL central and then move Kansas City or Minasodia out west?

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