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: Mar 3, 2008
Posted on: July 13, 2011 3:03 am

Realignment is on the way

The Cards won the NL's Central Division title in 2006. Research much?

Since: Mar 10, 2008
Posted on: July 13, 2011 3:02 am

Realignment is on the way

East- Yankees, Boston, Florida, Tampa Bay
North- Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore
Central- Minnesota, Texas, White Sox, Milwaukee
Pacific- Seatle, Angels, Oakland, Vancouver

East- Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington, NY Mets
Midwest- Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cubs, St Louis
South- San Antonio, Kansas City, Colorado, Houston
Southwest- Arizona, Dodgers, San Diego, San Francisco

sman please let them do that it makes about as much sense as any other proposal,and finnally the jays can win a division without having to beat Boston and the Yanks in the same year.  

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: July 13, 2011 2:39 am

Realignment is on the way

I can't believe they are seriously considering taking away National League Baseball from Texas.  Arizona should go to the AL. Better yet send Milwaukee back to the AL, out the in the Central and move KC to the AL West.  The Brewers had stronger rivalries with the White Sox, Twins, and Tigers, then they do with the Cardinals or Cubs.

I think Interleague play on a daily basis will ruin the traditonal mystque MLB holds over the NBA, NHL, and NFL.

I would rather see the MLB stay with the 16/14 split, but go back to the 4 division alignment, 7 (AL West, AL East) and 8 (NL West, NL East).  What would be unfair about those playoffs odds? The Wildcard teams would be the top 2 non-division winners regardless of Division.  Under my proposed 4 Division format, NYY. BOS, and TB could all 3 make the playoffs if they have 3 of the 4 best AL records.


Since: Aug 14, 2007
Posted on: July 13, 2011 12:30 am

Realignment is on the way

KenValpo. You are correct in that the only Brewers' pennant was in the AL. But, history goes back longer than a generation. The city of Milwaukee had the Braves as a NL team and won their 1 and only World Series.

As a Brewer fan and for selfish reasons, I want them to stay in the NL.

Since: Aug 14, 2007
Posted on: July 13, 2011 12:23 am

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.

Why does the regular season have to be such a marathon and the post season a sprint?  If the 2006 Wildcard St.Louis Cardinals can win the World Series with a regular season record of 83-75, why not give a team like the Pittsburgh Pirates or Washington Nationals (this year) a chance?

Would it happen? Probably not for a 16 seed except on a rare occasion. But, I could see the entertainment value in a match up of 16 Pitt/Wash vs. 1 Philly/NYY/Bos. Teams would at least have a chance if they can maintain a .500 or better record. Teams such as the Royals, Brewers, Pirates, Nationals, & Orioles would/could be contenders more often than their once in a decade (or longer) shot.

Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: July 13, 2011 12:21 am

Realignment is on the way

Respect for history would call for the Brewers to return to the AL.  Milwaukee would go into the AL Central, as part of a very geographically compact division around the Great Lakes--White Sox, Twins, Brewers, Tigers and Indians.  The Royals would go to the West, a division to which they belonged until the realignment into three divisions.  That makes more sense than anything else.  Why put teams that have been in the NL for their whole history into the AL, when there is a team that was in the AL to begin with, whose only pennant in its history was in the AL?

Since: Oct 8, 2006
Posted on: July 13, 2011 12:07 am

Realignment is on the way

Arizona goes to the AL West and Houston goes to the NL West.  Thats my opinion.  Baseball is way too conservative and opposed to change to do anything major or radical.  They are all about tradition, even though it will evolve, and it's necessary to evolve, MLB won't do anything major.

Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: July 12, 2011 11:59 pm

Realignment is on the way

cant move milwaukee AGAIN and oklahoma city would be a better expansion site than vancouver.  if playiung in april in cleveland is bad, how bad will it be in vancouver?  how many fans are gonna show up if the hockey team makes the stanley cup?  okc has proven it can and will support major league sports.

put milw in your nl midwest, kc in the al central and okc in the nl south.

i also think brooklyn should get a team, maybe instead of san antonio.

Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: July 12, 2011 11:53 pm

Realignment is on the way

10th batter. That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard !!

Since: Jun 20, 2011
Posted on: July 12, 2011 11:48 pm

Realignment is on the way

Wow people are making this realignement much harder then it needs to be. Either move Houston directly to the AL West or the Astros to the NL West and have Arizona or Colorado go to the NL West. Done. Also, does someone really think expansion is the right idea? That has to be the stupidest idea: there are too many teams as it is. They should contract 2 teams before they add any. And it doesnt seem like there will be any consensus on the DH rule (the current set-up is a dis-advantage for the NL, not the AL as somebody suggested) so it will probably stay as is. Is inter-league play every day of the season really going to be that big of a deal? Here is what you do: do what they do now, where most of inter-league play is done at one time. Outside of that, you only have one inter-league series going on at one time. This means it would take 7.5 weeks to cycle thru every team. Is having your team play one inter-league series in 7.5 weeks really a big problem?

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