I am for the realignment concept, but it would mean the end of AL/NL distinctions as the playoffs would be determined by regional champions and would often feature 2 teams in the World Series that were formerly in the same league. Don’t know if this would work…it would also mean that the DH rule would apply across the board, whether it be retained or absolved.
I don’t think that teams should play all of their games within their region. I would at least support a number of games out of conference that rotate each year. As much as I would like to see my team play the local regional teams, I would still want the opportunity to see superstars from out of conference teams.
I am totally agreed that there should be no 5 game playoff series in baseball. it isn’t fair for the better team. Only 3 starters are usually used in the current 5 game format and it neutralizes a team that has much better pitching from the 4-5 spot in the rotation. A mediocre team with horrible 3-5 pitchers, could basically build around a strong 1-2 and make a strong playoff run should they sneak into the playoffs. I am an Angels fan and wish that the Angels would have had a chance to throw Jered Weaver against Red Sox’ Tim Wakefield, but such wasn’t the case. Basketball even recently did away with their 5 game format…but their playoffs take a whole month.
If we keep the current playoff system, then I would at least support only 1 off day in each playoff series, forcing teams to have to use their 4th starter, even in a 5 game series. I think Bud Selig has already suggested such for next year.
At the very minimum, if these drastic changes suggested by Whicker weren’t adopted, I would suggest: shortening the season back to 156, extend 1st round of playoffs to 7 games with only 1 off day for each series, increase roster for All-Star game and eliminate 1 player per team requirement with the exception of having one player for representative city.
Enjoy Whicker’s article…
It’s time to realign baseball
The game isn’t broken but there is a lot of room for improvement.
The Orange County Register
There should never be a baseball game in March or November.
There should never be a five-game series in postseason play.
Too many undeserving teams make it to the postseason, which is why we have so many sweeps and dull best-of-5 series.
The league formats are archaic and already have been disbanded in most ways, including umpiring and administration.
If it’s fine for the Angels and Dodgers to play six times a year, why not 18?
For all these reasons, it’s time to realign baseball.
Although it isn’t broken, it can be improved. Attendance can rise. Local TV ratings can jump, with more games in prime time.
And there is little question that playoff baseball would be better played if it were done in two best-of-7 game series. Boston is forecasting a low of 34 degrees Wednesday, which would be Game 1 of the World Series.
So let’s start by paring down six divisions to three:
WEST: Dodgers, Angels, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Houston.
CENTRAL: Cubs, White Sox, Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh.
EAST: Yankees, Mets, Boston, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, Toronto, Florida, Tampa Bay, Atlanta.
The three winners get to the playoffs and the team with the best record gets the home field throughout.
There is one wild card. It will be seeded fourth and will not have home advantage in any series.
With two rounds, the semifinals could begin Oct. 10 and the World Series could begin Oct.21 and end no later than Oct.29. Next year’s World Series is scheduled to end Nov. 4. Keep in mind that the new ballpark in Minneapolis, scheduled to open in 2010, will have no roof.
That means the regular season would not have to begin until April 6 or so. Or it could start a few days earlier and allow a more leisurely regular season, with added off-days to anticipate makeup games.
Baseball had 10-team leagues from 1961 until it split into four six-team divisions in 1969. It’s true that fewer teams would be in contention, but that wouldn’t necessarily dampen the attendance.
The Rockies were nowhere near true contention this year and drew 2.6 million, their best figure since 2002. Detroit was 74-88 and drew an all-time record 3.2 million. Toronto was never in danger of winning anything and drew 2.399 million, tops since 1998.
But a new scheduling plan would almost certainly boost attendance everywhere.
With a 10-team division, it’s simple to arrange 18 meetings with every other club. It comes out to 162 games. That’s nine Dodgers visits to Anaheim. That’s 18 Cubs-White Sox games.
And new relationships would spring up. If you’re Florida, you get nine visits by the Yankees andMets. Maybe Florida-Tampa Bay would get intense, or Cleveland-Cincinnati, or Baltimore-Washington, with those ballparks just 40 miles apart.
Better yet, all 162 games in the East would happen in the Eastern Time zone, which means the advertisers would get a prime-time bang every night.
For the Angels, just 18 of their road games would be played outside the Pacific or Mountain zones. No more of those 4 p.m. weekday road starts, from the East, that get swallowed up in the commute.
The only two teams that would be disadvantaged are Houston and Texas, since they would be the only Central-based teams in the West Division. But none of their road games would begin later than 9 p.m. The Astros and Rangers would also have 18 games against each other. In Houston’s case, the Dodgers rivalry from the old NL West would be revived.
Now, you’re a Boston fan living in Orange County and you’re reading this and you’re already screaming because you think you’ll never see your beloved Red Sox in person.
Well, you’re right. That’s why Major League Baseball provides Web casts and a satellite-TV package.
No one in Boston, Detroit, Baltimore or Cleveland saw Willie Mays play or Sandy Koufax pitch in the regular season. No one in San Francisco or L.A. saw Carl Yastrzemski or Jim Palmer.
When the postseason comes, there should be a layer of mystery, with teams that don’t know each other’s secrets.
This setup would eliminate the unfairness that lurks inside the current schedule, with the erratic interleague games. The Dodgers had to play the Angels, the winningest team in baseball, six times. Arizona did not play the Angels once. If Arizona had beaten the Dodgers by one game in the NL West, that issue might have come up.
So this realignment lengthens the offseason, takes some of the happenstance out of the playoffs, eliminates the cross-country travel that subtly fatigues the players (no matter how luxurious their 747s are), and drums up more box-office and TV revenue.
And the brilliance of this plan is so breathtaking that its author doesn’t mind if Bud Selig says he designed it himself.