Last week you will recall I laid out the case for dissolving the National and American Leagues in pursuit of a workable realignment for MLB. I dropped my habitual resistance to the Designated Hitter as a necessary step towards that realignment.
Today I will unveil my new, improved, Major League Baseball structure. It addresses many of the concerns presented by other realignment schemes that attempt to maintain the charade of separate leagues. The schedules work. Everyone will play everyone else in every season. Travel is minimized with compact geographical arrangements. Ready? Here goes!
First, we will divide the 30 teams into five six-team divisions. Since we no longer have separate leagues, we can have five divisions. This enables each team to play its five divisional rivals 18 times each season, six series of three games each. No more four-game series; no more “wrap-arounds” that begin on Friday and end on Monday; no more ugly two-game series. Three at home, three away; that takes care of 90 games.
Next, teams will play the other 24 teams not in their division three times each season. Two of the other divisions will be home games, the other two will be away games; the next year the polarities are reversed. Everyone gets the big draws, e.g. New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs etc. at home every other year. That gives us 72 games, and how do you like that, we are at 162 games! A veritable model of simplicity!
Here are my suggested divisions:
Northeast Southeast Midwest Southwest Pacific
Balt. Orioles Atlanta Braves Chicago Cubs Arizona D-backs LA Angels
Boston Red Sox Cin. Reds Chi White Sox Col. Rockies LA Dodgers
New York Mets Clev. Indians Detroit Tigers Hou. Astros Oakland A’s
NY Yankees Miami Marlins Milw. Brewers K.C. Royals SD Padres
Phila. Phillies Tampa Bay Rays Minn. Twins StL. Cardinals SF Giants
Wash. Nationals Pitts. Pirates Tor. Blue Jays Texas Rangers Sea. Mariners
At first glance you might think it silly to put Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Cleveland in the Southeast, but this mirrors the AFC North division and those cities have ongoing rivalries. Most of the other important regional rivalries are preserved, Yankees-Red Sox, Dodgers-Giants, while it is true that we lose the Cardinals-Cubs but something has to give and the Cards and Royals should be in the same division. Three of the new divisions are entirely within one time-zone, and no division consists of more than two. I put the Nationals into the Northeast and we have an “Acela” division. This division will recreate the romance of the days when big-league teams traveled by rail. Next time we’ll cover the new, improved post-season.