Guest Author - Joe Mancini
So in the last two weeks we have disposed of the archaic and unnecessary American and National Leagues while making the Designated Hitter the law of the land and reassigning the teams into five six-team divisions with sensible schedules and predictable travel patterns. Now we will discuss how to structure the post-season, leading up to the World Series.
When you think of the World Series you naturally think of the NL and AL: after all, this is what the World Series was, the meeting of two league champions, and only Major League Baseball could claim that since the NFL absorbed the AFL forty-plus years ago.
Now think about this: if the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were to meet in the World Series, say, or the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs were to engage in the Fall Classic, would anyone really mind? I don’t think the network suits would. I think they’d be thrilled!
The talk is that two teams will be added to the post-season, possibly as early as 2012 whether or not there is any wholesale realignment. So let’s say we’re going to have ten teams in our post-season, the five divisional winners, who will have earned their tickets, and then the five teams with the next-best records. Ten teams in the post-season is still less than the NFL, NHL, or NBA.
So it is indeed possible that one division could send all six of its teams into October, but overall it’s unlikely; far likelier is that one or more divisions will send only its division winner into the post-season. As I write this, we would see three Northeast division teams (Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees) in the post-season, with Atlanta qualifying in the Southeast, Milwaukee and Detroit in the Midwest, Texas and Arizona in the Southwest, and San Francisco and the LA Angels in the Pacific. The four lowest seeds among the Wildcards will square off in best-of-three qualifying series, 10 vs. 7 and 8 vs. 9. The low seeds would have to win 13 games to become World Champions, a formidable obstacle. You might want those first series to be best-of-five meaning 14 wins would be required; that would almost certainly mean a last-week of March Opening Day in order to keep the post-season away from November.
So now you ask what about the All-Star Game? How will that be handled? And to that I say, no problem: we will handle it like MLB currently handles its showcase of prospects, the Futures Game: the US vs. the World. No longer would the All-Star game determine who gets home-field advantage for the World Series (a terrible idea in any event), the marketing potential for the game becomes vastly greater as Asia, Canada and Latin America become fully engaged with defined cheering interests.
I must admit I am pleased with my handiwork. Do I expect it to come to fruition? Not at all. My soapbox here at BellaOnline is quite low-rise, I assure you! But I promise I’ll even check my e-mail (which I am not good about generally) if you’d like to send some comments about my proposal.