Guest Author - Joe Mancini
It seems stunning that we are at the 10th anniversary of the terrible events of September 11, 2001. Thousands are still grieving for their lost loved ones from that day, and thousands more are grieving for their lost loved ones from the aftermath of a decade of war that day left in its wake.
The country literally stopped in its tracks for almost a week, including Major League Baseball, before resuming with a rousing post-season that ran into November because of the delays. Baseball was part of the healing process and helping the nation return to a sense of “normalcy”, and all the games this day will have commemorations.
The last three weeks I have laid out a plan to restructure baseball for the 21st Century, with rationalized divisions, scheduling, and “greener” travel. I hope you have enjoyed my work. Today let’s follow up with how the playoff picture would look if this season were being played under my realignment plan. This is as of Friday, September 09, 2011.
We would have the five divisional leaders and they would be:
“Acela” Division: Philadelphia Phillies (this would more likely be called Northeast).
“Rustbelt-Sunbelt” Division: Atlanta Braves (I would call it Mideast).
Southwest Division: Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Black and Blue” Division Milwaukee Brewers (I would call this Midwest).
Pacific Division: Los Angeles Angels.
Then we would have our five wild-card leaders, in order:
New York Yankees (Acela).
Boston Red Sox (Acela).
Texas Rangers (Southwest).
Detroit Tigers (Black and Blue).
Tampa Bay Rays (Rustbelt-Sunbelt).
So only the Pacific Division would not have a Wild Card qualifier as of today. Yet we would have the following teams well within striking distance:
St. Louis Cardinals (Southwest) at 2.5 games out.
San Francisco Giants (Pacific) at 3.5 games out.
This stacks up well against the current Wild Card races that find the Rays and Cards both 6.5 games behind with a rapidly dwindling schedule available to make up lost ground.
The Yankees and Red Sox, separated by 2.5 games at present, would be fighting over the top Wild Card seed and this would be a gaudy prize, since it would guarantee a first-round bye and a chance to set up pitching and heal the wounded. This is of more value than the current difference it will make to those teams as to which wins the division and which goes in as the Wild Card.