Yes, the last thing the baseball world needs right now is another plan to re-design the league/division system. But I didn’t have much else to do with no electricity in the middle of a blizzard, so I present my three-step plan to re-align both leagues.
Step 1: Even The Leagues
Of the thirty teams in major league baseball, 14 are in the American League, and 16 in the National League. It turns out, that for once there’s a simple reason behind this. The even numbers allow all the teams to play league games at the same time. This is great, but I want things to be symmetrical.
There are two ways to even the leagues, one easy, one hard. The hard way would be to expand the AL into sixteen teams, which would probably introduce franchises in Portland, and Charlotte, and would only be able to take effect in approx. 2013. The easy way is to lose the even numbers and shift a team from the NL to the AL. In my plan, the Arizona Diamondbacks would move to the AL West, and the Houston Astros to the NL West.
Step 2: Dissolve The Divisions
With the leagues evened out, dissolve the divisions. Yes, you read that right. Combining all 15 teams into one league eliminates the scheduling bias that come from inter-division play. In the two league system, which was used by MLB through 1968, the top four teams in each league make the playoffs, with the 1st seed facing the 4th seed, and etc. (The original two league system did have one major difference compared to mine, in the old system, the winners of each league played in the World Series, and that was it for the playoffs.)
Step 3: Revise The Schedule
Inter-league play, which was only created to be a money-making fad, is abolished. Now, a team only faces off with opponents from it’s own league. Each team should play the same number of games against each opponent. In a 15 team league, that means reverting to the old 154 game schedule. playing 11 games against each of 14 opponents.
Now, where to play those eleven games? I ran through several scenarios. Suprisingly, for a series the most useful one is to play four games at each team’s home park, and three games at a neutral park. There’s a wrench in the works. This way home-field advantage isn’t skewed, and the fans, (the teams don’t care about the fans, but still), get to see a wider range of teams at their home park. For example, a scheme like this would benefit teams like the Royals and Pirates; fans might still stay away from regular games, but surely they’d show if the Red Sox and Yankees were playing at Kauffman Stadium, or if the Dodgers were battling the Giants at PNC Park.
There you have it, in a nutshell, yet another plan to improve major league baseballs scheduling.
Cover Photo by: koalazymonkey
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