He grew up in the sport as a catcher with great coaches who taught him to love and respect the game and the team. Stark notes that none of this is likely to happen until the situation with the Tampa Bay Rays is settled — whether they get a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, split their time with Montreal (a colossally dumb idea, in my view) or move full-time to Montreal or elsewhere. Mexico’s capital city could become the third MLB expansion team located internationally, behind the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos. Others? Downsides? 2) Equally intermix 4 AL & 4 NL teams in each division (to balance DH rule). 4) AL teams keep DH, NL teams … Throw out fans' reactions. Despite the current landscape of the game with proposed rule changes and debating stadium netting, neither topic was broached. The Rays and Orioles would become N.L. People moan about everything, but, hey, at least they care. What are some things that you would like to see happen with MLB realignment? Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. The second approach scraps league affiliation altogether and puts all of MLB in four divisions. 3) Move Minnesota to West Conf. Now would be the time to test whether Selig was on to something. Both expansion teams — Montreal and Portland — would become A.L. Those matchups are the main attractions of interleague play, another Selig-backed innovation. (And yes, I know the “A.L. With three 10-team divisions, there has to be a leaguewide playoff format rather than a division-based setup. If these three divisions become the norm, then teams will inevitably separate and the races will just become . So, there are two approaches I took to this little exercise. teams. Seeing powerful teams from different divisions thrown together for an abbreviated season is a wonderful novelty. Do you think Bud Selig is trying to contain a smile or a wry chuckle right now? Here's what you need to know about the KBO. Let me be clear. Brad joins Baseball Together with a love for baseball and a passion to share it with others. Rather, the conversation was directed toward MLB expansion to 32 MLB teams, complete league realignment, and Wild Card expansion. alignment I’m proposing.). My feelings? When the owners and players compare notes in CBA negotiations afterward, they ought to agree that it's good business to embrace at least some of the changes. The 2020 MLB season is becoming as much of a research project as a sporting competition. Teams: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays. Yes, the Colorado Rockies get the short of the stick in the South with the likes of the Braves and Marlins, but it’s more fitting to have the Rockies in that group than the Diamondbacks. podcast) last Thursday and the conversation turned to a major overhaul in Major East: Blue Jays, Montreal, Red Sox, Yankees, A.L. By adding a fourth division, travel is cut down within each division. There's a lot for people in the game to like about all of this long term: potentially less travel, more intense rivalries, extra playoff teams. No team wants to play a one-game series if it can avoid it. I chose to realign the leagues using four divisions with inspiration from the NBA and NFL. . Here we go. This is an extreme yet encouraging talking point given the typical doomsday talk about the state of baseball that typically graces radio airwaves. South” here only has two truly “southern” teams — the terminology is simply to be consistent with the N.L. Maybe the schedule wouldn't work over a full season. Last week, Jayson Stark of The Athletic posted an article in which he laid out several concepts or changes he expects to happen in Major League Baseball within the next decade. It would also represent the first American major league sports franchise established in Mexico in the fifth largest city in the world. This would require MLB to make a sweeping declaration regarding the designated hitter, re-think playoff structure, and overhaul division scheduling. & Chicago Sox to East Conf. clubs would remain in the “new” American League. EAST: Orioles, Red Sox, Marlins, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, Rays, Blue Jays, Nationals.CENTRAL: Braves, Cubs, White Sox, Reds, Indians, Tigers, Royals, Brewers, Twins, Cardinals.WEST: Diamondbacks, Rockies, Astros, Angels, Dodgers, Athletics, Padres, Giants, Mariners, Rangers. Population: 252,555. Based on the hypothetical realignment told to USA Today's Bob Nightengale on Tuesday, not only would the Subway, Freeway, Windy City and other regional series become more meaningful, but baseball could also have these division races in 2020: East: Yankees-Rays-NationalsCentral: Braves-Twins-CardinalsWest: Astros-Dodgers-Athletics. So we’re likely not going to have any expansion for at least eight more years. Upgrading them to division games would add tons of heat, especially in a year when the New York, LA and Chicago teams all have eyes on the playoffs. Scheduling divisions like this is another story, and I’ll get to that in a future part of this series. A few more thoughts about MLB expansion and realignment. He can't show happiness over reports MLB is considering a version of his '90s radical realignment plan because the coronavirus pandemic is the reason it's being discussed. For the sake of fun, the two expansion teams I’ve included are my dream expansion cities (highlighted in red): Montreal, Quebec and Portland, Oregon. Expansion isn’t the touchy part — pretty much everyone figures MLB will eventually have 32 teams — but it’s the realignment that gets people all hot and bothered. He learned how to throw a 2-seam fastball before he could write his own name. AL East. West: Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Padres, A.L. This version of the MLB league realignment is essentially the same as the previous, but the league affiliations are removed entirely. MLB has toyed with the idea of expansion… Still, I’ll repeat that I believe no one wants more than 10 percent of the schedule played against an in-city rival. We’ll save Wild Card expansion for another day. This is how the new format might look. A recent article in Baseball America suggested MLB is considering an expansion to 32 teams and a 156-game schedule. The impetus to finally “get around to it” on MLB expansion, realignment and scheduling came from this Jayson Stark article at The Athletic, posted Wednesday. In fact, this column is predicting that it’s going to happen in the next 10 years – as part of this seismic shift in the baseball universe: Blurring the traditional lines between the American League and National League, or eliminating those leagues completely. That being said, I want to have some fun with the ideas of MLB realignment and expansion and throw around some ideas I have about what new divisions might look like that include two new MLB teams. If a baseball fan from 1920 were suddenly to materialize at a ballgame in 2020, he or she would definitely recognize the game being played on the field — nine fielders, nine hitters, three outs per inning, four balls for a walk, three strikes for an out, etc., but would also note many differences. Central: Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Reds, N.L. One of the major changes you’ll notice is that the Houston Astros are grouped in the South division with the likes of the Miami Marlins, Atlanta Braves, and Tampa Bay Rays. Two of those three are expansion teams, though, with shorter histories in their current league, and the benefit here is that none of these divisions would have more than one hour’s difference between any of the cities, and five of the eight would be within a single time zone. intact. It’s the “blurring” or “eliminating” or the American League and National League as they currently exist that I’m dead-set against. Is there a topic you’d like to hear/read about? The six division winners receive byes now, but realignment should ensure that teams still have an incentive to finish first. Sure, New York state may have two baseball teams already. PLAN B - 4 Large 8-Team Divisions - Intermix AL & NL Teams in Each Division. East: Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates, N.L. teams and the Rockies would switch to the A.L. Here's what you need to know about the KBO, told to USA Today's Bob Nightengale on Tuesday. We need the Expos back so we can see those fantastic hats on a regular basis and, as a native of the Pacific Northwest, I’m biased toward MLB expanding to Portland. Former I have previously written on this topic here, here, here and here, so you might think I don’t have anything more to say on it... but of course I do! Brad has had a passion for baseball since he could walk up to a batting tee. West: Angels, Athletics, Mariners, Portland, There would be a fair amount of league-swapping in this setup to help make the alignment geographically compact. This would help create a new Canadian rivalry, Toronto vs. Montreal. MORE: Starving for baseball? For the sake of anyone who isn’t immediately familiar with the current MLB division alignment, here’s an image that shows the present landscape. MLB's reported wild realignment and expansion plan: Is it cool? Expansion isn’t the touchy part — pretty much everyone figures MLB will eventually have 32 teams — but it’s the realignment that gets people all hot and bothered. What about a 12-team field, then, with the division winners and the top wild-card team getting byes into the second round and the other eight clubs matched up in four wild-card games? races. I thought I’d try to tackle some of the other things in Stark’s article, and I’ll begin today with MLB expansion and realignment, always a touchy subject. These are just two of a myriad of possibilities that we could see with expansion and league realignment. and A.L. The second half of the season will be easier on teams as they likely won’t have to travel quite as much as they would have had to with previous league designations. Here’s a good realignment which keeps geography close, preserves traditional rivalries and keeps most of the current N.L. Yes, the Astros and Dodgers would be division rivals again after 27 years, which means they'd see enough of each other in the proposed 100 or 110-game regular season for LA to settle scores over 2017. Longest flight: Toronto to Boston (1 hour, 45 minutes) The new-look AL East ditches the geographical outlier Tampa Bay Rays and in turn becomes MLB’s most pain-free travel divisions.
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