Monday, December 19, 2011

MLB Realignment: A modest..nay..crazy proposal

Those who follow baseball know that Bud Selig and the owners have worked their magic again, moving the Astros to the AL (necessitating season-long interleague play) and adding an additional wild card spot to the post-season.  Now the wild card has been good to my Sox and I've grudgingly come to accept inter-league games, but I think that because baseball has so many regular games too much post-season play will make the long season less relevant.  Baseball will start to resemble the NHL.

Speaking of which, the NHL is probably realigning into a four conference format that I kinda like. Right now it is divided into East and West Conferences with geography based divisions. But when I was kid the NHL had these crazy conferences and divisions labeled with the names of historic figures in the game.  This was because the divisions and conferences were not based on geography.  The playoff system was crazy too and teams in the same conference could face-off in the Stanley Cup final, as Boston and Montreal did in the '70s.  I was going to say they were in the same division at the time, but that was later in the '80s and I misremembered.  I always thought this was kinda cool because I believed at the time it was some old and different Canadian tradition, but the setup only began in 1974.

Anyway, all this nostalgia made me think to myself, "Self, if baseball is going to re-align, why not go all out,  chuck geography and do a radical makeover?"  So I did a bit of brainstorming and came up with a plan I could implement if I was king of the world. Note I said could, not sure I would.  I divided the leagues into conferences named after important management figures and divisions named after Hall of Famers associated with teams in each division, I am a bit stumped for one.  Since I'm assuming I would have North Korean style dictatorial powers I added an expansion team to each league. I'm open to suggestions as to where they would be located.

Look over the format and see if you can figure out the method I used to assign teams to respective conferences and divisions.

Oh yeah, as Dear Maximum Leader Commissioner I would institute salary caps and revenue sharing, so fear not A's fans.

American League
National League
Ban Jonhson Conference
J. McGraw Conference
Babe Ruth Div.
Jackie Robinson Div.

Nap  Lajoie Div. 
Honus Wagner Div.

Bart Giamatti Conference
K.M. Landis Conference
Nolan Ryan Div.
Tom Seaver Div.

Roberto Alomar Div.
to-be-named later Div.

First of all don't get too worked up, it ain't gonna happen.  You'll notice that there would be no need for a wild-card, to reach the post-season a team would need to win its division.  Yeah, in order to maximize games within a division travel would be a hassle.  Still, the more I look at it, the more I like it.

OK, if you haven't figured it out, the conferences are divided into pre-expansion and post-war expansion teams.  In the old team conferences the divisions are based on the original geographic groupings that existed before franchises moved. For example the A's started in Philly and the Twins were the original Washington Senators, so they are grouped with other northeast teams.  In the expansion conferences the divisions are based on when teams where added, or pre- and post-Bicentennial.


biglou said...

It'd be a whole lot of travel hassle, but I bet having the Red Sox and Yankees come to the Coliseum more often would have a salutary effect on attendance. . .

EdK said...

The remaining question is where to put the expansion teams. Everyone pushes Las Vegas, but although it has larger relative to the 2000 census, Vegas has been shrinking since '07 and is sliding down an economic hole. Salt lake City? Baseball is a good wholseome all-American game for the Mormon crowd. Indianapolis? Portland, OR - no, shitty sports town. San Juan?