A look at MLB Realignment

MLB Map

A lot of analytics and simulations have gone into the blog this week.  But it’s Friday so let’s have some fun with today’s post.  With the Rams (and possibly the Chargers) moving to Los Angeles, it got me thinking of what other teams could move in the sports world.  So play along with me as I change the entire structure of Major League Baseball.

Add 2 Expansion Teams

In this fantasy land, we’ll add two additional baseball teams bringing us to 32 total.  Because of this, that means the current divisional set up will no longer work.  That means we go to…

8 Divisions, 4 teams in Each Division

Eight divisions, eight division winners, eight playoff teams.  The wildcard is dead.  The stupid wildcard playoff game is dead.  I get that it’s exciting and a nice ratings play for the networks, but it is incredibly stupid to have a 162-game season determined by 1 game.  The problem is if you have a season where two or three great teams are in the same division (like 2015).  Well to combat that, you have to change the schedule…

A Very Unbalanced Schedule

In this brave new world, each team will play their divisional rivals 24 games each!  That’s four 3-game series at home, four 3-game series on the road, for each of your divisional foes.  That gives you more Red Sox vs Yankees, more Cardinals vs Cubs, more Dodgers vs Giants.  More, more, more.  And before you think that you would get tired of these games, let me remind you that the current season is roughly six months long.  On average you are playing each rival four games per month, that’s it.

To make the math work out, you would play the other 12 teams in your league 6 times each, 4 interleague opponents 3 times each, and your one interleague rival 6 times (Yankees-Mets, Dodgers-Angels, etc.)

So who gets left out of each division?  What does this all look like?  When will you get to the next bold and underlined header?

The New AL East

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Boston Red Sox
  3. Toronto Blue Jays
  4. Baltimore Orioles

Nothing too radical yet!  The AL East stays mostly intact with the relatively new Tampa Bay Rays shuffled somewhere else.  The bad news would be no longer seeing Yankees-Red Sox in the playoffs.  The good news would be no longer seeing Yankees-Red Sox in the playoffs!

The New NL East

  1. New York Mets
  2. Philadelphia Phillies
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates
  4. Montreal Expos

Boom, the first big shake-up.  Someone tell Jonah Keri to put his pants back on.  Geographically, all of these teams make sense together.  The Mets-Phillies rivalry stays intact but we lose the Braves rivalry with both teams.  Nobody said there wasn’t going to be sacrifices.  The Pirates-Phillies could develop into a great rivalry to replace Atlanta which moves to a new division.

The New AL North

  1. Detroit Tigers
  2. Minnesota Twins
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Cleveland Indians

Similar to the new AL East, this concocted division is the current AL Central division minus the defending World Champion Royals.  Tigers-Royals has been a decent matchup the last couple of years but don’t feel we would be losing too much with this new grouping.

The New NL North

  1. St. Louis Cardinals
  2. Chicago Cubs
  3. Cincinnati Reds
  4. Milwaukee Brewers

This one is pretty simple, with the current NL Central staying intact with the exception of the Pirates who are now in the NL East shown above.

The New AL South

  1. Houston Astros
  2. Texas Rangers
  3. Kansas City Royals
  4. Tampa Bay Rays

This feels like a hodgepodge division but when you look at it on a map, it makes a lot more sense.  I’m sure the Astros and Rangers would much prefer the flights to Kansas City and Tampa Bay than to Seattle and California.  I also like the idea of having a division with no traditional powerhouse teams.

The New NL South

  1. Atlanta Braves
  2. Washington Nationals
  3. Miami Marlins
  4. Havana Cubans

Not only am I solving all of baseball’s problems, I’m solving the U.S.-Cuba relations as well.  We retain three teams from the old NL East division and add in an expansion team from outside the U.S. border.  Would really be great to say “Cuba destroyed Washington today” on public transportation and see people freak out that don’t follow baseball.  Also, the mascot for the new Havana team has to be a cigar.  This is non-negotiable.

The New AL West

  1. Seattle Mariners
  2. Los Angeles Angels
  3. Oakland Athletics
  4. Colorado Rockies

Why isn’t there a designated hitter playing at Coors Field everyday?  The Rockies move to the American League as we see just how high a pitching staff’s ERA can go.  The two Texas teams are now in the South leaving the remaining AL West teams the opportunity to pad their stats with 12 visits to the Mile-High City every season.

The New NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. San Francisco Giants
  3. San Diego Padres
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks

The Rockies are in the American League where they belong, and the rest of the NL West and their rivalries remains intact.

And here are how the interleague rivalries would play out:

AL TeamNL Team
YankeesMets
Blue JaysExpos
OriolesNationals
Red SoxPhillies
TwinsBrewers
White SoxCubs
IndiansReds
TigersPirates
AstrosCubans
RangersBraves
RoyalsCardinals
RaysMarlins
MarinersPadres
AngelsDodgers
AthleticsGiants
RockiesDiamondbacks

And voila, Major League Baseball is solved.

 

©2016 Sports Insights Inc.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?