Saturday, March 11, 2006

baseball realignment

So, this argument started at like 1:45 this morning at Skeeters, so it may be a bit cloudy. But it went something like this: Myself (a Yankees fan) and another guy (a Bosox fan) are arguing with a Pirates fan about what needs to be done to make Major League Baseball more competitive. The Bosox fan and myself argued (I believe the Bosox fan took my side on this) that the weaker teams need to be eliminated and play triple A.

The Pirates fan said fine, fuck you, take your eight teams and have your league and I'll watch the other league with 24 competitive teams. He was also arguing for some better form of revenue such as they have in the NFL. My argument is that it's two different games - 162 game season vs. 16, the dynamics are different, and that MLB is the American Pastime and should reflect the free enterprise system - like it always has. Yankees have always dominated because they have a bigger market and spend more money.

The problem with MLB today is that there are simply too many teams. Unlike the old days when teams would pick up and move to a more lucrative locale, all sort of litigation threats have prevented teams in bad markets - such as Miami, for example, from moving. So, you end up with expansion teams in places like Denver, instead of Denver enticing a small-market team like the Royals or Pirates to move out there. (Does anyone think the Expos moving to Washington was bad for baseball?) As it typically does, litigation has helped stifle the natural forces of free enterprise. Also, some of the expansion cities -like Tampa Bay for instance, were just bad ideas, and probably the result of some political largesse.

Anyways, one of my main points of contention with my Pirate friend's argument (and by the way, do you know how the Pirates got their nickname in the first place? yup, by signing players away from teams with less money), is that there are certainly more than eight teams that can compete with the Yankees and Bosox. So, this morning I took at look at the standings and came up with my realigned and paired down version of the major leagues that I think would be optimzed for competition and entertainment value.

Here it is:

East Coast Division
Yankees
Mets
Bosox
Baltimore
Washington
Philadelphia

Great Lakes
Cleveland
Detroit
Toronto
Chisox
Cubs
Twins

Mid-west
Braves
Cardinals
Rangers
Astros
Rockies

Pacific
Dodgers
Angels
Padres
Giants
A's
Mariners

And that's it. Simple straight forward - eight playoff teams - all first and second place teams qualify and have your playoff tournament. I've done away with American and National League distinctions because they're obsolete - I think the success of interleague play has shown that - and tried to consider both natural and traditional rivalries when putting the divisions together.

Let me know what you think.

Ralph

2 comments:

Mike said...

I agree with your logic here - though as a Pirates fan I'd hate to see the Pirates leave major league baseball.

The only thing i'd add or change is having the A's still around. Yes, they've had success but they dont have the support for a new stadium and SF already has a team. If I were MLB, I'd move the A's to a bigger market like Vegas. With no other pro franchises there, it'd be a monopoly.

Ralph said...

As far as the Pirates go, I guess the question is which is more painful - seeing the team leave or watching them not be competitive year after year? As for the A's, I just assumed because their GM wrote "Moneyball," they were in good financial shape. Without good management, I don't know that they can remain competitive. But isn't that the nature of any business?

Ralph