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Let's Realign the Divisions to Create Regional Rivalries


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I really like the realignment idea assuming we're going to a universal DH. I made this a comment elsewhere but I also thought I'd also post this as a separate blog. Here's my proposal for realignment. I know it's fantasy but hey, it's the dog days of summer so why not? 

5 divisions, not 6. 12 teams in the playoffs, The top 2 in each division plus two remaining teams teams with best records make the playoffs so there is a reward for being a little better than average. Four best records get byes while the other 8 play 3 games series down to 4. Lots of playoff games; TV loves it. The remaining 8 teams (4 with byes plus 4 first round winners) re-seed by record, not location.  During the regular season you play all of the teams in three of the other four divisions 6 times each, 3 at home, 3 away.  That's 108 games (6 times 18 - 6 teams in each division). You play the remaining games in your division. You play 11 games each year against your 5 division opponents, except one only 10 times, for 54 games, total 162. Alternatively, add a game and rotate the unbalanced 81 home/82 away schedules in each division. You could rotate through the division the one team that you "only" play 10 times and you'll have to rotate each year which team gets the extra home game, 2 you get the extra, 2 your opponent, to balance the schedule.

Division are by location to create/enhance rivalries:

West Coast Division - San Diego, LA Angels, LA Dodgers, San Francisco, Oakland/Vegas, Seattle

Southwest/Rocky Mountain Division - Houston, Texas (Dallas), Arizona, Kansas City, St. Louis, Colorado (Denver)

Midwest Division -  Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Detroit, Pittsburg or Toronto (bummer that Twins are in a different time zone, but couldn't figure out a way to fix that)

Southeast Division -  Miami, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Washington, Cincinnati, Cleveland or Baltimore (depends on whether you want the Ohio or Beltway rivalry)

Northeast Division - Boston, NY Yankees, NY Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburg or Toronto, Cleveland or Baltimore     

You rotate through the other divisions in the regular season. One year, the Twins play the Northeast, Southeast and Southwest, next year the Southeast, Southwest, West Coast, next year the Southwest, West Coast, Northeast, etc. That away the existing rivalries that are being broken up still play 6 games against each other 3 out of every 4 years like the Cubs and Cardinals. Those will fade over time; the Cubs new hated rival will be the White Sox, the Cards, the Royals.  

What do you guys think?

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I said this to you in a thread, but the Twins are in the same time zone as Chicago and Milwaukee.

Cubs and Sox are already heated rivals. It would make things even worse if they were in the same division.

I'd make it 6 divisions, though ... and you can still have 12 teams in the playoffs ... 2 from each division.

6 division as I'd do it: NE - Boston, NYY, NYM, Phila, Balt; SE - WashDC, Atl, Mia, Rays, Reds; MW-east - Cleveland, T'ronto, Pitts, Detroit, ChiSox (although that makes the ChiSox the only team in the central time zone); MW-west - Milwaukee, Cubs, MN, StL, KC; SW - Houston, TX, CO, AZ, SD; West - LAA, LAD, SF, Oak, Sea

 

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8 hours ago, Squirrel said:

I said this to you in a thread, but the Twins are in the same time zone as Chicago and Milwaukee.

Cubs and Sox are already heated rivals. It would make things even worse if they were in the same division.

I'd make it 6 divisions, though ... and you can still have 12 teams in the playoffs ... 2 from each division.

6 division as I'd do it: NE - Boston, NYY, NYM, Phila, Balt; SE - WashDC, Atl, Mia, Rays, Reds; MW-east - Cleveland, T'ronto, Pitts, Detroit, ChiSox (although that makes the ChiSox the only team in the central time zone); MW-west - Milwaukee, Cubs, MN, StL, KC; SW - Houston, TX, CO, AZ, SD; West - LAA, LAD, SF, Oak, Sea

 

I think I prefer this alingment.  Game are in a tighter group.  Less travel, cuts costs, more money for ownership to spend on pitching!  This is a fantasy exercise, isn't it?

 

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Once the universal DH comes to pass, which is just a matter of time, there is no reason to maintain separation between the AL and NL. However, considering (re)alignment, which teams are in which divisions is not a very important matter. (IMHO, of course.) Find a reasonably simple and equitable regular season schedule in terms of who plays whom and where, find a reasonably simple and equitable formula for qualifying for the postseason, find a reasonably simple and equitable postseason format, and go.

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I am a die-hard, tried-and-true Twins fan forever. This season is proof.

That being said, I prefer to watch National League ball. I like small-ball, with the bunting, stealing, pinch hitting and batting, all the strategy and tactics, etc.

Can we please, please, please, not have a universal DH? I thoughouly enjoy having a differentiation of styles and 2 leagues. It is history. It is competition; it is rivalry in itself (World Series and All-star game and inter-league play). 

If people want to modernize baseball, the first thing I am in favor of is an electronic strike zone. 

Sorry if this is off topic. I should probably start my own post for this. 

I do appreciate your love for rivalry though. Keep fantasizing!

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16 hours ago, Squirrel said:

I said this to you in a thread, but the Twins are in the same time zone as Chicago and Milwaukee.

Cubs and Sox are already heated rivals. It would make things even worse if they were in the same division.

I'd make it 6 divisions, though ... and you can still have 12 teams in the playoffs ... 2 from each division.

6 division as I'd do it: NE - Boston, NYY, NYM, Phila, Balt; SE - WashDC, Atl, Mia, Rays, Reds; MW-east - Cleveland, T'ronto, Pitts, Detroit, ChiSox (although that makes the ChiSox the only team in the central time zone); MW-west - Milwaukee, Cubs, MN, StL, KC; SW - Houston, TX, CO, AZ, SD; West - LAA, LAD, SF, Oak, Sea

 

I like it! You could also still have a National and American League for the All Star game. 

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12 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

I like it! You could also still have a National and American League for the All Star game. 

If you aren’t going to the universal DH this realignment probably won’t work. But yes, you can still have two leagues - 3 divisions in each as it is now except that one league will be the eastern half, the other league the western half. I mean, football has the nfc and the afc … not a football fan so have no idea what the differences are there

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22 hours ago, Squirrel said:

 

I'd make it 6 divisions, though ... and you can still have 12 teams in the playoffs ... 2 from each division.

6 division as I'd do it: NE - Boston, NYY, NYM, Phila, Balt; SE - WashDC, Atl, Mia, Rays, Reds; MW-east - Cleveland, T'ronto, Pitts, Detroit, ChiSox (although that makes the ChiSox the only team in the central time zone); MW-west - Milwaukee, Cubs, MN, StL, KC; SW - Houston, TX, CO, AZ, SD; West - LAA, LAD, SF, Oak, Sea

 

I like this alignment but would move San Diego to the west and Oakland (Las Vegas) to the southwest.  I would try to keep the two Chicago teams together but St Louis and the Cubs have a longstanding rivalry so keeping them together would be optimal.  Midwest Division. Cubs, Sox, Cards, Pirates and Guardians.  North Division, Twins, Brewers,, Tigers, Jays and Royals.  Could swap Royals and Guardians.   A lot of Jay fans come to Target Field when Toronto is in town. 

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I don't see it happening and this lack of multiple conferences would be unlike any of the other top 3 sports. Baseball enjoys a lot of competition right now, though a little less in recent years, but I think this design would see an even greater loss of competition.

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I see the universal DH coming next year.  But, while realignment has always been a stimulating topic they've fixed most of the dumb stuff from long ago (like the Braves in the NL West).  Just like the NFL didn't see the need to put Kansas City and St. Louis in the "same" division, I think MLB can maintain the NL & AL in the current divisions.  I don't see any "glaring" mistakes of where a team is currently situated.  But franchise "movement" (will the A's move to Vegas? Is Tampa Bay, despite a good team still struggling with attendance?) will determine if there needs to be any tweaking.

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2 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

I see the universal DH coming next year.  But, while realignment has always been a stimulating topic they've fixed most of the dumb stuff from long ago (like the Braves in the NL West).  Just like the NFL didn't see the need to put Kansas City and St. Louis in the "same" division, I think MLB can maintain the NL & AL in the current divisions.  I don't see any "glaring" mistakes of where a team is currently situated.  But franchise "movement" (will the A's move to Vegas? Is Tampa Bay, despite a good team still struggling with attendance?) will determine if there needs to be any tweaking.

I pretty much agree with this ... tweaking if there is movement. But if Oakland moves to LV, they will likely just stay in that league and division. And wherever the Rays move, most likely keeps them in the east, unless they move to Portland, OR. I think, in terms of location and trying to create a group that has natural rivalries, the AL West division is the worst, but nothing really you can do about it. All the other divisions, in both leagues, work fairly well in terms of keeping teams close, but the AL West ... it's just 'Okay, the rest of you are here.' As I said, nothing you can do about it because Seattle is way up there, LAA is way over there, with OAK in between, and the two Texas teams are way down there, two time zones over. If they did do a realignment, and I think they could and maybe would, once a decision is made about the universal DH, maybe some of that could be alleviated, except for Seattle is still way up there, kind of by itself.

If they don't/won't/can't address the disparity of wealth between teams, and location didn't matter, I'd like to see divisions created based on budget size and spending capabilities. Let the Dodgers and the Yankees be in the same division. But of course, it would be ridiculous because location does matter ... but this is a 'suspend reality' discussion. :) 

 

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On 8/8/2021 at 7:59 AM, TopGunn#22 said:

I see the universal DH coming next year.  But, while realignment has always been a stimulating topic they've fixed most of the dumb stuff from long ago (like the Braves in the NL West).  Just like the NFL didn't see the need to put Kansas City and St. Louis in the "same" division, I think MLB can maintain the NL & AL in the current divisions.  I don't see any "glaring" mistakes of where a team is currently situated.  But franchise "movement" (will the A's move to Vegas? Is Tampa Bay, despite a good team still struggling with attendance?) will determine if there needs to be any tweaking.

I think the Twins and Brewers only playing 2 series a year is a glaring mistake. The series at the end of the month will be the most attended series of the season and the Twins are trash. Want to fill the stadium more frequently? Have teams in town with fans nearby that will attend. Now there's some hurdles to this as some teams (Seattle) are just not close to anyone. And MN is kind of in no mans land as far as easily building regional rivalries that would provide an influx of fans in the stadium each season, but that's why I think them seeing the Brewers come to town for 3 games a year is a mistake.

The NFL is a national sport. Baseball is becoming more and more regional. And with 1 game a week there's more demand to get into your home stadium for one of the 8 home games a year in football. Baseball needs to be creative with creating demand to get into the stadium when there's 81 home games a year. They also need to create a better national following for teams outside of the Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox, but that's a different discussion for a different day.

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Like idea of realignment, but probably wait until expansion-2 more teams. Two 16 team leagues with 2 divisions each, top 2 from each make playoffs. Can't divide into leagues/divisions until expansion cities determined but geographically grouped. Universal DH needs to happen, understand traditionist argument but crazy to have World Series played with different rules depending on home team. 

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