It seems pretty clear at this point that a realignment is on the horizon in Major League Baseball. Different ideas have been shared, but the most popular and most sensible one is for baseball to realign their divisions so that the teams are in closer proximity to each other. Such an alignment would probably not help any team more than the Seattle Mariners, who currently have to play 6 series in the state of Texas; more than 2,000 miles away from Seattle.
These ideas have arisen in light of the rumors of baseball expanding to 32 teams, with one team likely to be in Portland, Oregon and the other somewhere in the Eastern time zone. Such expansion will necessitate realignment anyhow, so it's possible that the MLB will wait until then to do anything, but in reality, they could start sooner. Indications are that the goal is for the Oakland A's and Tampa Bay Rays to move into new stadiums before expanding. However, negotiations are slow. The Rays are committed to playing at Tropicana Field through 2027 and have made little progress on what to do after, though they have begun to explore a disastrous idea to split time between Tampa and Montreal when their lease on the Trop is up.
The current travel for the players is grueling, especially for the teams in the west, who are vastly outnumbered by teams in the central and eastern time zones. Instead of waiting for the expansion to happen, which will probably be close to a decade from now, if not longer, the MLB could realign AND shorten the season much sooner. Here's how:
The first step is making the rules uniform. This realignment will jumble up the league, so the DH will either have to be universal or banned first.
Then, the MLB could align their divisions as follows (basically, just take the divisions as they are now and shuffle the deck a little bit)
WESTERN CONFERENCE Pacific: Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers Southwest: San Diego, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Houston Upper Midwest: Kansas City, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota, Milwaukee
EASTERN CONFERENCE Rust Belt: Detroit, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh Metropolitan: Toronto, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston, Philadelphia Southeast: Washington, Baltimore, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Miami
I like this arrangement for a number of reasons, it's not perfect, especially for the southwest, but it's better than what they have. Also, there was no choice but to break up either Chicago's teams or KC and St. Louis. It's unfortunate, but something had to give.
As for the length of season, this schedule would make a ton of sense:
Vs Division opponents: 15 games vs each X 4 teams = 60 Games Vs Rest of Conference: 6 games X 10 teams = 60 Games Interleague: 6 games X 5 teams =30 Games (Play a 3 game series at home and on the road vs an entire division) Total of 150 games
As I mentioned, it's not likely that the MLB will do anything until expansion happens (which I'm pretty indifferent about, honestly). However, in order to give the players a more reasonable travel schedule, and to give fans more chances to travel and see their team in nearby stadiums, this realignment makes a ton of sense.