Jump to content

Another idea regarding MLB, expansion


Recommended Posts

While it could be argued that one of the reasons baseball post-season television ratings are down so much is due to the late starts of games, another reason I believe is due to the WildCard.

For many years, since the advent of the wildcard in 1995, we've had 2 teams facing off in the League Championship Series round both from the same division, and thus, the same general time zones. Last year's NLCS, between Colorado & Arizona had dismal ratings as I recall. Both are from the NL West, and thus, most people east of Colorado were not too interested in it. The 2002 World Series featuring the Anaheim Angels & San Francisco Giants, both wild card teams, had one of the lowest ratings, which was a shame, because I actually did watch that World Series and enjoyed it. Of course back then I was still working nights, but since 2005 I am working the dayshift, and have not been afforded the luxury of staying up late to watch games, either in their entirety, or at the very least, the last few innings of a game. I believe too, because both were from California, very few fans outside of that region were interested in watching.

An inordinate amount of wild card teams seem to have success in baseball's post-season. The NFL has twice as many wild card teams, but they do not seem to be nearly as successful, although in recent years (Giants and Steelers both six seeds) have won it all.

My idea is simple, but improbable. It's a combination of an NFL type scheduling mentality, and would award only division winners berths in the post-season. It would also implement an "East"/"West" type setup again, similar to what was used from 1969 - 1993. Here's the idea:

Baseball would expand by 2 teams, to a total of 32 teams. One current NL team, the Colorado Rockies, would be moved from the NL into the AL. In my idea, Montreal would be given a new franchise, and they could either be the Expos, or given a brand new identity altogether. Mounties seems like an interesting name, to honor the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and after all, Montreal's minor league team was the Royals, so that would also be a nod to history. The AL expansion team would be in Charlotte, and my working title is the Carolina Strikers. I saw some arguments against the name, as it sounds like a soccer team, or a negative connotation to it (striker being someone on strike, or someone swinging and missing perhaps). Other nicknames are indeed welcomed, but for this outline & demonstration, we'll call the 2 expansion teams the Montreal Mounties & Carolina Strikers.

There would now be 16 teams in the American League, and 16 in the National League, as before. Each league would be divided up into an Eastern & Western Conference, 8 teams per conference. Each conference in turn, would be divided into two 4 team divisions, and it would be as follows:


Atlantic Division: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays

Central Division: Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Carolina Strikers (exp.)


Midwest Division: Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers

Pacific Division: Anaheim Angels, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies (from NL)


Atlantic Division: New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Montreal Mounties (exp.)

Central Division: Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves


Midwest Division: St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Houston Astros

Pacific Division: Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks

Each team would still play a 162 game schedule in the regular season. 18 games against each of the other 3 division rivals. Divisional games would be scheduled at the beginning, middle, and end of each season. That is 54 games.

Each team would play 12 interleague games, on a rotation basis. Every 4 years, the Yankees and Mets would play one another, and once every 8 years at each other's stadiums. Furthermore, the rotation schedule would be set up that every year, there would be 8 teams from the same region facing off in interleague play. One year the Atlantic Division teams, another year the Central Division teams, etc. This rotating basis of interleague play is similar to that of how the NFL handles interconference games. The Yankees & Mets would still play once every 4 years, instead of every year, thus bringing back some of the novelty of the "Subway" Series, making it a bit more special, instead of having it every single year. Also, by virtue of doing this, all 32 teams would play the exact same number of interleague games every season.

Also, there would be a 3 year rotation for intra-league games. American League Atlantic teams would play the other 12 AL teams not in their own division 6 times a year. One of those 3 divisions they would play 12 times a year. I will provide a more detailed example to help to try to clarify things.

Yankees Schedule:

at Red Sox (9 games) host Red Sox (9 games)

at Blue Jays (9 games) host Blue Jays (9 games)

at Orioles (9 games) host Orioles (9 games)

at Tigers (6 games) host Tigers( 6 games)

at Indians (6 games) host Indians (6 games)

at Rays (6 games) host Rays (6 games)

at Strikers (6 games) host Strikers (6 games)

at Royals (3 games) host Royals (3 games)

at White Sox (3 games) host White Sox (3 games)

at Twins (3 games) host Twins (3 games)

at Rangers (3 games) host Rangers (3 games)

at Angels (3 games) host Angels (3 games)

at Athletics (3 games) host Athletics (3 games)

at Mariners (3 games) host Mariners (3 games)

at Rockies (3 games) host Rockies (3 games)

at Phillies (3 games) host Mets (3 games)

at Mounties (3 games) host Nationals (3 games)

As you can see, the Yankees would play 12 games each vs. the other 4 teams in the AL Central Division in this example. The next year, they'd play 12 games each vs the AL Midwest, and in the next year after that, 12 games vs the AL Pacific.

Each of the 8 division winners would qualify for post-season play. The first round would still be the best 3 out of 5. The two division winners in the Eastern Conference would play in the Eastern Conference Championship Series, likewise for the Western Conference. The two conference winners (1 each from the East & West) would face off in the LCS in the best 4 out of 7. By guaranteeing that 2 of the final 4 teams would come from the east, and the other 2 from the west, this might help improve tv ratings somewhat. Most of the country would not necessarily be interested in watching 2 teams from the same division or region playing in a League Championship Series, in my humble opinion. Also, by having the East & West conferences, this would harken back to how it was from 1969-93, having an East & West champion in the LCS round. As always, the World Series would be the best of 7. Teams with the best winning percentage would host in each round, and the All-Star Game would no longer have any bearing on which league's champion gets to host games 1,2, 6 & 7 in the World Series.

Also, with this new alignment, most of the 32 teams would now have a natural interleague rival. For me it is as follows:

Yankees-Mets, Red Sox-Phillies, Orioles-Nationals, Blue Jays-Mounties

Indians-Reds, Tigers-Pirates, Strikers-Braves, Rays-Marlins

Royals-Cardinals, White Sox-Cubs, Twins-Brewers, Rangers-Astros

Angels-Dodgers, Athletics-Giants, Mariners-Padres, Rockies-Diamondbacks

Lastly, unpopular though it may be, I'd keep the DH in the AL, and no DH in the NL. In interleague play, and in the World Series, whichever team is hosting would use their league's rules.

It's a lot to digest, and as I said, I know it may not be popular, but I was bored, had time to kill, and have been wanting for a long time to put these ideas in writing for others to see and comment on.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I love realignment discussions, most around here role there eyes and grab their pitchforks when the subject comes up.

That being said, Montreal won't get another MLB team. They showed a complete lack of interest since the strike in 1994. And they won't approve a new stadium being built. Now I've always proposed 2 expansions, and a few league switching, namely the Rockies and Rays. However after this season, I don't know how willing I am to switch them anymore. Though I always put them in an NL South with Atlanta and Florida (and Houston) so they'd play teams relatively in their region. At the risk of catching crap for realignment proposals again (you can pull out your little stop sign-reel-a line-mint all you want), here's my usual:

Expansion teams: Portland, San Antonio

National League

West: Arizona (or Portland), LA Dodgers, San Diego, San Francisco

South: Atlanta, Florida, Houston, Tampa Bay

Central: St. Louis, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Milwaukee

East: NY Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington

American League

West: LA Angels, Oakland, Portland (or Arizona), Seattle

South: Colorado, Kansas City, San Antonio, Texas

Central: Chicago Sox, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota

East: Baltimore, Boston, NY Yankees, Toronto

(I always put Portland in the NL since Seattle has expressed their preference for no team in Portland so they can single-handedly keep ahold on the Pacific Northwest market. Now, I pretty much don't care, though I think Portland thinks of themselves as a NL town. So pretty much Arizona and Portland are interchangeable in my plans.)


Division: 24 games vs Each team (3) = 72 games (series split into 4 "3 Home/Away" series throughout season)

League: 6 games vs Each team (12) = 72 games (stays 3 games, home and away)

Interleague: 18 total games - Either 3 games vs 6 teams, or 3 & 3 Home/Away series vs "rival" and 3 games vs 4 teams (random teams or rotating divisions)

That's what I have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whatever you do, expansion or not, ditch the Interleague play. Why? Because for every New York-New York there are 5 or 6 Minnesota vs. Florida, or Texas vs. Milwaukee, etc. Interleague is a small spike in ratings and attendance when the big matchups happen, but it's a failure in all other accounts. Also Interleague play is a joke. Why? Because the leagues are different and I'm not talking about DH vs. traditional. I'm talking a 14 team league vs. a 16 team league and one of those divisions has 6 teams in it and the other two have 5 and in the American League you have two five team divisions and one four. It's an unfair schedule and to rotate the schedule is unfair because not everyone plays everyone. I understand why it works in the NFL because you only have 16 games, so you have to figure a way to fill out the non-divisional games. In baseball you have 162 games, and it's possible to play each team evenly if you are going to do Interleague play. Sure you'd cut out on division and league games, but no one could blame the schedule as everyone played everyone. If you aren't going to do that go back to playing all games in your league. I think the playing all games in your league is more intriguing as it would make the All-Star Game mean something and the World Series as you'd see match ups you couldn't see in the regular season.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would do this for the expansion schedule:

Each team would play every team in their league 9 times (15x9=135 games). The remaining 27 games are interleague. It would be set up like this; a team would play two divisions in the opposite league the first year and then play the other two divisions the second year (8x4=24). The remaining three interleague games would be against their geographic interleague rival.

The intra-league setup allows teams to go to more stadiums more often and evens out competition. This also discourages teams from relying on divisional play to win ballgames or play competitively.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ratings are down for a few reasons and realignment will fix none of them. First and formost Tim McCarver! Second, look at the teams involved, besides the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs the rest have a regional following at best. Third game time and lack of network unity. Back in the day only one network carried all the games, one in the late afternoon, 3 pm I think and then an 8 pm game. Fourth the lack of a "big story or big star" team from a city that isn't New York, Boston or Chicago that would be a national story. Fifth...TIM McCARVER! :D


Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.

P. J. O'Rourke

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.