OK, it's an old and well-worn idea, but I'm dragging it back up. As a British sports fan, one of the hardest things for me to comprehend is that sporting competition in MLB is so unbalanced. I get the rational reasons why - market saturation, travel time; and I've heard the less rational ones - history (not unimportant, but not critical), rivalry (rivalries come and go, see current Mets v Phillies aggro) etc.
I'm referring here both to unequally sized divisions/leagues and to the fact that teams have to play certain others a huge amount and certain others strange numbers of times home vs road etc. My proposal is to completely fix the former - make baseball into two sixteen-team leagues of four divisions each - and to further mitigate the latter, by having teams play their own 3 division mates sixteen times each, eight at home and eight on the road, and their other twelve league mates eight times each, four at home and four on the road.
Practical results of this:
1) No wildcard - best record plays fourth, second plays third (1st and 2nd home advantage)
2) Less interleague play, no guaranteed 'natural rival' games
3) Marlins move to Las Vegas or Sacramento
4) New AL team in Portland
5) New NL team in New York (though NJ or Hartford are also possibilites)
6) Tampa moves to NL, Arizona and Colorado to AL
7) An end to 3 game series - sad, but this allows overall equal treatment of playing each time for either one or two series at home and away each
8) Travel is much more sensible, hopefully meaning game quality is higher!
9) Off days have to be staggered pretty evenly, but with two fewer games overall, the season could stay the same length.
10) Postseason is effectively the same except everyone in it has won a Division of the same number of opponents
My Post-Expansion/Realignment Line-up:
New York Expansion Team
St Louis Cardinals
Las Vegas or Sacramento Marlins
Portland Expansion Team
So I realise the Mets and Yankees would fight tooth and nail to stop a new NY team, but there is PLENTY of market room and a strong commissioner could theoretically push this through - Manhatten perhaps.
What do you think?