A Modest Proposal (Realignment and Expansion)

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:

NL NorthEast

New York Mets

Philadelphia Phillies

Pittsburgh Pirates

New York Expansion Team

NL SouthEast

Atlanta Braves

Houston Astros

Washington Nationals

Tampa Bay Rays

NL Central

Cincinnati Reds

St Louis Cardinals

Chicago Cubs

Miwaukee Brewers

NL West

LA Dodgers

San Diego Padres

SF Giants

Las Vegas or Sacramento Marlins

AL East

Boston Red Sox

NY Yankees

Baltimore Orioles

Toronto Blue Jays

AL South

Texas Rangers

Arizona Diamondbacks

Colorado Rockies

KC Royals

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Detroit Tigers

Minnesota Twins

Cleveland Indians

AL NorthWest

Portland Expansion Team

LA Angels

Oakland Athletics

Seattle Mariners

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?

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