With the Basic Agreement expiring at the end of the season, players and team owners are thinking about realignment.
The reason this is being discussed is that both sides want more equity within division races. The thought is that it is unfair for six teams in the National League Central to compete for a title while the American League West has four teams.
Realignment ideas range from blowing up both leagues as we know them and creating new divisions to moving one NL team to the AL.
For example, Arizona or San Diego could move to the AL West. You could move Pittsburgh to the AL Central and Kansas City to the AL West.
There are plenty of plans and obstacles. The three biggest are scheduling, the DH and how many teams go to the postseason.
Commissioner Bud Selig wants to expand postseason teams from eight to 10, but will that lead to a neutral-site World Series given that, without a shorter season, the World Series would be played in November?
What about the DH? The union isn’t going to give it up, and teams can’t be playing with two sets of rules for an entire season. It wouldn’t be fair, say, for the Boston Red Sox to have DH David Ortiz out of the lineup for 10-14 games a month.
While there are plenty of plans, there is one, by Tom Davis, my colleague on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Report, that makes sense.
Davis has been studying realignment for years. He suggests five six-team divisions that could be created to promote natural rivals while allowing teams to play within their own time zone.
Davis’ format would have five division winners and five wild-card teams in the postseason. The wild cards would have the best winning percentages no matter what division they are in.
“Baseball would have five wild-card teams from 25 teams as opposed to two wild cards from 26 teams,’’ Davis says.
Here’s the breakdown:
Mariners, A’s, Giants, Dodgers, Angels, Padres.
D-backs, Rockies, Rangers, Astros, Cardinals, Royals.
Twins, Brewers, Cubs, White Sox, Blue Jays, Tigers.
Mets, Pirates, Phillies, Braves, Rays, Marlins.
Orioles, Nationals, Yankees, Red Sox, Reds, Indians.
Davis’ plan would seed 10 teams for the postseason with four rounds. The first round would be best-of-three and the second round best-of-five. The final two rounds would each be best-of-seven.
The format would have teams play 90 games within the division, 72 outside the division. He would make Monday a day off and arrange the schedule so that teams play home and road games every other week.
What are your thoughts? Have any other realignment ideas you feel strongly about?