In recent years whenever someone has suggested to me that the Orioles try to relocate to a division other than the AL East, I have been completely against it.
Not that a team can just say ‘we want to move’ and MLB will grant its wish.
But I have liked the fact that the O’s bang heads with some of baseball’s best teams in what has been baseball’s best division in recent years.
Do we want to be a “chicken” and now try to leave the Yankees and Red Sox behind and try to win another division?
Maybe the time has come to at least consider the possibility.
Click here to read a column by ESPN.com’s David Schoenfield, where he suggests that teams can move to different divisions every year. He suggests the Orioles, as an east coast club, stay in the East or Central every season.
He also makes a good point. Why should the AL West be a four-team division every year while the others have five teams?
His “plan” is growing on me.
From 2001-2009, the Eastern division champ has averaged 98.6 wins per year. The Central averaged 92.6 and the Western champ won 98.4 on average.
In the East, the division champ won 100 or more games four times. In the Central, the division champ did not win 100 or more once and in five of the last nine seasons, the Central champ won 92 games or less. The last two years, the Central winner won 89 and 87 games.
And that is with a schedule where the Central teams have not had to play NY and Boston 18 or 19 times per year.
Since 2001, the fewest number of victories needed to win the AL East was 95 and that happened twice.
Last year, the Orioles played the Yankees and Red Sox 18 times each. They played five games all year versus Minnesota, six versus Oakland and seven versus Cleveland.
Maybe it’s time some other AL teams got a bigger dose of battling the Yankees and Red Sox. In the last decade, NY and Boston have combined for 15 playoff appearances, while Tampa, Toronto and the Orioles have combined for one.
If not a realignment of divisions every year, perhaps it’s time for baseball to go back to a balanced schedule. That’s where all teams play the others the same amount of times. A club like Detroit would have to play NY and Boston as much as the Orioles, Tampa and Toronto have to.
So what do you think of Schoenfield’s plan?