Uncle Heavy Fixes Major League Baseball
Hello fellow re-alignment enthusiasts! Uncle Heavy here to solve a problem that really isn’t a problem, but for the sake of my sanity, please bear with me!
Now, with this handy re-alignment tool there’s no more wondering, “Hey is Houston in the National or the American League?” or “New York vs. Chicago? Is that an inter-league game or what!!?”
Besides the obvious parting of ways by modern baseball from its fantastic history, there will be more than a few detractors and nay-sayers who will dredge up all kinds of problems with this new set-up. “What about the rivalries?” or “Well then what happens to the DH/No DH teams?” and so on.
Let’s forget these relics and look at the benefits!
1) Lower Travel Costs and Increased Attendance – Besides allowing for MLB squads to clock less mileage on the old odometer thus decreasing injuries and fatigue, the new setup allows for a bigger bump in attendance at each club’s own facility. If the majority of your team’s games are within 200 miles of your home stadium (sorry Seattle and Colorado) chances are you’re willing to travel to a few of those games as an away supporter. A lot of seats go unsold every day in Major League Baseball, so why not do something to fix this? This is the English Football Model, where each stadium has to allocate a certain amount of tickets to away fans, and for the most part (looking at you Wigan!) these seats get filled if the games are close by.
2) House Rules – Every park has its own house rules. Sox keep their designated hitter, while the Cubs keep their pitchers swinging at the plate. Increase the MLB active roster to 26, allowing for each team to keep around a designated ball-masher for their Designated-Hitter games. Frank Thomas could’ve played until he was 80!
3) New Rivalries – With the new set-up based on geographical proximity, it is hard to see what rivalries won’t still exist? Boston/Yankees? Check. Dodgers/Giants? Check. Cardinals/Cubs? OK not everything survives, but better rivalries will develop with-in the new setup, and will propel baseball to what could amount to an exciting match up almost every day. No more Arizona vs. Miami mid week games. Just take a look at these new divisional match-ups: Yankees/Mets, White Sox/Cubs, Angels/Dodgers, Athletics/Giants, Orioles/Nationals, Marlins/Rays, Royals/Cardinals. All of these pairings will occur at least 12 times a season instead of the occasional three or four games of inter-league play.
Let’s go through the re-alignment division by division:
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamond Backs
Obviously the Bay Area and Los Angeles rivalries will be enhanced, and the Giants/Dodgers match-up continues on unimpeded. Seattle no longer travels to Houston and Texas three times a season for “West” Division games. The majority of the Western Division team’s games will be in the Pacific or Mountain time-zone, allowing for better appointment viewing for their fans. The two western-most expansion teams (Colorado & Arizona) continue on in the same division and San Diego continues to be terrible, but now in a different format.
Tampa Bay Rays
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals
This re-format will be the hardest to swallow for baseball purists. St. Louis and their insufferable fans will whine about the lack of games against their current division-mates the Cubs, Pirates, Brewers and Reds. The Brewers changed leagues in 1998, so we’re not exactly disrupting the fabric of Americana with that switch. As for the other three teams, since 1994, they’ve combined to make the playoffs nine times combined in 20 years. Its time for the Cardinals to play against a bit stiffer competition. The cash-rich Rangers, the steady Braves, the upstart Rays and even the improving Royals will give St. Louis a good challenge day in and day out, which can only be good for baseball. For the worried Cards fans out there, beating up on the Marlins and Astros will ease the pain a bit. This division doesn’t have the marquee match-ups of the bigger population centers of Chicago (North) New York (East) and L.A. (West) but there are some juicy prospective encounters none-the-less. The Battle of Florida (the meth bowl?) between Miami and Tampa Bay. The juggernauts of Atlanta and St. Louis, arguably the two most consistently successful teams over the past 30 years in the National League. The Lone Star Series will continue between Houston and Texas (step off that ledge Nolan Ryan!). The Missouri match-up, St. Louis vs. KC. The possibilities are endless!
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
New York Mets
Yankees-Mets. Red Sox-Yankees. Red Sox-Mets. Phillies-Pirates. Nationals-Orioles. Mets-Phillies. Yankees-Phillies. Nationals-Mets. Nationals-Phillies. This division has a potential grudge match almost every day for many of these franchises. Is there more to say?
Chicago White Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
The Twins and Tigers continue to get the bump in revenue from their proximity to Canada whenever the Blue Jays are in town. Both of Chicago’s teams are in the same division (probably helping the White Sox attendance more than the Cubs). Both of Ohio’s teams will now play each other. Obviously there will be inter-league games each year, allowing for teams like the Cubs to play the Cardinals, the Jays to play the Red Sox or Yankees, and the Twins to play whoever they’ve got a rivalry with, so don’t despair!
As for playoffs, you can have the top team from every division getting a bye, while the next two teams play a three game series to see who goes through to the next round. This bumps the amount of playoff teams from 10 to 12 and does away with the silly winner takes all one-game-wild-card nonsense. Winner of the West plays winner of the South. Winner of the North plays winner of the East. Followed by the World Series.
Remember: Change is good!