Sunday, June 12, 2011

15-Team Leagues? No!

The word broke this weekend that MLB is considering a realignment plan. I have written before that I think a radical remaking of the leagues is in order. But the new plan calls for two 15-team leagues. I can't think of anything I'd like to see less.

Equal leagues will almost assuredly mean interleague play every day. What a mess. Down the stretch of the season with playoff spots on the line division rivalries should be the order of the day.

Instead, baseball could have a pennant contender playing an also-ran from the other league. And if they try to remedy that by matching, say, power rivals like the New York Yankees and Mets, fans would be distracted from what should be baseball's most exciting time.

This is such a bad idea I have almost no doubt that it will come to pass. Each time interleague play starts, I find myself less interested in the games than at other times. They almost seem like exhibitions to me. I'm much more passionate when the Brewers are playing the Cardinals, the Reds or the Cubs. Those are true rivalries that determine who makes the playoffs.

I have a soft spot for Bud Selig, without there'd likely be no baseball in Milwaukee, my hometown. But the idea of two 15-team leagues should be forgotten. And then maybe we can work on banishing the designated hitter.


  1. It would be better than having one division with 4 teams and one with 6. And they could be probably keep interleague play away from the end of the season, but it would involve two teams resting for three days at a time. What a mess!

  2. I think the current setup is better. But then I really have no use for interleague play. If they add 2 teams they could have 8, 4-team divisions. That would achieve balance. Baseball is a game that's played nearly every day. It would be unfair to suddenly have teams off for three days in a pennant race. There are so many problems with moving a team to the AL, it seems like a ridiculous move to make it.

  3. What a lot of people don't seem to mention (or notice) is that there are ALREADY a bare minimum of two series taking place all the time that are not intradivision series. If you have four divisions with five teams each, that means at least one team in each of those divisions is playing a non-division game. Balancing the leagues would simply make the minimum number of teams playing non-division games six instead of four.

    And guess what ... for September 2011, they never even get down to the non-division two-series minimum. There are always at least three series going on that are non-division series anyway.

    I'd rather have interleague play every day than have a bunch of games jammed into half a month. Interleague play is not some magical gimmick that everyone should watch - it's either good enough for the entire season or not good enough at all. I'd be just as happy without interleague play, but I think that given the fact that the divisions are unequal, and as a result baseball schedules are unfair (they are not the same for each division opponent), they should make the change.

    If they expand to 32 teams, balance the leagues, balance the divisions, and get rid of interleague play, I'd have no problem with that (I'd actually prefer that). But having one 4-team division, four 5-team divisions, and one 6-team division is lousy at best, and very unfair at worst.

    P.S. There are a lot of people who like the DH (I think the rule needs a bit of adjustment but I like it). I don't see it leaving anytime soon.

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