Like it or not the DH is headed our way. I say like it or not mainly because the commissioner has done little to show he is concerned about what you hold dear and because it’s an inevitability.
That being said, lets talk about one of the most interesting angles the DH could open up for MLB, realignment. Craig and I are going to lay out a bunch of scenarios here and we’ll each give our take on them. None of these are going to be perfect. None of them have been actively rumored, so don’t go on an anti-Manfred crusade, at least not for this reason.
Geographic Rival Alignment
Why: Game times would be more consistent, and rivalries could intensify.
How It Would Work: The AL and the NL die. Up pop the East and West, with 15 teams each. Interleague play would now be East vs West, much like the NHL.
How It Could Look-West: LAA, LAD, SD, SEA, SF, OAK, AZ, COL, HOU, TX, STL, KC, MN, CHC, CWS
East: BOS, NYY, NYM, ATL, MIA, TB, BAL, WAS, PIT, CIN, MIL, CLE, DET, PHI, TOR
Gary: I like this more in theory than practice, and there is one main reason why. The three cities that have two teams being in the same division. I’d be eternally bothered that those 6 clubs had to travel far less than the rest. I love the geographical alignment aspect though. Imagine your 3 divisions in the East. 1) BOS, NYY, NYM, TOR, PHI 2) ATL, MIA, TB, BAL, WAS 3) PIT, CIN, MIL, CLE, DET It even kinda works out economically.
Craig: Regional realignment is by far my favorite way to mix things up, if MLB decides to go in this direction. I understand Gary’s concern about the 3 cities/6 teams dilemma, but I feel this is easily correctable. The Mets can slide into the division with the Pirates, igniting an old NL East rivalry, the Cubbies could take the Mets place, while the Brewers take their place as a local rival to the White Sox. Unfortunately I am not sure much can be done to break up the Angels and Dodgers, but I I am a little less worried about this than the other two. The real reason I am in favor of this version above all others is the elimination of West Coast Road Trips. I am an “old” man and the thought of not having to try to stay up past midnight to see the end of a game just makes me so happy. Because let’s be honest it is more about me trying to stay up to watch even the first couple of innings of a game in Arizona or California.
Why: There are some Rivalries simply being missed. Perfect reason and excuse to fix that.
How It Would Work: The AL and the NL stay fairly consistent, with only some minor tweaks to allow some much needed rivals to blossom.
How It Could Look-AL: LAA, HOU, TX, SEA, OAK, KC, MN, CWS, BAL, TB, MIA, BOS, NYY, TOR, DET, COL
NL: NYM, ATL, PHI, WAS, BAL, PIT, CIN, MIL, CHC, STL, SF, LAD, SD, AZ, CLE
Gary: Build some natural rivalries with the Florida Teams, give Cleveland natural rivals like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Colorado is closer to Texas than most of the current NL teams. Baltimore and Washington deserve each other as rivals.
Craig: I am all with Gary on this one. Miami and Tampa makes too much sense as division rivals, as does the Nats and Orioles. I would actually like the Colorado and Seattle rivalry develop because honestly no one is really near Seattle and they both have some pretty strong uniform choices, which is always the starting point of all the greatest rivalries in history. Obviously there are probably some changes that could be made to improve this option, but the ones that I laid out are definitely a start.
The “Nuclear” Option
Why: Is Tampa a sustainable franchise? Will the A’s remain in Oakland? Is it time for another expansion? And if so, where? Nashville? Montreal? Portland? Vegas? (Yuck-Craig’s opinion only).
How It Would Work: If it is expansion without subtraction; add two teams, one in each league and move on about your day. If teams have to move or stadiums need to be built, make it happen or at least get it started.
How It Could Look: It could be a mix of the previous two options or something completely different. If a team moves to another location, it doesn’t change much as far as the realignment, but a lot for the fan bases involved.
Gary: It’s a good opportunity to go or get off the pot for Tampa. I’d love to see a team in Nashville, they support their MiLB team very well and have proven expansion teams like the Titans and Predators to be viable. There is hunger for baseball in the middle of the country.
Craig: Please don’t let Vegas have another team. Nashville, Montreal and Portland are much more deserving in my opinion. I would much rather see teams added, than teams moved. Expansion is long overdue.
We could go on and on here, but the idea is to take something bad and maybe get something good out of it. If there is one thing this crisis has taught us all, its to start making lemonade out of lemons.
How would you like to see MLB realign? Or would you prefer they just stay the same?