9 Mar 2010
Tom Verducci at SI.com has an article about an idea to realign the divisions in MLB. Basically, teams would be able to opt to pick which division they wish to compete in to based on geography and payroll. The idea seems to be a way for a team like Tampa to escape the Boston-New York AL East and have a legitimate shot at competing for a division title.
It’s a compelling idea, but I want to hear more about it before commenting. For example, can any team opt to switch divisions? If so, I assume the Yankees or Red Sox would gladly jump at the chance to escape the AL East. Move one of them to the AL Central, and you probably have both teams winning 100+ games this year. Obviously, that defeats the point of the plan, so how would that work? Also, how long would each move last? Could a team flop divisions year after year?
I hope that if MLB does something like this, they also change the playoff format. I would like to see winning the division mean more than it does. Right now the wild card team doesn’t really pay much of a penalty for finishing second. How about adding another wild card team and having the two wild card teams play each other to advance to face a division winner? Also, change the format of the LCS to match the World Series. Why do you have extra days off in the semis that you don’t have in the finals? And, most of all, get rid of the stupid All-Star Game winner getting homefield advantage, it should go to the team with the best overall record, just like in hockey and basketball.
If you could take Bud Selig’s place, what changes would you make in the playoffs and divisions?