October 17, 2017

Could a 32-Team MLB Scrap the Leagues?: Longtime baseball scribe Tracy Ringolsby outlines a dramatic proposal in baseball: Expansion to Montreal and Portland, dropping the AL and NL for four seven-team regional divisions, a 156-game season with 12 games against each division opponent and a playoffs with four divisional champs and eight teams in play-in games.

posted by rcade to baseball at 04:59 PM - 8 comments

This got some attention on Jacksonville sports radio today and was surprisingly well-received by some old-school sports media types.

As someone who wishes the NFL would drop conferences in playoff seeding, I think I could support that in baseball. I've seen enough of pitchers hitting.

posted by rcade at 05:02 PM on October 17

Interesting stuff. I couldn't help but notice that Cincinnati was in the East division, while both New York teams and Boston are in the North, along with Cleveland. I understand wanting to maintain the traditional Bos.-NYY rivalry, so they have to remain in the same division, whether it is the East or the North BUT

Why not move both NYY and Bos. to the East to maintain their rivalry and keep them geographically closer to the other East teams? That would put Pittsburgh as the westernmost team in the East.

Then put Cincinnati in the North, along with Cleveland and the other Midwestern franchises, to foster an Ohio-centric rivalry?

posted by tahoemoj at 05:37 PM on October 17

This is fun to think about, but Ringolsby offers no evidence that "there seems to be a building consensus." And while the owners would certainly love to get expansion-fee bonuses and cut travel costs, MLB still has ballpark issues in Oakland and Tampa and would need to find not only owners willing to pay $1b but cities willing to build them new parks. Realignment and schedule changes would need to be negotiated with the players' union, opening up questions that at least seem long-settled. And MLB is a fundamentally conservative enterprise -- it's hard to imagine such a leap being taken when the sport is doing so well financially. If this ever happens, I don't see it happening anytime soon.

posted by Mookieproof at 05:41 PM on October 17

I'm not sure how you can advocate expansion to Montreal and Portland when Oakland, Tampa Bay, and Miami have have drawn 25,000/game only ONCE in the past 36 combined seasons (Miami in 2012).

These are three struggling franchises, and unless Boston/New York/Los Angeles are fine with propping them up for the foreseeable future, they should think about fixing/moving them first.

posted by grum@work at 07:10 PM on October 17

Eight teams have revenue under $250 million.

If revenue disparity is a problem, those big teams could help by supporting a salary cap and splitting local TV revenue equally.

posted by rcade at 07:27 PM on October 17

splitting local TV revenue equally.


posted by grum@work at 11:02 PM on October 17

On the ground here in Portland, the local news are reporting the Portland bid is solid. Though that could just be spin...

posted by billsaysthis at 11:41 AM on October 19

Jay Jaffe digs deeper into the proposal.

posted by Mookieproof at 07:10 PM on October 19

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