The plan supposedly being considered by Bud Selig and perhaps major league baseball is another example of a commissioner who has no interest in the game and no idea about how to change it for the better. What is this daring plan you ask? What are the problems with it and why should this never be done?
The plan as I understand it is to have a floating divisional system and a balanced schedule. In other words, teams would not necessarily be in the same division each season but would “float” to another division depending on how successful they were during the season just completed. Each team would play an equal number of games against each other team. This would better insure that each team had a legitimate chance at the post season at least every second season. The thinking here seems to be that this would generate fan attendance and would allow the owners of the league’s worst franchises to garner some of that lucrative playoff revenue. It would also allow owners to save big bucks on the free agent market and might even lower player salaries in the years to come. Why spend the money when you might make the playoffs with a bare minimum of legitimate4 major leaguers on your roster? With a balanced schedule, why have divisions?
The problems with this proposal are many and far reaching and I’ll only mention a couple here. The initial problem is that the plan is being considered by the worst commissioner in sports history. Any idea which has caught the interest of Bud Selig should be automatically viewed with great suspicion. The initial gut reaction should always be a firm no to any proposal endorsed by the commissioner. There would be little or no advantage or reward for teams wanting to put forward the best product they can each season. There would be little advantage to winning ninety plus games every year when eighty-one would be more than sufficient to grab a playoff berth. With a balanced schedule, we could have division winners with a below .500 record. Teams floating from one division to another would eventually water down the quality of play at the major league level to the lowest common denominator. I guess it makes for an exciting playoff to the casual fan when two mediocre teams battle it out, but I find such confrontations painful and boring to watch to say the least. Who wants to see the Pirates battle the Royals in a playoff round? Could either team win? Would it even matter?
Here is my solution. It’s daring and perhaps far reaching initially but I think eventually it would work out fine. Firstly, have all thirty teams in one league, split into four divisions based on geography. The playoffs would be the four division winners, (eliminate the disastrous wild card feature), with the playoffs being best of seven, North vs. South and East vs. West. The two winners meet in the World Series. And not in November! Keep the DH but use it differently-allow a team to pinch hit for the pitcher once a game without having to remove that pitcher. This was not my idea but something I read months ago in a comment from a fan and I like it. A full time DH is wrong because it upsets the offensive-defensive balance of the game. A DH once a game leaves room for managerial decisions, second guessing and keeps the DH supporters happy while reaching a compromise for those of us who hate the DH. Have most of the regular season games within the division and rotate the remaining from year to year.
Oh yeah, one more thing which is unrelated to realignment but I thought that I would throw it in; make sure that the small market teams spend their luxury tax money on salaries and farm systems and not on their wives.