MLB "considering radical division realignment plan"

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Well...

Selig, committee considering radical realignment plan

Tom Verducci, SI.com

When baseball commissioner Bud Selig named a 14-person "special committee for on-field matters" four months ago, he promised that all topics would be in play and "there are no sacred cows." The committee already has made good on Selig's promise by discussing a radical form of "floating" realignment in which teams would not be fixed to a division, but free to change divisions from year-to-year based on geography, payroll and their plans to contend or not.

The concept gained strong support among committee members, many of whom believe there are non-economic avenues that should be explored to improve competitive balance, similar to the NFL's former use of scheduling to help parity (in which weaker teams were awarded a weaker schedule the next season).

As with most issues of competitive balance, floating realignment involves finding a work-around to the Boston-New York axis of power in the AL East. In the 15 seasons during which the wild-card system has been in use, the Red Sox and Yankees have accounted for 38 percent of all AL postseason berths. The league has never conducted playoffs without the Red Sox or Yankees since that format began -- and in eight of those 15 years both teams made the playoffs. Since 2003 the Sox and Yankees have won at least 95 games 11 times in 14 combined seasons.

One example of floating realignment, according to one insider, would work this way: Cleveland, which is rebuilding with a reduced payroll, could opt to leave the AL Central to play in the AL East. The Indians would benefit from an unbalanced schedule that would give them a total of 18 lucrative home dates against the Yankees and Red Sox instead of their current eight. A small or mid-market contender, such as Tampa Bay or Baltimore, could move to the AL Central to get a better crack at postseason play instead of continually fighting against the mega-payrolls of New York and Boston.

Divisions still would loosely follow geographic lines; no team would join a division more than two time zones outside its own, largely to protect local television rights (i.e., start times of games) and travel costs.

Floating realignment also could mean changing the number of teams in a division, teams changing leagues and interleague games throughout the season, according to several sources familiar with the committee's discussions. It is important to remember that the committee's talks are very preliminary and non-binding.

"But if there is something that comes up we feel should be addressed during the season, we can make a recommendation then," said committee co-chair and Braves president John Schuerholz, referring to less complicated issues such as pace-of-game directives. "This is all about any ideas that help make the game better."

The floating realignment idea is nothing more than a concept at this point, part of the brainstorming sessions that have occurred in the committee's one in-person meeting and occasional conference calls. (Selig is pushing for another in-person meeting, such as at the All-Star Game. The committee includes current managers and executives, making in-person meetings logistically difficult.) The mechanics of the system are far from nailed down. But what is important is that the committee is making good on its mission to look at absolutely any on-field idea that could make the game better. Blowing up fixed divisions as we know them -- and even leagues -- certainly qualifies as radical thinking.
 
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They're not gonna change anything... And even if they do, nothing is going to stop the Yankees and Red Sox from spending twice as much money as anyone else and winning two division titles instead of just one.
 
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Why don't they add 2 more wild cards instead?

Seems like they are making things more complicated than they should be.
 
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Originally Posted by RyGuy45

Well...

teams would not be fixed to a division, but free to change divisions from year-to-year based on geography, payroll and their plans to contend or not.

%!! is this horse^%$#? 

  


I'm not down with this.  First, it destroys any concept of division winner.  You would win 6 different divisions in 6 years or whatever.  Lame
Second, this is borderline heading to college football where you pick your own schedule.  And THAT gets very dicey.  That Indians/Rays example is perfect of that.  Cleveland goes to win 40 games but make money, Tampa goes to win 90 games off an inflated schedule.  And that's just one general example, it could get much worse once the owners/Gm's have a chance to plot their course. 
 
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At the very least it would make the offseason more interesting.

I think it deserves some serious consideration.
 
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what is this? charity for teams whose owners dont care to build AND maintain a winning team?
 
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Originally Posted by DeadsetAce

what is this? charity for teams whose owners dont care can't afford to build AND maintain a winning team compete with Boston and New York annually?
Maybe...

Not that I agree with this kind of plan, but let's not act like there aren't a clear and distinct advantages for those two teams in this system.

  
 
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This obviously is in the beginning stages (and that's putting it high), and this is EXTREMELY radical..... but I'm actually happy to at least hear that this committee is exploring options to make the game better. Now this idea has its flaws, CP you alluded to those which I agree with. Plus teams even switching leagues? Teams declaring whether they are contenders or not? Come on.

Still I am one of the many MLB fans who say the current system is seriously flawed. If they (MLB and the union) are going to keep the status quo of teams being able to spend freely then I am in full favor of looking at other options large or small. I admit like always I have no clue what the solution is though.
 
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Just do away with the divisional affiliations and play American and National League balanced schedules like it used to be...
 
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Originally Posted by Nowitness41Dirk

Originally Posted by DeadsetAce

what is this? charity for teams whose owners dont care can't afford to build AND maintain a winning team compete with Boston and New York annually?
Maybe...

Not that I agree with this kind of plan, but let's not act like there aren't a clear and distinct advantages for those two teams in this system.

  
no i agree with you there...but you have teams who draft well, develop their talent, make a big run, and then just dump everyone and start from scratch and vanish into mediocrity for 5 years. i would be so pissed if the red sox tried to pull some crap like that.
 
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Yeah, I'm fine with changes or what not, no problem there, but to pick and choose yearly who and where you'll play?  Naw. 

If you want to realign teams/leagues/divisions, sure, work that out and let's do it.  But none of this pick and choose stuff. 
 
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Or they could just add a salary cap and then the Red Sox and Yankees wouldn't be able to spend three times more on their payroll than the rest of the division...
 
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Originally Posted by DeadsetAce

no i agree with you there...but you have teams who draft well, develop their talent, make a big run, and then just dump everyone and start from scratch and vanish into mediocrity for 5 years. i would be so pissed if the red sox tried to pull some crap like that. 
Oh, I with you there... The Florida Marlins Business Model


It's one of the reasons I'm glad Hicks is on his way out the door in Texas... We've finally built and developed a serious crop of talent, but it was only a matter of time before Hicks decided he couldn't afford to take this thing to the next level and we had to sell guys off...

I think, without question, there needs to be a Payroll Floor involving the revenue sharing system and how that annual check is going to be distributed within an organization... If I'm the Red Sox or Yankees, I'm not happy about cutting a check every year to Florida or Oakland or wherever else and knowing they're pocketing that money and coming back with payrolls under $40M the next year... That's the first thing they need to figure out, IMO... I have no problem with MLB's free market system, but they've gotta do something about the bottom quarter of the league and chopping payrolls to nothing.

Don't try and bring the top back to the pack. Find ways to make the bottom better and develop some depth within the league. It's like what the NBA needs to do with teams chopping payroll and throwing in the towel on seasons to put more Lottery balls in their pockets...
 
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put the blue jays in the national league,,sick of seeing them 4th place every year in the AL east
 
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Pacific:
A's
Mariners
Giants
Dodgers
Angels
Padres

Midwest:
Rockies
Rangers
Diamondbacks
Astros
Brewers
Minny

Central:
Cubs
Cardinals
ChiSox
Tigers
Cincy
KC

Mid-Atlantic:
Blue Jays
Pirates
Phillies
Redsox
Braves
Tribe

Atlantic:
Fish
Yanks
Nats
O's
Mets
Rays


?
 
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Originally Posted by nuggets

Cinco: 5 divisions? what sense would that make?
I'm sitting here trying to figure it out myself


EDIT: top 2 from each division? And the 2 top 3rd place records as the "wild card"?

 
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I actually kinda like that, Cinco...

Couple of things... Scheduling? Play everyone, obviously, but balanced? Do like NFL and play more divisional games, rotate other divisions and then adjust the rest based on success the previous year?

Playoff format? Keep the 8 team format and go 5 division winners and 3 Wild Cards and seed 1-8? Keep an American/National divide and just adjust accordingly? One thing's for sure, I don't want this turning into the NBA where more teams than not get in... I like the number of playoff teams as it is.
 
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not hating cinco, but i think interleague baseball is too important to embrace a 5 division nba/nhl style format...maybe this would work

NL west
giants
dodgers
padres
diamondbacks
rockies
astros
cardinals

NL east
cubs
brewers
pirates
reds
mets
marlins
nats
phillies

AL west
angels
mariners
a's
rangers
royals
twins
white sox

AL east
yankees
red sox
rays
blue jays
o's
tigers
indians
braves

you would have at least 2 traditional divisional powers in each div still, and the 4 team league playoff format would still be intact
 
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There needs to be a payroll floor and a payroll ceiling.  I dont care if its 60 mil and 180, there needs to be both.
 
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As long as they retain the American and National Leagues, I'm okay.

EDIT: And the obvious answer is to install a salary cap, but I'm sure the Yankees and Red Sox and whoever else has money is using whatever influence they have to stop that.
 
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