MLB Overhaul: The Drunk Diner Plan

By Mike Kane, NJFFL Contributor

A lot of talk in the MLB world is that Baseball isn’t exciting, baseball needs a change, baseball is flawed, baseball is losing steam.
Well a few months back, my buddy Matt and I were sitting in a diner at 1 or 2 in the morning, kind of drunk, talking about baseball and how this season just wasn’t that exciting and that we wouldn’t really be paying attention until playoff time. We starting thinking about how to change that and this is what we came up with. Keep in mind that baseball is a business and I’m fully aware that none of the following will ever have a chance in hell of happening.

Our proposed format would have all divisions with 4 teams. To keep the wild card you get down to 24 teams (3 divisions, 4 teams each, each league) to eliminate the wild card you expand to 32 teams (4 divisions, 4 teams, each league). With these options of course the first big decision is whether to expand or contract. If you expand, 2 new teams are needed. We determined the best cities to expand to would be Oklahoma City, Nashville or Memphis, New Orleans, Vancouver & Carolina. We decided on Oklahoma City & Vancouver. If you contract, you must eliminate 8 teams. We decided on Tampa Bay, Florida, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Washington, Arizona, San Diego & Houston as teams to contract. This was based on attendance, payroll, team’s success, etc. Expansion was the way to go, it’d be a bit more realistic than getting rid of 8 teams. With 32 teams you now have an AL East, West, North & South and of course an NL East, West, North & South. Realignment in baseball is so tough because divisions determine the playoffs and you have great rivalries all over MLB. Here is the best alignment we came up with.

AL East:
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

AL North:
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins
Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers

AL South:
Tampa Bay Rays
Oklahoma City Expansion Team
Kansas City Royals
Texas Rangers

AL West:
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Seattle Mariners
Vancouver Expansion Team
Oakland Athletics

NL East:
New York Mets
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
Pittsburgh Pirates

NL North:
Chicago Cubs
St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds
Milwaukee Brewers

NL South:
Houston Astros
Washington Nationals
Florida Marlins
Arizona Diamondbacks

NL West:
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
Colorado Rockies
San Diego Padres

Now that the new divisions are set other changes are necessary. The schedule will be reduced to 131 games with teams playing their division opponent the same number of times (19) each season. Interleague play will also be eliminated. Its run its course and I personally feel no real rivalries have been created. Yankees & Mets to me are not a rivalry. They don’t hate each other like Yankees & Red Sox or Mets & Phillies hate each other. It’s too forced. The new 131 game schedule will cut 1 month off the season allowing for more off days & finishing the season before winter time. The wild card will either be eliminated or expanded. If eliminated, only division winners will make the playoffs. If expanded, NFL playoff rules apply. The 2 teams from each league with the best records will get a bye into the Division series while the remaining 4 teams match up in a Wild Card Best-of-3 series. On the subject of best record, no more All-Star game counting or leagues swapping home field, it’s dumb. The team with the best record in baseball will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. So come World Series time, the team with the better record will have home field.

This system is no where near perfect but I thought it was a great way to really shake things up in baseball. I hope all of the readers maybe feel the same and feel free to comment on how to make this system better.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @MikeKaneSports

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  1. #1 by Roberto on February 9, 2011 - 4:28 pm

    Ridiculous. I’m italian, but I remember how important it was in the 80’s for a team to win the Division…. they were showing the pennant on the stadium because of that…1985 NL EAST CHAMP. That was something, to win a 7 teams division. Now, imagine the Texas Rangers fans to be proud and looking at the pennant on the stadium, just for winning a 4 teams divisions in 2010 (AL WEST), where ONE of THE OTHER THREE TEAMS was the 100+losses Mariners.

    With very small divisions, and a lot of extra division games, baseball is losing is touch in the reagular season….your format is even more embarassing.

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