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Realignment Idea

with 2 comments

Neat idea.

What do you think? I totally favor getting rid of divisions and using league-wide standings. If the purpose of the playoffs is to determine the best team, then divisional winners with records worse than other teams are a farce. Baseball season is sufficiently long to determine on the basis of won-loss records who the best teams are.

In the current configuration I hate interleague play.  If divisional races have meaning, then pairing off teams for “natural/geographical” rivalries, while sort of cool in a post-modern/simulacrum/hyperreal kind of way, means that teams in the same divisions don’t play the same quality of opposition. That is, the Mets always draw the Yankees, but the Braves don’t necessarily have that headache.

This factor alone makes the divisional races kind of a farce.

If you must have interleague play–and to me that’s a big if, but I guess everyone with the money favors it–then you also must eliminate divisions if you wish to produce a regular season (audition) for post-season play.

Just sayin’.

UPDATE–Here is an analysis of interleague play’s imbalances which I kind of vaguely referred to without coherently explaining. The key line reads like this:

The inherent imbalance that this system creates can make very real differences in tight pennant races.

But he really makes the point in these paragraphs:

The Red Sox, however, get a huge boost over their AL East competitors, because they get to play the floundering Cubs, Padres and Astros. They also get series against the sub-.500 Brewers and Pirates. The only team currently above .500 they have to play in their interleague slate is Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Rays have to square off against a tough Marlins team for six games, along with three-game sets against St. Louis, Cincinnati and Milwaukee. Given that just 2.5 games separate the top four teams in the East, it’s very likely that those extra contests against quality opponents could cost the Rays at least a division title and maybe even the AL wild card, while helping Boston sneak in.

Likewise, the Rangers look to be in a tight battle in the AL West for the rest of the season with the A’s and Angels. Fortunately for them they get a huge boost from their interleague schedule, since they get to play the hapless Astros six times, while Oakland has to face the cross-Bay World Champion Giants six times, plus the Phillies and Marlins three times each. The Indians, as they work to prove they are not a fluke, will have to contend with the fifth-hardest interleague schedule in baseball.

Over in the National League, the Reds join the Tribe in that they get totally screwed by their interleague schedule. Not only do they face the toughest opponents because they don’t face anyone currently under .500, they are also one of just four National League clubs that have to play 18 games against the AL. Admittedly, the Indians team that they play six times may not be as good as advertised, but the Reds still have to play the AL East in all 12 of their other interleague contests, which should prove difficult. Meanwhile, the Cubs and Brewers get six games each against the White Sox and Twins, respectively. That might have looked tough on paper in March, but less so now.

In the NL East, Atlanta only has to play 15 games against AL clubs, nine of which are against teams that are under .500. On the other hand, the Marlins get 18 contests against the AL, six of which come against Tampa Bay, and three each against the A’s and Rangers. Depending on which pitchers they run up against when the Angels come to town, the Fish could be shut down then too.

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Written by jjvedamuthu

May 21, 2011 at 12:47

2 Responses

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  1. […] This makes sense to me, as I said here. […]

  2. […]  links to my previous posts on the matter are here, here, and […]


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