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Relignment and Re-Divisioning, Continued

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More discussion on realignment and re-distributive divisioning from former-GM Jim Bowden and Rob Neyer.

To Bowden’s proposal, I say UGH!

My problem with Bowden’s proposal is that it goes way, way too far. This isn’t the NBA or NHL or NFL, whose history’s prior to, oh, 1950 are largely lost in a beer and whiskey haze. No, this is baseball, which has a rich history worthy of preservation and a sense of continuity.

So, Bowden goes a lot too far.

Heck, even the NFL, in its last–extensive–realignment, realized that pure geography wasn’t conducive to maintaining historical rivalries: Dallas in the NFC East, for example. And the “new” NFC North is really the old NFC Central as it existed prior to  Tampa Bay joining it in 1977.

A view that dissents from mine and Neyer’s was presented by Al Yellon. However, his “response” suffers from not being very responsive: even though Yellon’s piece is a response to Neyer’s, he fails to grapple with Neyer’s pre-emptive answers to the points Yellon raises. That is, Neyer raises those points and answers them, while Yellon just repeats those points without dealing with the answers to them that Neyer makes. About the only real point Yellon makes is to say he appreciates the “quirky” irrationalities of the status quo. Which in my book is sort of like saying you love the Electoral College or the Smoot-Hawley Tariff (sorry, as a political scientist weird things like that leap up at me when I’m looking for quick and dirty analogies).

Remember, I think they should move a team from the NL to the AL–a team which came into existence in 1968 or later, for NONE of the original National League teams should be moved to the AL; you got 100+ years in the NL you get to freakin’ stay there–so that both leagues have 15 teams, and then you eliminate divisions and have league-wide standings and (as close as possible to) a balanced schedule.

Even though I don’t care for interleague play, the reason I don’t care for it is that teams in the same division play different interleague opponents based on their “natural” rivalries. Well, in a 15 team league with no divisions you play each team in the other league twice (30 total games) but that means everyone plays the same opponents, so it wouldn’t be as biased as the status quo. It at least irons out part of the wrinkly inequities of the current “system” of determining interleague opponents. The Mets get screwed every year, and while they aren’t really a threat in the NL East this year, and while I also don’t really care for the Mets, it still is unfair that they have a harder road to hew right off the top than the other teams in their division.

Neyer wisely points out that most of what we’ll here from sports “pundits” (like that colossal idiot Dan Shaughnessy, may a keyboard scald his filthy fingers) will basically whine about the unfamiliar:

Not all, but most of the arguments will essentially be this: We can’t do it this new way, because I like the old way!

Just so you know, most of the people making that argument were also dead-set against realignment and the related changes in 1994. Then, like now, most of the arguments were fundamentally about fear of change, rather than what might be more entertaining, more profitable, more fair, etc.

I don’t mean to dismiss the arguments and the complaints that will attend any change to the current protocol. I’m just saying that most of them will be driven by emotion rather than logic. Which is fine; without emotion, there wouldn’t be professional sports and I wouldn’t make a pretty good living writing stuff for you to read.

I guess that’s kind of like my argument–uh, whine–that the old-school NL teams should stay NL, but divisional play began only in 1969, whereas the NL played with the same eight teams from, oh, 1900 or 1901 until 1962.

Anyway, vote in the poll at the bottom of Neyer’s piece. The results might surprise you.

I’ll try to keep up with the “Pundit’s” reactions to this news from over the weekend. It should be interesting.

Written by jjvedamuthu

June 12, 2011 at 16:18