Realigning Major League Baseball

Liam CallahanContributor IMarch 9, 2010


After the NFL realigned its teams to create more geographically correct divisions I looked at baseball and decided to see if there was a way to make the divisions more geographically accurate. I also took time zone/TV scheduling conflicts into consideration to make teams who play in the same division but different time zones to have the smallest difference in time. I understand that some people like the divisions the way they are and I believe that baseball will never change the divisions because they always seem to lose there vision when a topic is placed in front of them i.e. steroids.


Also I think that this new realignment will help some teams who play in a smaller market to bring in more revenue. The Blue Jays and Orioles owners love being in the AL East because they know they will sell games out when the Yankees and Red Sox come to town. This new alignment will give teams like the Pirates and Indians that same chance.


The final reason is too create more instate rivalries. Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida host multiple teams. Much like in college basketball and football the biggest games of the year are between in state teams. I know that this whole process is thrown for a loop because of inter league play but I think it would be better for the game if inter state rivalries were bigger.


Some teams were difficult to place such as the Rays, Marlins, and Braves. The AL would have 15 total teams and the NL would have 14 total teams.



AL East


This division stays the same except for two new additions. Cleveland and Pittsburgh will join Boston, New York, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. These moves set the stage for more inter state inter league possibilities. This makes it more geographically accurate since Cleveland and Detroit are the only AL Central Teams that play in the Eastern Time Zone and that Pittsburgh is closer to these teams also. The only reason Detroit isn’t here is that they are not as geographically close to the rest of the teams as Cleveland is. Both teams will get 18 opportunities to host the big payrolls of the Red Sox and Yankees which in turn increase their ticket revenues. This could give them a chance to build a more successful team too. It is also good for the fans. Maybe it will keep LeBron in Cleveland if he knows he can see his Yankees play in Cleveland more often.


NL East


In the NL East the Braves are replaced with the Reds. It was hard to decide where to put the Braves since they have played in the East but they are also in a similar geographic line as Cincinnati who played in the Central. Now they stage would be set or the Yankees and Mets, Phillies and Pirates, Rays and Marlins, Orioles and Nationals, and Indians and Reds to host inter league game which would help the instate rivalries. The Red Sox and Blue Jays would be the odd teams out but the Red Sox could always play the Braves in a inter league game since the Braves once called Boston home.



AL Central


The AL Central undergoes the most changes as it loses the Royals and the Indians and gains the Rangers. In theory the Royals could play in either league same as the Braves who I kept in the NL. This division was made this way strictly out of geography. The White Sox, Brewers, Twins, and Tigers are in the same section of the country and only the Tigers and Rangers are in the Eastern Time zone which would be easier for fans and TV coverage.


NL Central


As in the AL Central this division was constructed to reflect geography. The Reds are gone from this division and replaced by the Royals and Braves. The inter league match ups are a little more difficult but they would look like this: Rangers and Astros (or Diamondbacks), Sox and Cubs, Atlanta and either Red Sox/Blue Jays/Brewers, and a match up between Minnesota, Detroit, St. Louis, and Kansas City.  Unlike the East where the Indians and Pirates could rely on the Red Sox and Yankees to help revenue all of these teams are smaller markets minus the Chicago teams. Again there are still star player in each division to fill seats during the season.


AL West  


The West was a little easier to create as all of the teams are located on or near the west coast with exception to the Rockies. San Diego would switch divisions and each league would have four teams. San Diego likeliest match up for inter league would be the Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle would match up with the Rockies. As it has been in the past the AL West would be one of the weakest divisions with the Mariners and Angels headlining it and the A’s and Padres fighting it out for 3rd and 4th. TV scheduling would be easier since all four teams are in the Pacific Time Zone which means that there would be no more Eastern vs. Pacific Time Zone match ups such as there was with the Rangers vs. any west coast team.


NL West


The NL West will lose only one team, the Padres, but it will remain one of the stronger divisions in baseball with the all four having the potential to win the division. This alignment will allow the A’s and Giants to play in inter league and then the Angels and Dodgers can keep their rivalry. The West as a whole would become the smallest division in baseball with only 8 total teams but playing around time zones would be easier since the Diamondbacks and Rockies play in the Mountain Time Zone and all the other teams are in the Pacific Time Zone.