Major Changes: A Very Unorthodox Proposal for Major League Baseball

Brandon MaukContributor IIIDecember 12, 2010

Major Changes: A Very Unorthodox Proposal for Major League Baseball

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    A common criticism of Major League Baseball, besides the lack of a salary cap or parity, is the unfair scheduling and division setup. The division setup in both leagues is very unusual. The American League West has four teams, the National League Central has six teams and every other division has five. This adds up to 14 teams in the AL and 16 in the NL, which has led to uneven scheduling.

    So I am suggesting a dramatic change in both leagues.The new division format should be just like the National Football League, which also has an excellent rotating scheduling system.

    I also suggest cutting regular season games and adding an extra round in the postseason, which would allow teams that would have been previously left out of the wild card to have a chance at the World Series

American League East

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    New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles

    1. New York Yankees

    2. Boston Red Sox

    3. Toronto Blue Jays

    4. Baltimore Orioles

    Makes the most sense geographically and historically. These four teams have been in this division since 1977. The Yankees and Red Sox are still together.

    The Tampa Bay Rays are moved to another division, and it's now a four-way battle between middle- to big-market teams.The Blue Jays have been in the discussion for playoffs for the past few years, and under the new playoff system they can make the playoffs.

    The Orioles, on the other hand, are just hopeless.

American League North

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    Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians

    1. Minnesota Twins

    2. Chicago White Sox

    3. Detroit Tigers

    4. Cleveland Indians

    Similar to the NFL, this is the former Central division. The Kansas City Royals leave, and this division focuses mostly geographically on the Great Lakes region of the United States.

    These are the four teams that were intense competitors in the American League Central when it was first formed. The Indians have won this division seven times going back to 1995, the Twins have won it six times in the last 10 years, and the White Sox have won it three times since 2000.

    This would still be a very competitive division.

American League West

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    Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners

    1. Oakland Athletics

    2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    3. Kansas City Royals

    4. Seattle Mariners

    Out go the defending American League Champion Texas Rangers, and in come the Kansas City Royals. This year, the winner would have been the A's in an awful division.

    The move makes sense from a geographic standpoint, but this would have been an awful division this year. But may have been more competitive in previous years under a different playoff format.

American League South

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    Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Expansion Team, Expansion Team

    1. Tampa Bay Rays

    2. Texas Rangers

    3. Expansion Team

    4. Expansion Team

    This would have been a horrendous division before the Rangers and Rays became relevant. Expansion would probably not be a great idea in this economic state.

    But in an ideal economy, places where MLB may want to expand are the Carolinas of Tennessee, despite the fact they are two states not big on baseball and only on football.

    They are still big enough markets to support a major league team.

National League East

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    Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Pittsburgh Pirates

    1. Philadelphia Phillies

    2. New York Mets

    3. Washington Nationals

    4. Pittsburgh Pirates

    Out go the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins, and in comes the Pittsburgh Pirates. This makes the most geographical sense. These four teams all were in the East before MLB expanded to three divisions.

    The Phillies would likely dominate this division. The only other team with a shot is the Mets.

National League North

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    Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs

    1. Cincinnati Reds

    2. St. Louis Cardinals

    3. Milwaukee Brewers

    4. Chicago Cubs

    This may not make the most geographical sense (Cardinals), but it does keep the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry together.

    The other teams have had minor rivalries with each other over the years. Each team has made the playoffs in the last five years, so it will be very competitive.

National League West

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    San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers

    1. San Francisco Giants

    2. Colorado Rockies

    3. San Diego Padres

    4. Los Angeles Dodgers

    Obviously, this setup makes a whole lot of geographical sense. Each team has been in the playoff hunt in the last five years.

    The Padres won the West in 2005 and 2006 but lost a spot in 2007 and 2010. The Rockies made the playoffs in 2007 and 2009. The Giants are the new World Champions, and the Dodgers won the division in 2008 and 2009.

    This is a very competitive division.

National League South

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    Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks

    1. Atlanta Braves

    2. Florida Marlins

    3. Houston Astros

    4. Arizona Diamondbacks

    The D'backs are the odd men out in the West, so they join the Stros, Bravos, and Fish in the newly formed South.

    The inclusion of the D'backs doesn't make any geographical sense, but they are more south than the Rockies, so they get booted out of the NL West.

    The Braves and Marlins come from the East.

Scheduling

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    Tired of so many Yankees-Red Sox on FOX and ESPN weekends?Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Another common complaint of Major League Baseball is the length of the schedule and unfair scheduling. So I've decided to cut the schedule by 16 games, or over two weeks.

    The NFL has a great rotating schedule that determines a team's interconference and intraconference schedule.

    16 games vs. 3 division opponents = 48 games. 24 home, 24 away

    6 games vs. interleague rival = 6 games. 3 home, 3 away

    3 games vs. 4 interleague teams = 12 games, 6 home, 6 away

    8 games vs. select division (4 teams) = 32 games, 16 home, 16 away

    6 games vs. other two divisions (8 teams) = 48 games, 24 home, 24 away

    Total: 146 games. 73 home, 73 away

    Each team would have its own interleague rival it plays six times a year. If they play each others' respective division, an extra three games will be added between the teams.

    Also, it would cut down the amount of division games to make it more fair.

Interleague Rivals

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    Think interleague scheduling is unbalanced?Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Some of these are obvious, some not.

    New York Yankees vs. New York Mets

    Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs

    Oakland Athletics vs. San Francisco Giants

    Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

    Tampa Bay Rays vs. Florida Marlins

    Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros

    Cleveland Indians vs. Cincinnati Reds

    Kansas City Royals vs. St. Louis Cardinals

    Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals

    Minnesota Twins vs. Milwaukee Brewers

    Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies

    Toronto Blue Jays vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

    Seattle Mariners vs. San Diego Padres

    Detroit Tigers vs. Atlanta Braves

    Expansion Team vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

    Expansion Team vs. Colorado Rockies

Playoffs

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    Should the playoffs be expanded to allow more teams a chance to win?Elsa/Getty Images

    I know this is going to be controversial, but I would definitely like to see longer playoffs, similar to that of the NBA and NHL.

    Playoffs

    8 teams per league

    4 division champions

    4 wild cards

                    8-League Wild Card Series

                                    Best of 5

                                    1 vs. 8

                                    2 vs. 7

                                    3 vs. 6

                                    4 vs. 5

                    4-League Division Series

                                    Best of 5

                                    Best left vs. Worst left

                                    Middle vs. Middle

                    2-League Championship Series

                                    Best of 7

                    World Series

                                    Best of 7

    146 regular season games + 24 maximum postseason games = 170 games total

    Compared to:

    162 regular season games + 19 maximum postseason games = 181 games total

    So in actuality, the current schedule would be longer than this proposal. It makes more sense than what Bug Selig has considered adding to the playoffs.

What If This System Was In Use Already From 2001-2010? (2006-2010)

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    J. Meric/Getty Images

    I went back and looked back at the standings from the last 10 seasons and tried to see who would make the playoffs under this proposed playoff format. I came up with this:

    2010 Playoffs

    AL

    1. Tampa Bay Rays vs. 8. Toronto Blue Jays

    2. New York Yankees vs. 7. Chicago White Sox

    3. Minnesota Twins vs. 6. Boston Red Sox

    4. Oakland Athletics vs. 5. Texas Rangers

    NL

    1. Philadelphia Phillies vs. 8. Florida Marlins

    2. San Francisco Giants vs. 7. Colorado Rockies

    3. Cincinnati Reds vs. 6. St. Louis Cardinals

    4. Atlanta Braves vs. 5. San Diego Padres

    2009 Playoffs

    AL

    1. New York Yankees vs. 8. Tampa Bay Rays

    2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. 7. Seattle Mariners

    3. Texas Rangers vs. 6. Detroit Tigers

    4. Minnesota Twins vs. 5. Boston Red Sox

    NL

    1. Los Angeles Dodgers vs. 8. Chicago Cubs

    2. Philadelphia Phillies vs. 7. Atlanta Braves

    3. St. Louis Cardinals vs. 6. San Francisco Giants

    4. Florida Marlins vs. 5. Colorado Rockies

    2008 Playoffs

    AL

    1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. 8. Cleveland Indians

    2. Tampa Bay Rays vs. 7. Toronto Blue Jays

    3. Boston Red Sox vs. 6. Minnesota Twins

    4. Chicago White Sox vs. 5. New York Yankees

    NL

    1. Chicago Cubs vs. 8. Florida Marlins

    2. Philadelphia Phillies vs. 7. St. Louis Cardinals

    3. Houston Astros vs. 6. New York Mets

    4. Los Angeles Dodgers vs. 5. Milwaukee Brewers

    2007 Playoffs

    AL

    1. Boston Red Sox vs. 8. Toronto Blue Jays

    2. Cleveland Indians vs. 7. Seattle Mariners

    3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. 6.Detroit Tigers

    4. Texas Rangers vs. 5. New York Yankees

    NL

    1. Arizona Diamondbacks vs. 8. Milwaukee Brewers

    2. Colorado Rockies vs. 7. Atlanta Braves

    3. Philadelphia Phillies vs. 6. New York Mets

    4. Chicago Cubs vs. 5. San Diego Padres

    2006 Playoffs

    AL

    1. New York Yankees vs. 8. Toronto Blue Jays

    2. Minnesota Twins vs. 7. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    3. Oakland Athletics vs. 6. Chicago White Sox

    4. Texas Rangers vs. 5. Detroit Tigers

    NL

    1. New York Mets vs. 8. Atlanta Braves

    2. San Diego Padres vs. 7. Cincinnati Reds

    3. St. Louis Cardinals vs. 6. Philadelphia Phillies

    4. Houston Astros vs. 5. Los Angeles Dodgers

What If This System Was in Use Already from 2001-2010? (2001-2005)

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    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Earlier part of the decade:

    2005 Playoffs

    AL

    1. Chicago White Sox vs. 8. Minnesota Twins

    2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. 7. Oakland Athletics

    3. New York Yankees vs. 6. Cleveland Indians

    4. Texas Rangers vs. 5. Boston Red Sox

    NL

    1. St. Louis Cardinals vs. 8. Milwaukee Brewers

    2. Atlanta Braves vs. 7. New York Mets

    3. Philadelphia Phillies vs. 6. Florida Marlins

    4. San Diego Padres vs. 5. Houston Astros

    2004 Playoffs

    AL

    1. New York Yankees vs. 8. Cleveland Indians

    2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. 7. Chicago White Sox

    3. Minnesota Twins vs. 6. Oakland Athletics

    4. Texas Rangers vs. 5. Boston Red Sox

    NL

    1. St. Louis Cardinals vs. 8. San Diego Padres

    2. Atlanta Braves vs. 7. Chicago Cubs

    3. Los Angeles Dodgers vs. 6. San Francisco Giants

    4. Philadelphia Phillies vs. 5. Houston Astros

    2003 Playoffs

    AL

    1. New York Yankees vs. 8. Chicago White Sox

    2. Oakland Athletics vs. 7. Toronto Blue Jays

    3. Minnesota Twins vs. 6. Seattle Mariners

    4. Texas Rangers vs. 5. Boston Red Sox

    NL

    1. Atlanta Braves vs. 8. St. Louis Cardinals

    2. San Francisco Giants vs. 7. Los Angeles Dodgers

    3. Chicago Cubs vs. 6. Houston Astros

    4. Philadelphia Phillies vs. 5. Florida Marlins

    2002 Playoffs

    AL

    1. New York Yankees vs. 8. Chicago White Sox

    2. Oakland Athletics vs. 7. Seattle Mariners

    3. Minnesota Twins vs. 6. Boston Red Sox

    4. Texas Rangers vs. 5. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    NL

    1. Atlanta Braves vs. 8. Philadelphia Phillies

    2. St. Louis Cardinals vs. 7. Houston Astros

    3. San Francisco Giants vs. 6. Los Angeles Dodgers

    4. Montreal Expos vs. 5. Arizona Diamondbacks

    2001 Playoffs

    AL

    1. Seattle Mariners vs. 8. Boston Red Sox

    2. New York Yankees vs. 7. Chicago White Sox

    3. Cleveland Indians vs. 6. Minnesota Twins

    4. Texas Rangers vs. 5. Oakland Athletics

    NL

    1. St. Louis Cardinals vs. 8. Los Angeles Dodgers

    2. Houston Astros vs. 7. Chicago Cubs

    3. San Francisco Giants vs. 6. Atlanta Braves

    4. Philadelphia Phillies vs. 5. Arizona Diamondbacks

What Do You Think?

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    Tim Boyles/Getty Images

    I know this is so much to digest, but what is your take on this?

    Is this just all ridiculous, or does it make a lot of sense when you dig deeper?

    That is for you to decide.