It seems like every day some writer comes up with a new kind of "realignment" plan to fix baseball. Many ideas have been put out there and some of them are pretty good and some of them are horrible. Some of the most frequent things that I have seen are people suggesting to do away with the divisions and other people suggesting that we need to split up the Yankees and Red Sox because it's not fair to the other three teams in the AL East; I don't really agree with either of these. I love the divisions and as much as I hate the Yankees and the Red Sox it would just be wrong to see them get split up. In my opinion the biggest problem is that the AL has 14 teams and the NL has 16. So the first thing I would do would be to:
1. Move the Astros to the AL West.
The rest is after the jump
It doesn't necessarily have to be the Astros, it could be anybody from the NL West too, but I just thought that this was the easiest way to do it. They have a built in rivalry with Texas and the Rangers will finally have someone in their own time zone in their division. The concept that the teams in the AL West only have to beat out three other teams to win their divison and teams in the NL Central have to beat out five is just stupid. The only issue with moving the Astros is that now we would have an odd number of teams in each league, which leads me to my next step:
2. Make interleague play run throughout the entire season.
In this scenario there would always be one interleague series going on which would result in a minimum of two per week. If there were only to be two interleague series' per week then that would mean that each team would play a team from the other leauge once every 7.5 weeks. with 26 weeks in the regular season that would come out to be about 3 or 4 interleague series for each team. Or we could have 4 interleague series' a week which would come out to 7 series' per team. I tend to lean towards the latter, but it doesn't really matter to me; the whole point of this is to make two 15 team leagues possible. The first two steps don't really involve that big of a change, but my next step is a little bit more controversial:
3. Expand the playoffs to 6 teams.
I got this idea from Buster Olney's Blog and thought it was great right when I read it. I understand that fewer teams makes the playoffs more glamorous and only lets the most deserving teams in, but something has to be done to help out those teams in the AL East. Since a salary cap is completely out of the question, I thought that adding two playoff spots was the best way to even things out. The division winners with the two best records would get a bye and the lowest division winner and the three wild cards would each play a three game series starting the Tuesday after the regular season ends, the rest of the playoffs would be exactly the same, but would start on Saturday and have all those meaningless days off eliminated.
I think that a three game series would be really exciting, sort of like what we had in that last week at Detroit last year. Also, I think that by adding teams to the playoffs you would see a lot fewer teams giving away their stars to the big market teams because getting one of those three wild card spots would be very doable. For example, this is what the playoffs would have looked like last year in the American League:
Teams with byes: 1) Yankees and 2) Angels
The same rule would apply in this first round where you can't play a team from your division (unless one division ends up taking too many wild card spots). The Tigers technically would have been the 6 seed here but I don't think anyone would have been able to handle another series with Detroit. The last thought I have I'm not even sure if it's really necessary but here it goes:
4. Weigh the interleague schedule to how teams finished the previous year.
Again, I don't even know if I would do this, but I have heard a couple people say that they think the MLB should do what the NFL does and give the better teams a tougher schedule the next year. It only happens for two games in the NFL so it isn't a huge dael, but having some sort of system where you play one team from each divison in the other league and they would each be the teams who finished in the same spot in their division as your team did. For example, the Twins finished first so they would play St. Lous, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles in interleague play, and the Royals would play the Nationals, Padres, and Pirates.
So there you have it, my realignment plan. Let me know what if you guys think this is actually doable or just totally crazy.