With the recent report that has come out about the MLB thinking about realigning the league http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6651634, I think it would be a great idea and it's something we NEED to do! I’m not sure I like the idea of having two-fifteen team leagues, but I think there are other ways to do realignment.
For starters, the American League West (ALW) and National League Central (NLC) divisions are unfair...plain and simple. It is not fair that the NLC teams have a 1/6 (16.7%) chance of winning a division, while the ALW has 1/4 (25%) chance, while everyone else in the league has 1/5 (20%) chance. We are already setting up most of the NLC teams at an automatic disadvantage, while we are giving the ALW teams an automatic advantage. Think if the Pirates or any other team in the division got an equal shot to win the division like everyone else. That would be huge for their teams and the league!
Another case is that according to odds, it's easier for an American League team (1/14 odds - 7.14%) to make it to the World Series, compared to a National League team (1/16 odds - 6.25%). Once again it is not fair. Even though it is a one percent difference, it can make a huge impact, especially with revenue coming from the teams. When teams make the play-offs or the World Series, they generally see a huge spike in sales and interest in those teams. I don't have the numbers but it is common knowledge that it typically happens. That then means more money for the MLB.
My proposed changes to MLB would be this:
American League East (ALE) Nation League East (NLE)
Red Sox Phillies
Braves Blue Jays
American League Central (ALC) National League Central (NLC)
White Sox Cubs
American League West (ALW) National League West (NLW)
The major changes would be switching the Blue Jays and Orioles with the Nationals and Braves to opposite leagues. The point of this would be, imagine putting the Blue Jays in a division where they could be more successful, and not have to always play the Red Sox and Yankees power houses. If they start to do very well, think of the fan interest of baseball in Canada. We all know it has been dying up there, especially since there is only one team. Put them in a division where they can be more competitive and have a better chance of making the play-offs. It would pay off very well as an entire country could rally around its one MLB team.
It’s kind of the same situation for the Orioles. Think of the boost that franchise would get for being in a division where they have a chance to be successful and not consistently play the power houses. We know Baltimore is a great baseball city - it just needs a competitive team to follow. It will definitely be more competitive if it's in the National League.
For the other teams, the Braves successful franchise would immediately add another element to the ALE and would challenge the other teams. The Nationals would also be competitive because they have money to spend and a farm system with some up-and-coming stars would also be competitive.
The last changes would be making all the divisions have five teams, by putting the Astros in the NLW, and putting the Rockies in the ALW. If a Texas team is in the ALW, why can't a National League team be? The reason why I pick the Rockies for making a switch, is the fact that they are generally considered the western part of the country, and they don't have any direct rivals that would make a big difference if they did move. Plus think about Coors Field with a DH. Let's see the Yankees and Red Sox play there each year...that could be a lot of fun!
Obviously the big problem with this is the fact that it is more difficult to schedule a season with the odd number teams. But you can't tell me that there isn't a way to fix it. There's has to be a solution. Such as some teams playing a 4 game series, while others play three game series and get the day off. There HAS to be a way.
In the end, baseball is an amazing sport and it does a lot of things right. This is something I think NEEDS to be fixed, even before we think about changing the wild card system. These changes will mean equality for all teams around, revival of franchises, and the interest of baseball for a whole country.