MLB Considering Realignment. Good or Bad for Baseball?

I have always been very outspoken about my disdain for a lot of the policies of Major League Baseball. It is not the sport itself that I do not like because I love baseball with a passion. However, when you step back and look at some of the particular nuances of Major League Baseball, sometimes you cannot help but scratch your head.

For example, why does the All Star game determine home field advantage in the World Series? This is the most backwards rule I’ve ever seen. How can you sell to the fan base that even if their team gets the best record during the regular season, they may still be at a disadvantage in the World Series on the grounds that the league they are in loss the All Star Game. You cannot base home field in the World Series on a game in which half the players’ teams do not even have a shot at the World Series anyway. I mean think about it. Are the required Pirates and Mariners All Star representatives thinking to themselves “we better play pretty hard out here today so that the Phillies or Red Sox can get their home field advantage in October?” That is not happening and it is not fair. It makes no sense. You make a rule that every team has to be represented which means that you cannot possibly make the best team because a better player is going to be left out for a guy who is only there because he is the best of the worst on his horrible team and then you tell the teams to go win. That is an extremely weird position to put a manager in.

The Astros may be jumping to the AL in 2012.

Or how about the classic debate of the DH. Why do 14 teams get to play with a guy who subs in for the pitcher at the plate and does not have to play a lick in the field while 16 other teams have to suffer through at bats from the pitcher? Simple and plan, if you play in the field you should have to bat and if you come off the bench you should have to be subbed in. However, if the league is going to insist on having a DH, at least give every team that advantage.

Then of course there are the little things like why do the parks vary so much in terms of size and why do the coaches wear uniforms. Are they planning on subbing themselves in at some point if they run out of players? And do not even get me started on Inter-league play.

Baseball is quirky and perhaps that quirkiness is what makes it America’s pastime but baseball could be taking a step to get somewhat less peculiar.

The league is discussing a plan to change the 16-14 format and go with 15 teams in both the NL and the AL. That would involve a National League team heading over to the other side and early indications are that if the plan goes into effect, the Houston Astros could be the team on the move. This would take one team from the 6 team NL Central and foster an obvious rivalry between the Astros and the Texas Rangers.

Under the plan the leagues would no longer be divided into divisions. No more Phillies vs. Braves NL East showdowns or Yankees vs. Red Sox AL East races in September. There would be two leagues and the top 3 teams from each will make the playoffs while the 4th and 5th place teams square off as wild cards for the 4th and final spot. The plan could go into effect in 2012.

There may be no more Phillies Braves NL East matchups under the current plan.

Under the plan, there would be many more inter-league games. Perhaps everyday. This would mean that there would be more occurrences of teams having to play a brand of baseball that they are not used to. This may make you ask then why not make the rules the same for both leagues if they will have to play so often. Perhaps the league will but that does not seem to be their intention at this point.

So the oddest professional sports league in America is seemingly trying to take a step toward normalcy but in all honesty it all sounds confusing and complicated in its own ways. Will evening out the leagues be a good thing. Yes, but the league has to make sure that the players, owners and fans are all on board with the parameters that will come with such a realignment.

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