Saturday, June 18, 2011

MLB Restructure, Not Realignment

Major League Baseball has opened up its sometimes crotchety old mind to reforming itself via realignment. Unfortunately, 30 teams do not split into two even conferences so the purists would be up-in-arms about the fact that there would be inter-league play everyday. I praise the progressive minds that leaked this information to the press so that the court of public opinion will provide leverage against the old-timers who run this already antiquated league. This is what my two conferences would look like (top four, five, or six from each conference make the playoffs):

American Conference:
  1. New York Yankees
  2. New York Mets
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Philadelphia Phillies
  5. Baltimore Orioles
  6. Washington Nationals
  7. Toronto Blue Jays
  8. Forlida Marlins
  9. Atlanta Braves
  10. Pittsburgh Pirates
  11. Cleveland Indians
  12. Detroit Lions
  13. Cincinnati Reds
  14. Milwaukee Brewers
National Conference

  1. Chicago Cubs
  2. Chicago White Sox
  3. Minnesota Twins
  4. St. Louis Cardinals
  5. Houston Astros
  6. Texas Rangers
  7. San Francisco Giants
  8. Los Angeles Dodgers
  9. Oakland A's
  10. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim via California
  11. San Diego Padres
  12. Colorado Rockies
  13. Arizona Diamondbacks
  14. Seattle Mariners
You probably noticed that these conferences are split east and west, but what you may not have noticed is that two teams are missing. Upon first glance, Dick Vitale and his 10 friends noticed that their devil-ish Rays are not on the list. This is because the Tampa Bay experiment has failed. That ballpark is grotesque and serves as a second home venue to Boston and New York fans. The team is a AAAA minor league team that struck lightning in a bottle to compete the last few years. Kansas City was also on the chopping block. The Royals haven't been competitive in two decades and the waterfall at their ballpark has run its course. It is unfortunate that their superior farm systems and scouting departments will have to move elsewhere, but it will make the game better by making every team better.

In addition to contracting two teams, I would also try to make the financial playing field more level by instituting a hard salary cap/minimum AND/OR sharing local TV revenues. In this economy, winning is everything for sports franchises because fans do not have as much discretionary income to spend on overpriced parking, food, and tickets. If everyone team has a similar payroll or TV revenue stream, then they have no one but themselves to blame for having a bad season. In the case of shared TV revenue, the commissioner's office should create a "compliance" division that makes sure that teams are using 100% of shared revenue towards baseball activities such as payroll or stadium renovations. The biggest crime of the current revenue sharing program is that there are "welfare teams" who appear to have zero contention of making the playoffs and pocket a percentage of the money given to them by the teams that are trying to win. Baseball needs to eliminate the stigma attached to its game that the same six teams are in contention every year. I know that the same teams haven't won the world series every year, but parody is not the first word that comes to mind when Major League Baseball is brought up in conversation and that needs to be addressed. Now.

2 comments:

  1. Contract Oakland or the Marlins in addition to the rays as opposed to the Royals. The Royals' facility is nice and they have fan support and history. Additionally the idea of a salary cap is bad in my opinion, baseball does better when major market teams are in the playoffs and that will quell the competitive advantage that is in place. Also the Lions should be the Tigers.

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  2. If baseball does better with the big markets doing well, why don't they just contract all but the 10 major markets? It's hard to sell season tickets to the middle of the country (sans St Louis and Chicago) because there are very few consistently successful teams there. There is zero urgency for the bad teams to get better because the revenue sharing allows the bad teams to still profit similar money percentage wise as the good teams. It's completely backwards.

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