With the Astros moving to the AL West in 2013 and the impending changes that will occur with the divisions and scheduling, people are wondering which teams will end up in which divisions and how that will change interleague play. Tons of ideas have been thrown around, but here is one way of looking at it.
The major obstacle in the realignment plan is geography. With no teams in what’s considered the Great Plains of the US, and almost all 30 teams along the coasts it makes it hard to sort teams geographically. But any realignment that happens should accomplish 4 mains goals:
-Accomodate time zones in the divisions. This isn’t a huge problem with the current setup, but it is pretty annoying that the Pirates and Reds are the only teams in the eastern time zone in the NL Central. It’s impossible to completely solve this problem, but there are some ways to make it better.
-Maintain current rivalries but also reignite some old ones. There are some great rivalries between teams now, but there could also be some more. Is there really any bad blood between the Phillies and Mets anymore?
-Names of the divisions. The Pirates and Reds aren’t in the center of the country, so let’s stop calling their division the Central.
-Keep it fair. The Orioles and Blue Jays have absolutely no chance at winning the AL East, so they should be put into a division where they could actually contend.
With these 4 goals in mind, and keeping the 2013 setup of 2 leagues, 6 divisions, and 5 teams in each division, here is our proposed MLB realignment.
First, the NL and AL should be kept. But the teams and divisions within them should change. The NL will have the Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, and Willie Mays divisions. The AL will have the Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth divisions.
Roberto Clemente Division:
-Pittsburgh Pirates (Of course we’re in the Clemente division)
-New York Mets
Jackie Robinson Division:
-Chicago White Sox
-Toronto Blue Jays
-Kansas City Royals
Willie Mays Division:
-San Francisco Giants
-Los Angeles Dodgers
Ted Williams Division:
-Boston Red Sox
-New York Yankees
Hank Aaron Division:
– Tampa Bay Rays
-St. Louis Cardinals
Babe Ruth Division:
-Los Angels Angels of Anaheim
-San Diego Padres
It’s extremely tough to sort all 30 teams in 6 equal divisions. With the teams in the lower midwest and southeast so spread out, putting them into divisions that accommodate the time zones but also keeping rivalries is difficult. One rule that I kept consistent in this plan is that any two teams in the same city (Cubs-White Sox, Giants-A’s, Angels-Dodgers, and Yankees-Mets) are in different leagues, just so that there could be a World Series featuring two teams from the same city.
As far as scheduling goes, there will always have to be one interleague series going on. It would have to be as equal as possible, with each team playing the same amount of teams from the other league.
Again, this is all just in good fun. No one will really know how the realignment will shake out until Bud Selig announces his plan sometime in the season. Mess around with realignment on your own. There’s endless possibilities with this stuff.