After talking about contracting/moving the Tampa Bay Rays and Florida Marlins a few days ago I had the idea of expanding into two new markets stuck in my head. Along with my obsessive need for symmetry between the leagues I began to work on an idea for expansion and realignment in the MLB. My results needed to do a few things:
-Elimination of the Wild Card. I don't like having three divisions in each league, it breaks the symmetry of the playoffs, under my new system there are four divisions which each send a winner to the playoffs. Same number of games, no Wild-card berths.
-League and divisional symmetry. The American League has 14 teams, the National League has 16. The AL West has 4 teams, the NL Central has 6, every other division has 5. This leads to some competitive advantages and disadvantages for everyone. Each division needs the same number of teams.
-Fix travel hurdles. Every division except the two Eastern Divisions have to cross timezones for inter-division play, with the worst of the bunch being the AL West. Arlington is closer to Chicago and Kansas City than it is to Anaheim.
-Solve the Angels identity crisis. You can be the California Angels, the Los Angeles Angels, or the Anaheim Angels, no more of this Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in California of the USA in North America on Planet Earth in the Sol System tomfoolery. Pick a name and stick with it.
WIthout further ado, the new MLB divisional format:
*Denotes a new franchise.
I did run into a little bit of trouble with the NL North and NL South, both stretch over three timezones. However, if both Florida franchises are moved from their state the re-realignment could make more sense, depending on their destination.