If you remember some time ago when Tom Hicks owned the Texas Rangers, then commissioner Bud Selig had promised to do something about the fact that the Rangers were stuck in a division with all West Coast teams. While there was no solid info as to what was going to happen, there was much talk that Selig would “fix the problem”. Then came Interleague play.
Once Interleague play came along, Tom Hicks let Selig off the hook for getting them out of the division if we were guaranteed an Interleague series every year against the Astros, back when the Astros were still in the National League. So that’s why we’re still in the AL West when we’re two hours behind all our west coast division foes. I’m 52 now, and I’ve found that these 9PM games are rough when you have to get up at 7AM to get the kids off to school, I’m rarely able to stay up for the whole game when 9PM is the start time. It’s worse when the game goes long – one of them this year ran four hours and ended around 1AM. Good Lord.
At this point, the only real way we’re going to solve this I think is full on realignment. Not just a minor tweak like Brewers to the NL from the AL, or the Astros to the AL from the NL. I’m talking a full on reworking of the division structure. To do this properly, it would require expansion again. Something that has gotten some talk lately is expansion. I don’t think it’s imminent, but I could see it happening before too long. While nothing has been announced of course, the two cities I hear talk about are Las Vegas & Montreal.
For the purposes of this article, lets assume it is Las Vegas & Montreal that get two new teams. There are a total of 30 teams at the moment. Three divisions in each league the consists of 5 teams. Expansion of two teams would bring the total to 32, and would allow for a full realignment that I think is necessary to solve regional issues.
Nothing is perfect of course, and I don’t believe there are enough teams to properly cover it – a couple will have to play out of their time zone, but I think this is way better in terms of having all the teams in a division in the same general physical area. Additionally, the “South/North” stuff is just for this piece, I’m not convinced they should actually be named that, but I don’t have a better idea at the moment.
Also for this idea to work, the Las Vegas team would need to go the American League, and the Montreal team would need to go to the National League. Here goes the idea.
- Anaheim Angels
- Seattle Mariners
- Oakland A’s
- Las Vegas Team
All four teams in the Pacific Time Zone
- Kansas City Royals
- Houston Astros
- Texas Rangers
- Minnesota Twins
All four teams in the Central Time Zone
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Detroit Tigers
- Chicago White Sox
- Cleveland Indians
Chicago is in the Central Time Zone, the other three teams are in the Eastern Time Zone
- Baltimore Orioles
- New York Yankees
- Boston Red Sox
- Tampa Bay Rays
All four teams in the Eastern Time Zone
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- San Francisco Giants
- San Diego Padres
- Arizona Diamondbacks
Diamondbacks are in the Mountain Time Zone, the other three are in the Pacific Time Zone
NL North (Central?)
- Colorado Rockies
- Saint Louis Cardinals
- Chicago Cubs
- Milwaukee Brewers
Rockies are in the Mountain Time Zone, the other three are in the Central Time Zone
- Atlanta Braves
- Washington Nationals
- Miami Marlins
- Cincinnati Reds
All four teams are in the Eastern Time Zone
- New York Mets
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Montreal Team (Expos?)
All four teams are in the Eastern Time Zone
Part of the problem with the National League on the East Coast is that there’s too many physical teams. Purely geographically, there’s like 7 teams that would go in the “East”. The Reds really belong in the North/Central division, but if we’re keeping it at four per division, someone’s gonna be slightly out of place. At least they’re in the Eastern Time Zone with the other four teams. :)
Also, for geographic reasons, the North/South doesn’t work as well in the NL. If they split it up like this, they’ll either just have to go with oddly named divisions, but geographically it mostly works.
Would love to see this happen – been awhile since there was expansion in MLB. Here’s the last few rounds of expansion:
- 1998: Tampa Bay Devil Rays & Arizona Diamondbacks
- 1993: Colorado Rockies & Florida Marlins
- 1977: Toronto Blue Jays & Seattle Mariners
- 1969: Kansas City Royals, Seattle Pilots, Montreal Expos, & San Diego Padres
- 1962: Houston Colt 45’s & New York Mets
- 1961: Los Angeles Angels & Washington Senators
The Pilots moved to Milwaukee after one year and became the Milwaukee Brewers. The Washington Senators moved after the 1971 season and became the Texas Rangers.
Thanks to Brandon from the Rangers Facebook group for being the catalyst for me writing this. The team alignment is pretty much his idea too – I couldn’t figure anything radical to change it up with
P.S. If MLB does to back to Montreal, I’d be very curious to see if they’d have any connection to the Expos at all. Because I know the Washington Nationals own the rights to all the Expos names, logos, and team franchise records. All except their mascot, Youppi, who was left behind in Montreal when the team moved.