Saturday, June 11, 2011

Juuust a bit outside

Did you see this? Major League Baseball is considering team realignment ... again.

Someone other than me finally realized it was unstable to have 14 American League teams and 16 National League teams.

The AL West has only 4 teams while the NL Central has 6. Which means the Texas Rangers, for example, only need to better 3 teams to make the playoffs, while the Cardinals must beat 5 teams to do the same.

There's talk of moving a NL team to the AL.

Well, part of the foolishness was moving the Milwaukee Brewers from the American League to the National League to begin with. I hope they'll move the Brewers back instead of further cagging up baseball by moving a longstanding NL team to the AL.

The disAstros were mentioned as a way to get a rivalry going with the Texas Rangers. However, anyone who follows the NL Central knows there's been a pretty nice rivalry going between them and the Cardinals since the mid-90s.

I said all that to say this, I hope somewhere along the line MLB gets a lick of sense and fixes the following things:
  1. Designated Hitter - I've written about this before, but here I'll just say it's insulting to the game and unstable to have different rules for different ballparks.
  2. Different sized playing fields - It's unstable to have a home run in one park be a fly out in another. Oh, and what's with that incline in center in Houston?
  3. Different quantities in divisions - 30 teams and you want 6 divisions? How about six 5-team divisions, like my first-grader would suggest?
There are things to fix, but as students of presidential politics might tell you, change isn't necessarily good. Just don't make it worse, MLB.



At 13 June, 2011 19:33, Blogger Rev. said...

1. DH - Doesn't add either more runs or more excitement.

2. Personally, I like the uniqueness each stadium can have. That incline in HOU is weird hoodoo.

3. The 1st-grader has it figured.

At 15 June, 2011 01:11, Blogger GUNNY said...

Well, Rev, 2 outta 3 ain't bad.

I guess I can live with unique stadiums, though I would never want to be a catcher warming up a relief pitcher at Wrigley knowing I could take one in the back of the head at any time.

The first one who thought of a safe place for the bullpen to warm up needs a place in the baseball hall of fame.

At 26 June, 2011 17:16, Blogger Oilcan said...


1. The one thing I do like about the DH is that it extends the careers of players who are too old and fat to play defense. Wouldn't Gunny want to see his aging yet still beloved Pujols launching homers in the future bizarro MLB where the Cardinals play DH rules half of the time in season long inter-league play. I liked seeing my post-roid Sammy Sosa hitting a few homers for the Texas Rangers. Anyway, probably not worth the DH instability, but still a good thing.

2. I like the unique character of ballparks, but only historical ballparks. I think it is silly to build a new stadium and purposely insert weirdness into it as an attempt to produce faux character. I think you can have a very limited variance of outfield wall distance and height, but please, make the home run boundary clearly a boundary - not a stupid yellow line that the umpires have to guess where the ball hit the line, or just above the line, or just below the line from 100+ ft away. Do you hear me DisAstros? That and the hill is stupid, even without the flag pole! Personally, I prefer a nice basket around the top of the wall - either it is in the basket or not - very clear. Go Cubs. And the bullpen in the danger zone works best to keep opposing relief pitchers on edge, preferably to keep the struggling pitcher in the game a little longer. But if you want to trick up your stadium, do it outside the field of play in the stands etc please - Jerry World case in point. (And don't go Boise St blue field either - that is such incomprehensible weirdness).

3. I prefer year-round interleague play (assuming we still continue with the DH in the AL). Why wouldn't MLB want to put every team and player in every market just like all other sports do. I mean, imagine having Jordan on an AL team, but you never got to see him play in your own NL park. That has always been dumb to me. Also, certainly, make every division the same number of teams - so simple a first grader who cannot even divide yet knows that is right. Although, I must say, even though the current Rangers have a 25% chance of winning their 4-team division, I know that adding the historic KC Royals back to the AL West WILL NOT hurt that percentage at all, and would most likely boost it. And I tell you, I cannot stand the Rangers schedule its ALWAYS Mariners, As, Angels. Very boring. And, when I want to go see the Cubs play their rival Cardinals in St Louis, it is like they hardly ever play and always sold out. I know in the current alignment they want 7 Al games / 8 NL games - but that "balance" is not worth the current instability and could and should be done away with with either year round interleague play or no DH rule or both.

4. I also think a shorter season would be better. We cannot figure out who the best teams are with no less 162-games?! Ridiculous, and further ridiculous to have your premier World Series being played in the worst cold conditions. Even the NFL knows to play the Super Bowl in good weather. Shorter season, longer postseason - not by just adding more "wild card" teams - but by making all series best of 7. But if you keep with the wildcard, just have the best two non-division leaders play themselves in a short best of 3 series all at the better teams home park. The division winning teams can get a few days rest as an advantage over the wild card, plus be able to start their playoff round with the top of the rotation as another advantage, and with the wildcard at a big disadvantage. That is the way it should be - the wild card team should have the hardest route to the championship.

5. Less clients. Less money.

At 01 July, 2011 21:01, Blogger GUNNY said...

1. Yeah, I guess that's a bonus of the DH, but it does create a very limited player. I prefer kids growing up able to field & hit, just like their heroes do. The downside could be that Albert Pujols doesn't get much playing time and never makes it to 1B because Mark McGwire hangs on another 4 years. I enjoyed Big Mac, very much, but aging older guys hanging on leave little room for tomorrow's favorites.

2. OILCAN wrote: "I like the unique character of ballparks, but only historical ballparks. I think it is silly to build a new stadium and purposely insert weirdness into it as an attempt to produce faux character."

Well said, sir. I think the Green Monster is odd at Fenway, but I can appreciate it. If the Florida Marlins tried to pull out something similar, I'd expect Bud Selig to put his foot in somebody's backside.

I also agree with tricking up aspects that don't affect the actual play of the game. In such scenarios, I'm okay with some craziness in character efforts.

3. As you might expect, I was opposed to interleague play, but if we're going to have to have it, I'd love something that makes more sense than the present shenanigans.

They have "interleague play" in the NFL, for example, but it works because the divisions are equitable.

You particularly raise a good point for a fan whose team is in the AL West. How many games against the Angels, Athletics, and Mariners can you stand?! If we kicked the Brewers out of the NL Central, that would mean more games for Cubs vs. Cardinals, for example. Who could be against that?

But, yeah, if you're going to do interleague play, why do it on such a limited scale? It's like the pro-choice folks who say they want abortion to be rare. Why? If there's nothing wrong with it, why does it need to be rare?

4. I do agree that it's far to easy for a "wildcard" (What? Are we playing "Uno"?) team to be victorious. Perhaps a WC team never plays a home game? I don't know. I think it's gay. To me, if you can't win your division, you shouldn't be given a shot to win the league pennant, let alone the World Series. Perhaps it cheapens for me the significance of the regular season.

Think of it ... a 100 win team could go out in the first round to a sloogey 80 win team, which got hot at the right time and "lucked out" in a best of 3 series. How unstable is that?

It really should be a fluke for a "Wildcard" to trump an Ace.

I also think the season is long enough. 162 regular season games, after some spring training games, and THEN the post-season. For pitchers & catchers that play in the world series the "off season" is just November-January.

Another drawback is the beatdown of watching your 20 "games back" team have to play 2 more months. I wouldn't know what that's like, but I bet Pirates fans know what I'm talking about.

C'mon, Bud Selig, help me, help you. Help ME, help YOU!


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