While Brien already discussed the possibility of MLB’s interest in a realignment that could include the creation of two 15 team leagues; moving either the Astros or Marlins from the NL to the AL; daily interleague play; and/or the abolishment of divisions (all things I am for), I feel compelled to throw my two cents into the ring. No, I’m not going to debate Brien point-for-point. Though I could easily write a 3000 word piece arguing against Brien’s position that a divisionless system will ultimately reduce the number of competitive playoff teams, and therefore, playoff races, I will avoid the temptation. Why? There are much more pressing matters.
On Sunday, ESPN’s Jim Bowden laid out a controversial proposal for not only expanding the MLB playoffs, but also drastically realigning baseball’s league and divisional structures. While Bowden states up front that his proposal would be “radical” in “old school terms,” he fails to recognize that his recommendations are still “radical” even in new school terms. Though I don’t have any problems with concepts like daily interleague play being implemented, he offers up several other ideas that are not only impractical, but also likely to face extreme resistance upon being recommended.
For starters, Bowden recommends abolishing the American and National Leagues, and replacing them with two, 15-team geographically realigned conferences similar to the NFL, NBA, and NHL models. While some might wretch at the idea of changing from “leagues” to “conferences,” it actually makes a lot of sense with interleague play evolving from a novelty into an everyday occurrence. “Leagues” symbolize exclusivity; a hard line. “Conferences,” on the other hand, signify fluidity and intermingling. In reality, MLB would be updating the titles of the two entities for the sake of accuracy.
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