For a few weeks, Major League Baseball has been discussing the idea of a “floating realignment.” This “floating realignment” would in effect give talented teams in difficult divisions an advantage towards making the playoffs.
The key example cited was moving the Tampa Bay Rays to the American League Central and having the Kansas City Royals replace them in the American League East. This change would happen primarily so that the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees would all make the playoffs in the same season.
This “floating realignment” is a mockery and is disrespectful to the concept of honest competition. Moving a talented team to improve their success rate goes against everything we are taught as youths. It supports the idea of taking the easy way out and relying on others to fix your problems rather than working hard.
I propose a more balanced and just solution. Instead of assisting certain teams in their playoff runs and trying to set up success, MLB needs to take this opportunity to rejuvenate the sport.
Baseball has had trouble with fan numbers decreasing since the “Steroid Era.” Casual fans have dropped the sport and moved their fandom to more exciting sports on the rise, such as Major League Soccer and the action sports performed in the X-Games.
With a possible owner lockout looming over the National Football League, now is the time for MLB to recapture fan interest and take a step closer to becoming the national pastime once again.
But the question then arises, what would bring back the casual fans? Look at what excites the typical casual fans in your local area. You are likely to see two key factors: rivalry games and home runs. Instead of realigning for the success of certain teams, MLB should realign to revitalize rivalries.
This idea of casual fan interest is what drew me to this realignment. Doing this would put every local rivalry in the same division, therefore providing the fans with more, and more meaningful rivalries.
Also, this realignment would give the classic baseball fans such as me new, energetic rivalries for our respective teams. Teams would get to play opponents they would not usually see on the diamond. This would appeal to everyone, from casual fans to die hard fans to the men on the field.
In addition to the classic and new rivalries, this realignment would balance out the American League and National League. And because of that, their rules would have to match, meaning the National League would have to implement to designated hitter rule. This would make inter-league play more straightforward and fair. Not to mention this would help with fans because, simply put, chicks dig the long ball.
The divisional realignment goes as follows:
East – Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Washington Nationals
Central – Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays
West – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners
East – Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays
Central – Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals
West – Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers
This alignment maintains the two rivalries in baseball that I feel should go untouched, Yankees-Red Sox and Cubs-Cardinals. It also gives more meaning to the local rivalries including the Subway Series, the Bay Series and many others in-state matchups.
I strongly urge MLB to take a look at this and give it strong consideration. This would keep the die hard fans and regain a firm grasp on the casual fans. Baseball would be able to return to the glorious days of exciting play that we, the fans have all come to miss.