It is August and the pennant races are heating up. The traditional winners, Yankees and Red Sox (and others) are settled at the top. There are a few surprise teams like the Pirates. The Royals are way back in last place as usual. Although there are some shifts, overall the playoffs continue to be between a handful of select teams.
There are 30 MLB teams. The NL has 16 teams and the AL 14. I hate the imbalance. I understand for scheduling reasons, an even number of teams in each league is considered necessary. But I don’t buy that. I am sure the computers that crank out the schedules can make it work. Or MLB can add two more teams (or drop) to balance the teams.
But, ignoring the need to be even, I would like to propose a 2-league 15-team set up. I had been thinking about this last year when the current division set-up seems to be un-fair with less deserving teams getting playoff births. Then this Spring Mike Greenberg on ESPN’s Mike and Mike discussed it at length. He even asked Bob Costas about it, and he was not against the idea.
Rumor has it the Astros are willing to leave the NL for the AL. This would establish a much-needed rivalry for them with the Rangers. That would give us 15 teams in each league. I suggest the divisions be eliminated. The Rays, Blue Jays and Orioles get screwed every year because they have to play in the same division with the Red Sox and Yankees. These teams have to play a tougher schedule but still compete for the same wildcard. Plus every year one of the other divisions is won with a team barely above .500. Seriously, how many times would the Twins have made the playoffs if they had to compete with Boston and NY? Probably zero.
Two 15-team leagues. No divsions. The top six teams make the playoffs. The top two get first round byes. The team with the best record always gets home field advantage. Sure the top will still be dominated by a handful of teams, but there is more equity and fairness for the wildcard spots.
Just a thought. Before 1969, MLB had two leagues and no divisions. Win the regular season and you were headed to the World Series. So in some ways this is a return to tradition (but with a twist for the realities of the playoff system in place.)