MLB Should Investigate a Payroll/Geographical Look into Division Re-Alignment
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Despite being a Yankees fan, I admit the economics of baseball are way out of whack. I was talking with a few other fans about the MLB and thought of a radical new change in division re-alignment that may finally end the disparity between all ball clubs having a chance to make the playoffs each year. Much like soccer, it would kind of be a tier system. Scheduling and travel wise it makes a lot more sense as well. For those hardcore fans I would also make each team play at least 3 games against every other team in the Majors. Let’s see if you like what I have done.
The new AL would feature the bigger payroll teams. I know this break’s up 130 years of tradition but it is time to move into the new millennium. There would be 15 teams in each league so that would make for 1 Interleague series at all times. Under this format you could still keep your 2nd wild card berth. After you read these Divisions take a look at how I would break up the 162 game schedule-and then demo sampled the natural rivalries playing each other 12 or 19 times still. I believe this is the fairest and most accurate way to have competitive balance for all of the clubs. The National League would take a bit of a hit however they should change the All-Star Game to mean nothing for the World Series home advantage. The team with the best record overall in the regular season should have home field advantage when deciding the World Series and playoff round. There would be 50 interleague games for each team. This still only represents 30% of the games folks. With more teams rotating through the league, the games would remain fresh. They can still keep the American League and National League Stats separate like the NFL does.
The following shows of the salary each team has for the 2012 and what their 2011 final record was. I added up the entire division’s payroll and gave the average for each team. I also combined the record overall and what the averages were. At the end, I assigned division winners and 2 wild card winners from each league. These were numbers based on the 2011 season.
In-PHI, NYM and DET/Out-TOR, TB, FLA
Projected Payrolls in Millions-2012 ($732 Million total or $146 Million per team/Record Last Year Combined 462-348 or 92-70 per team)
New York Yankees-$198.00 and 97-65 (Wild Card #1)
New York Mets- $93.3 and 77-85
Boston Red Sox-$173.4 and 90-72
Philadelphia Phillies-$174.5 and 102-60 (Division Winner for AL East under new alignment.)
Detroit Tigers-$132.3 and 95-67 (Wild Card #2)
Detroit might suffer a little because of the economy but they are one of the proudest franchises and draw well. With New York and Philly 100 miles away they should all play each other a lot more. Boston is not too far either. All of these teams have the capability of drawing 3 Million-4 Million fans to compete. The New York Mets should be able to compete once their troubled ownership straightens itself out. These teams would really battle each other all out. They still might pick off the two wild card positions every year.
IN ATL, TEX, HOU PIT /Out-CWS-CHC-DET-KC
Projected Payroll in Millions-2013($420 Million total or $84 Million per team/Record Last Year Combined 411-399 or 82-80 per team)
Cleveland Indians $78.4 and 80-82
Atlanta Braves $83.3 and 89-73
Houston Astros $60.7 and 56-106
Pittsburgh Pirates $63.4 and 72-90
Texas Rangers $120.5 and 96-66(NL Central Division Winner under new alignment.)
Houston and Texas could benefit by more state kind of games. Cleveland is really close in flights to all as is Atlanta. Pittsburgh would have a chance to compete under this alignment without Chicago Cubs/St. Louis both exceeding $100 million and with one less team in the division. This was easier to because of Houston already moving to the AL. This is only 2 teams being brought from the NL. Texas is the strongest franchise right now but that could change.
In-SF, LAD, STL/Out-TEX-OAK
Projected Payroll in Millions-2012($564 Million total or $113 Million per team/Record Last Year Combined 411-399 or 82-80)
Seattle Mariners-$82.0 and 67-95
SF Giants-$117.6 and 86-76
St. Louis $110.0 90-72 (AL West Division Winner under New Format)
We have St. Louis, San Francisco and Seattle all playing vs Kansas City, Oakland and Colorado as their natural rivalries so they will play 8 more games vs. each other in addition to the 4 games for cross league divison. Seattle could easily afford more payroll if the team was playing better. They proved they could draw in the 3 million range for fans. Having the 6th biggest city in the USA is another reason why Seattle should be able to draw better.
In-TOR, BALT, TB/Out-NYM, PHI, ATL
Projected Payroll in Millions-2012 ($420-Million total or $84 Million per team/Record Last Year Combined 398-412 or 80-82 per team)
Washington Nationals $81.3 and 80-81 (Wild Card #2)
Toronto Blue Jays $75.4 and 81-81 (Wild Card #1)
Tampa Bay Rays-$64.3 and 91-71 (NL East winner under new alignment.)
Florida Marlins-$118.1 and 72-90
Baltimore Orioles-$81.4 and 69-93
It is time to face the truth – That is that these teams are at a severe disadvantage with the divisions they are currently in. It’s a natural to have BAL-WSH, TB-FLA in the same division. You have to think about practicality here of Marlins/Rays fans being able to watch their own team in the same state a few more times. Toronto is the odd duck of the group, but with four teams having two-sets of close ball yards, going on road trips would be a lot easier for the Canadian team.
IN-CWS/MIN OUT STL/HOU/PIT/
Projected Payroll in Millions 2011($465 Million total or $93 Million per team/Record Last Year Combined 388-422 or 78-84 per team)
Chicago White Sox-$96.9 and 79-83
Chicago Cubs-$88.2 and 71-91
Minnesota Twins-$94.1 and 63-99
Milwaukee Brewers-$97.6 and 96-66 (NL Central Winner under new alignment)
The NL Central division re-alignment makes the most sense with Milwaukee and the two Chicago teams being only 100 miles apart. Minnesota is within a 6 hour drive of Chicago too. Cincinnati does have the ability to play with the big timers if they play well. Cincinnati is 300 miles from Chicago, 400 from Milwaukee and a quick plane ride to Minnesota
In-OAK, KC/Out LAD and SF
Projected Payroll in Millions- 2012 ($324Million total or $64.8 Million per team/Record Last Year Combined 383-427 or 77-85 per team)
San Diego Padres $55.4 and 71-91
Kansas City Royals $60.9 and 71-91
Colorado Rockies $78.1 and 73-89
Oakland $55.3 and 74-88
This division makes sense because of the payrolls all being so low. It is time to factor this in. Chances are these teams would not win the wild card spots anyway but they would have a chance at a division title every year.
The National League carrying lower payrolls for the teams makes sense without the DH. A good DH will raise your teams budget by 10-16 Million Dollars.
Divisional play would be 11 games (4×11 for 44 games), League play(non-divisional) would be 6 games x 10 teams (60 gms=104 overall). The opposing league East vs. East, West vs. West and Central vs. Central all play each other on a 4 game set. (5×4 =20) for 124 overall. You would play the other 10 teams in your cross leagues 3 games (10×3=30) and 154 overall. You then would play your natural rivalry 8 games to make up the 162 game season.
A look at what the New York Yankees season series would look like versus the other teams
NYY opponent list
Natural Rivalries. Games vs. each other for year
Natural Rivalries (Play each other an additional 8 games even if not in the same division.) For this example New York Yankees are playing Boston as their main rival and would play the normal 11 divisional games plus another 8 rival games. However, Toronto and Detroit would only play each other 4x for cross league same division and then play each other for an additional 8 rival games for 12 overall.
Looking principally from a payroll point of view, these moves in a dramatic realignment would make sense.
***Thank you to our Baseball Writer- Douglas “Chuck” Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his successful Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book please click here . ***
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Posted on May 21, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged al central, AL West, arizona diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, baltimore orioles, Baseball AL East, chicago cubs, chicago white sox, Chuck Booth, cincinnati reds, cleveland indians, colorado rockies, detroit tigers, fastest 30 ballgames, houston astros, kansas city royals, la angels, la dodgers, miami marlins, milwaukee brewers, minnesota twins, MLB Payrolls, MLB Re-Alignment, new york mets, new york yankees, NL Central, NL east, nl west, oakland a's, Payroll, philadelphia phillies, pittsburgh pirates, playoff format, san diego padres, san francisco giants, seattle mariners, st louis cardinals, tampa bay rays, texas rangers, toronto blue jays, washington nationals. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.