Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Major League Baseball Post-Postseason 2011: What’s new?

By Evan Troxel

This article will be about what has been going on around Major League Baseball since the end of the 2011 World Series.
The Houston Astros will be moving to the American League (AL) West in 2013.  What do I think of this?  I think it’s stupid.  I’m not upset that when the Astros join the AL there will be 5 teams in each division for both the American and National Leagues.  It’s that the Astros will be in the same division as the Texas Rangers.  Notice, that the Houston Astros are from Texas and the Texas Rangers are obviously from Texas.

That’s saying like that the now Miami Marlins (previously Florida Marlins) would be in the same division as the Tampa Bay Rays…in the same league (American or National).  It would also be like saying that the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Creighton Bluejays are part of the same conference.

Historically in Major League Baseball the Milwaukee Brewers are the only current team part of the National League who was once part of the American League.  The Brewers have been part of the American League two times.  The first was in 1901 which that same franchise to this day is now the Baltimore Orioles.  The Brewers were also part of the AL from 1970-1997.  Since 1998, the current franchise has been a part of the National League.  It doesn’t make sense to put any other current National League team into the American League besides the Brewers.

What I think Major League Baseball should do instead is move the Milwaukee Brewers into the American League Central.  Then, move the Kansas City Royals from the American League Central to the American League West division.  There would be 15 teams in both the American and National Leagues and 5 teams within each division in both leagues.  The real reason for moving the Royals to the AL West is so that when you look at the American League divisions, then you see that all the most eastern teams are part of the AL East, all the most central teams are part of the AL Central, and the most west teams are part of the AL West.

The real shame here goes to Commissioner Bud Selig.  This problem would have been solved years ago had he not specifically and “indirectly” moved the Brewers from the American League into the National League.  If I had to hate Bud Selig for one reason this would be it.

As far as playing baseball goes in my opinion for the Astros and Brewers (as of the past several seasons), the Brewers play like a National League team and the Astros play more like an American League team than the Brewers but they still play like a National League team.

Some good news about the MLB is that the collective bargaining agreement is settled for the next 5 years.  I’m glad this is settled because the MLB won’t have to suffer any lockouts for the next five years unlike the NFL and NBA who already have suffered lockouts this year.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a lockout for Major League Baseball in five years though.  That means that the next potential lockout will start in 2017.
There will be one more playoff team in the American League and one more playoff team in the National League.  This probably will also start in 2013 as a result of the Houston Astros moving to the American League.  It would be exciting though just for next year if they had 5 teams in each league make the postseason since the divisions aren’t perfectly aligned with the same number of teams in all divisions.

I think this is okay but I don’t like it a lot.  The two teams who get the Wild Card slots for the American League (as well as the National League) will end up playing each other in the first round of the playoffs for their respective leagues.  Currently it is set up as a one game playoff.  I’d rather see these two teams meet in a three game series instead of a one game playoff.  The reasoning I read (you can read the link at the end of this article) is that so the teams who finish in first place within their division don’t have to wait almost a week to play the ultimate wild card winner in each league.  A three game series would take five days (with two days for travel to the stadiums) and it would take even longer if there will be rain (or a rain delay) at the city the wild card teams were playing at.

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