If you haven't heard, Major League Baseball is discussing major changes. These changes would lead to a National League team being moved over to the American League to even out each league at 15. They also are considering doing away with the current divisions and making two "super divisions" of 15 teams in each- with the top 5 finishers in each making the playoffs. With 15 teams in each league, there would have to be an interleague game going on at all times, which is why the Brewers moved to the National League back in 1997. Here are the pros and cons in my opinion:
Best teams in playoffs- Going with this format is somewhat similar to the pre divisional era, where you truly get the best teams in the playoffs (even though two more teams will be in the playoffs). It will be very unlikely that a 83 win team will ever make the playoffs in this format.
End of unbalanced schedule- There would no longer be 18 games played against your divisional opponents, because the divisions are gone. I'd like to be able to see more teams frequently than the Royals and Indians 200 times a year.
End of A.L. West advantage- The teams in the A.L. West have an advantage over every other division. There is a 25 percent chance that each team will make the playoffs, while the N.L. Central is at a disadvantage with only an 18 percent chance. This ends that.
Struggling teams will be buried- The current divisional system keeps some pretenders close for longer than they will be in the new format. Attendance may decline in some venues. This may lead to more trading at the deadline though, which could be seen as a positive if you like a busy trade deadline.
Interleague play every day- It kind of ruins the "luster" of interleague play if there is an interleague game going on at all times. The luster is kind of gone anyway though, so this isn't that big of a deal to me.
Which team switches leagues? - It doesn't seem like the nearly-new owners of the Astros are to fond of the idea at this time. I think the easiest answer would be to put the Brew Crew back in the A.L.
Playoff Expansion- What you think of more teams in the playoffs could make this a pro, but I like fewer teams in. The NHL and NBA playoffs are so watered down that it ruins the regular season. I hope baseball never gets to the point where half of the teams are going to make it. 33% is bad enough.
How would this have changed the Sox recent history?
2009- Sox buried early- finish 7.5 behind Twins for 5th spot. AL Playoff teams- Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, Rangers, Twins
2008- Blackout game still happens as Sox edge Twins for final Playoff spot- AL Playoff teams- Angels, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox
2005- Different road to the title!- AL Playoff teams- White Sox, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Indians
2000- Sox still on top- AL Playoff teams- White Sox, A's, Mariners, Indians, Yankees. Maybe Jerry Manuel could have gotten out-managed by Joe Torre instead of Sweet Lou.
In my opinion, the team that would benefit the most from this move would be the Blue Jays. They are always close enough to be a tad over .500, and a shift away from the unbalanced schedule would probably give them a few more wins since they wouldn't play Tampa, Boston and New York 54 times. Some people would argue the Orioles would benefit too, but quite frankly they have stunk anyway so it wouldn't make much of a difference.
Personally, I think it would be a good move. It evens everything out (well sort of... some teams will still luck out ,or get hurt, in their interleague matchups), the best teams will make it and although it means playoff expansion, that is probably going to happen eventually anyway.
* The Shortstops for the SouthSideSox All-Star team have been decided. Alexei Ramirez wins going away with 93 percent of the vote. Only Asdrubal Cabrera and Yunel Escobar received votes besides Ramirez. In the National League, Troy Tulowitzki can pack his bags as he pulled 46%. Jose Reyes had 18% and Starlin Castro and Hanley Ramirez (really guys?) had 14% each. Stephen Drew, Alex Gonzalez and Ronny Cedeno also received at least 1 vote.
* This week we visit the hot corner. Here is the official SouthSideSox ballot for 3rd base. Cast your ballots!
* I love Sergio Santos, but I was ready to challenge him to a duel after Friday night. I haven't been that depressed walking out of a ballpark in quite a long time. As someone pointed out on here, he has to control his walks in order to avoid things like that. However, I still see why Guillen went to him in the 9th even though Matt Thornton threw 2 pitches to escape a jam in the 8th. If Guillen would have left Thornton in and he blew it again, people would be saying "where in the hell was Santos, Thornton can't close"! I know I would have.
* I noticed on Thursday night that Alex Rios was making a huge effort to hit the ball up the middle. The new stance and mindset really has paid off for him as he is 7-15 since returning to the lineup and is now up to .216.
* Adam Dunn has looked a little better himself in his 3 games back. Even though he is only 2-8, one of the hits was an opposite field homer and he has walked 3 times. He also seems to be making better contact.
* Brent Lillibridge continues to amaze me. Every time he gets in the lineup he does something to help our cause. When his average started dropping a little bit, I figured this is the end of the run. He is finding ways to make it happen though, as he did last night with the glove.
* Although we missed my expectation of a 7-3 homestand, a 6-4 one isn't that terrible. Hopefully Philip Humber can continue to humble Colin.