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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:00 am 
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Expansion Could Trigger Realignment, Longer Postseason

October 16, 2017 By Tracy Ringolsby

Ever since the Expos moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005, there has been an ongoing movement in the Canadian city to regain a major league franchise. There has even been talk of support for building a ballpark downtown, which was one of the missing ingredients that led to the Expos' departure.

In September, the folks in Portland, Ore., were given hope that they, too, could be home to an expansion team when commissioner Rob Manfred, speaking in Seattle, for the second year in a row mentioned Portland as a potential site for a franchise, and was quoted as saying "a team in the West" would be a part of any expansion.

And there is a legitimate ownership group in Portland that has the necessary financing along with support for a stadium, which would be partially funded by a $150 million grant. Approved by the state of Oregon to help finance a stadium when efforts were underway in 2003 to be the site for the relocation of the Expos (who instead moved to Washington, D.C.), the grant is still available.

There seems to be a building consensus that baseball will soon be headed to a 32-team configuration. It will lead to major realignment and adjustments in schedule, which will allow MLB to address the growing concerns of the union about travel demands and off days.

One proposal would be to geographically restructure into four divisions, which would create a major reduction in travel, particularly for teams on the East Coast and West Coast, and add to the natural rivalries by not just having them as interleague attractions, but rather a part of the regular divisional battles.

Consider four eight-team divisions with the addition of teams in Portland and Montreal:

East: Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington.

North: Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, both New York franchises and Toronto.

Midwest: Both Chicago franchises, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Texas.

West: Anaheim, Arizona, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

Key elements of this alignment:

A 156-game schedule would include 24 total games against the eight teams in each of the three other divisions—three games against each opponent.
The schedule would include 12 games—six home and six road—against each of the seven divisional opponents.
The format would provide for an off day every week (such as every Monday or Thursday) and would fit into the same foot print for beginning and ending as the 2018 schedule. The season could start on a weekend, which would offset only one three-game series played the week of the All-Star Game.
The 156-game schedule would reduce each team's slate by six games, but revenue could be made up by a major reduction in travel costs.
Fan interest could be maintained by allowing for the four first-place teams in each division to advance to the postseason, and having play-in games against the eight remaining teams with the best records.
The winners of the four wild card games would advance to the Division Series, which would feature a wild card team against each division champion.
Those four winners would advance to the Championship Series, and the winners of that round would meet in the World Series.
That would add postseason product to the broadcast packages and provide postseason hope for 12 of the 32 franchises, which could boost attendance in September, again offsetting any impact from the season being six games shorter.
With a day off every week, there would be a regular rest routine, much like prior to expansion when teams would often play Sunday doubleheaders and Monday would be off. It could be used for travel so teams did not have to make long flights, arriving in cities at 3 a.m. or later.
And the schedule would drastically reduce travel, while keeping teams in their time zones, except for the Rockies and Twins. They, however, would be playing teams in a time zone an hour earlier, which is less demanding than an hour later, and also provides increased TV ratings because of prime time viewing. The other intra-division teams would have to travel to Colorado or Minnesota just six games per year.
All teams would open the season with an inter-division series, and all out-of-division road trips would be two-city trips.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:13 am 
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Most of these ideas are astoundingly terrible.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:04 am 
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Interesting. I would think Sox fans wouldn't want to be separated from the Indians, Minnesota, and Detroit. Granted, more games against the Cubs would be better for business.

But I think the bigger concerns are pace of play and umpires. Baseball games need to average around 2 hours and 30 or 40 minutes. And let's get those robot umps!!!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:25 am 
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Curious Hair wrote:
Most of these ideas are astoundingly terrible.

Agreed. The idea of eliminating American/National Leagues is a good one - only to eliminate the different rules between the leagues. However the four divisions they created are dumb.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:46 am 
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Add 2 more teams after that and I can pitch in the majors.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:53 am 
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Dr. Kenneth Noisewater wrote:
Add 2 more teams after that and I can pitch in the majors.


Hmm, you can't even release the podcast on a regular schedule. What makes you think you could take the mound every 5th day? :)

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:11 am 
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Even though the leagues were dissolved as discrete corporate entities, there's been a group of baseball teams called "the National League" based around Chicago, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, et al since 1876. The National League predates states. I don't think that should change.

Montreal is a pipe dream unless Bell Canada has a grand plan to 1) spend a billion dollars on a new retractable-roof ballpark, 2) spend over half a billion dollars on the expansion franchise, 3) pass those costs to cable consumers who are already being squeezed to cover the rights fees of the Canadiens, Maple Leafs, and Senators, and 4) somehow repopulate Montreal with the anglophones who liked baseball but were run out of the province by language-obsessed and Jew-hating pequistes.

Portland is not quite as far-fetched but still a longshot. It's not that big and is probably tapped out with the Trail Blazers, a soccer team they seem to like way more than most people like soccer teams, and proximity to Oregon athletics. Again, I don't know where the money is to buy a franchise and build a ballpark. I don't think Nike would own a baseball team.

The schedule doesn't need six games dropped off and travel isn't that bad, pace the Cubs getting stuck on a tarmac in New Mexico the other day or whatever. These guys all fly charter and at least 50% of their gametime consists of sitting down. I'm reminded of the joke about the White Sox erecting Frank's statue in the dugout because that's where he spent most of his career.

12/32 teams making the postseason, with four of them getting whacked in phony-baloney one-off games anyway, is stupid. A 32-team alignment should only have division winners and second-place teams playing in October. Maybe you could convince me that a third-place team in the East ahead of a second-place team in the West should cross to face the West but these wild card games are just lies to me.

But out-of-division road trips consisting of at least two cities? That's a great idea! I think most teams have been doing that anyway, at least out west.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:47 am 
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denisdman wrote:
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater wrote:
Add 2 more teams after that and I can pitch in the majors.


Hmm, you can't even release the podcast on a regular schedule.


FAKE NEWS! It’s right on schedule. Just not your schedule. Sad.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:20 am 
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montreal seemed to want no part of the expos a lot of the time. this is like bringing the rams back to la, or the chargers. it's like they're trying too hard to appease...themselves.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:45 am 
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Following population trends, Charlotte or Nashville would seem more likely to get a new major league sports franchise than a city like Montreal--where the population growth is mostly due to overseas (Asian/Middle-Eastern) immigration. Whereas Charlotte/Nashville are stealing population from other areas within the US, i.e, baseball-friendly folks.

Also, Amazon seems likely to locate their HQ2 somewhere along the Charlotte-Atlanta-Nashville-Memphis corridor--if they don't plop it down in Texas. The southeast US makes too much sense in terms of location (east of the Mississippi) and population and business-friendly environments; and state/local governments not saddled with crippling pension obligations.

My guess is Amazon puts their new HQ2 in an exurban location with a high-speed rail connect to it from the center-city and airport. Such a public transportation option can be spun up (relatively) quickly; which most of the cities short-listed as likely winners of AMZ HQ2 currently have awful/non-existent public transit options.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:20 am 
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Hussra wrote:
Charlotte/Nashville are stealing population from other areas within the US

Isn't this the truth :(.

I can see Raleigh-Durham as a good place to fill the void between Washington, Atlanta, and Cincinnati, maybe better than Charlotte, which is already tied up with the Panthers and Bobcathornets. The Hurricanes may not be long for the Triangle if Bettman can't get some guy to overpay for a Raleigh-based hockey team, though God knows he's certainly trying. If the ErstWhale indeed goes, Raleigh becomes the largest metro without a sports team, and thus perfect for southeastern expansion.

W_Z wrote:
montreal seemed to want no part of the expos a lot of the time. this is like bringing the rams back to la, or the chargers. it's like they're trying too hard to appease...themselves.

While the Canadiens are the secular religion of Quebec, there was still a pretty strong following for the Expos in the '70s and '80s and they outdrew a fair share of teams along the way. But there were a lot of factors that killed the Expos, and I don't see how the situation is any better. If anything, it's worse.

It's funny that you think baseball wants to appease themselves by bringing the Expos back, considering the message baseball sent loud and clear to Quebec was "we want you the fuck out of our league so bad."

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:32 am 
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Could also see Tampa / A's / some other franchise being relocated to one of those cities, if they don't land one of the new MLB franchises.

Maybe Las Vegas will get both Oakland Coliseum residents in the end. tho population growth in LV has leveled off considerably.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:06 pm 
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Dr. Kenneth Noisewater wrote:
denisdman wrote:
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater wrote:
Add 2 more teams after that and I can pitch in the majors.


Hmm, you can't even release the podcast on a regular schedule.


FAKE NEWS! It’s right on schedule. Just not your schedule. Sad.


True news though. At the Kenilworth Club right now for a wedding.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:09 pm 
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denisdman wrote:
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater wrote:
denisdman wrote:
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater wrote:
Add 2 more teams after that and I can pitch in the majors.


Hmm, you can't even release the podcast on a regular schedule.


FAKE NEWS! It’s right on schedule. Just not your schedule. Sad.


True news though. At the Kenilworth Club right now for a wedding.


Tell the Shaws that Dr. Ken says hello.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:29 pm 
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Is that gonna get me kicked out?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:29 pm 
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denisdman wrote:
Is that gonna get me kicked out?


Let's find out.

Report back. Just so I know for next time.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:32 pm 
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Why are all the commercials about class-action lawsuits for horrible medical conditions?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:41 pm 
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Dr. Kenneth Noisewater wrote:
Why are all the commercials about class-action lawsuits for horrible medical conditions?


“The asbestos was falling like snow.”

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:51 pm 
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Sorry. Wrong thread.

But Mr. Shaw might have an opinion on those commercials.

Report back.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:32 pm 
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Dr. Kenneth Noisewater wrote:
Add 2 more teams after that and I can pitch in the majors.


Dr Kenneth Noisewater RHP 5'5" 105: Small feeble frame w/severe hunch. Short slow AA. Max effort del from low 3/4 slot. Can't get over front side gets rotational and doesn't finish. Can't repeat. Fastball didn't register on the gun. DNT a breaking ball. May have thrown changeup. Difficult to differentiate from fastball. WBA command. Has a nasty mound presence. He literally tries to attack the hitters. The fastball lacks life and so does his body. Lacks any secondary offerings. Has a very slow arm shows no athleticism and is at least 100 years past his prime. NP


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:48 pm 
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Keyser Soze wrote:
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater wrote:
Add 2 more teams after that and I can pitch in the majors.


Dr Kenneth Noisewater RHP 5'5" 105: Small feeble frame w/severe hunch. Short slow AA. Max effort del from low 3/4 slot. Can't get over front side gets rotational and doesn't finish. Can't repeat. Fastball didn't register on the gun. DNT a breaking ball. May have thrown changeup. Difficult to differentiate from fastball. WBA command. Has a nasty mound presence. He literally tries to attack the hitters. The fastball lacks life and so does his body. Lacks any secondary offerings. Has a very slow arm shows no athleticism and is at least 100 years past his prime. NP


I’m left-handed.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:58 pm 
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Damn!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:13 pm 
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Not sure why they would want to go back to 8 teams in a division. The whole reason they went to the divisional format in 1969 was because they had 10 teams in each league and 7 or 8 or those teams are out of it by August. So to have more markets in contention, they came up with divisions. Same reason they brought in the wild card, to get more markets into competition late in the season.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:37 pm 
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No issue with a team in Montreal, but for the love of God....no fucking expansion.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:46 pm 
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Curious Hair wrote:
Most of these ideas are astoundingly terrible.

Good thing this article is akin to Sam Smtih Bulls trades or Peter Gammons rabmlings.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:30 pm 
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My idea:

1 league,NO DIVISIONS!

Playoffs:
Team_2 plays Team_5 : 2 out of 3


3 plays 4 the same.

next round also 2 out of 3.

Winner plays team that finished 1st 4 out of 7.

This way the team with the lesser record is handicapped from being tired while the best team gets a week off.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:40 pm 
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8 divisions of 4 makes more sense than 4 divisions of 8. But with smaller divisions there would be TV issues as some markets would just suck. For example, there really isn't a team close to the Astros or Rangers except the Cardinals. That's TV ratings death.


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