Divisions Shmisions

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In the past, I’d tried to come up with better MLB division alignments, mostly for selfish reasons, namely the aggravation of having to stay up so freaking late when the Rangers are on the road against their left coast division-mates.

I’ve now reached the conclusion that divisions are completely useless and we need to go back to the pre-nineteen sixty whatever era of just the two division-less leagues, with one slight modification: the top four teams from each league make the playoffs, period.

I reached this conclusion recently whilst watching the Rangers get pummeled by the Toronto Blue Jays, a team hopelessly stuck in the money division, a team that should probably make the playoffs, but probably won’t.  This coming from a guy who has some strange, irrational hate of the Blue Jays (probably because they own the Rangers).

Yeah, yeah, I know all the arguments in favor of divisions and against no divisions, but to me, if you balance the schedule to where every team plays every other team the equal (or close to equal) amount of times, then the teams that finish in the top four slots are the teams worthy of making the playoffs, plain and simple.  Anything else is just artificial intervention by the league that renders the playoffs meaningless.

Case in point: If the season ended today, the Blue Jays would not be in the playoffs, and the Rangers would be.  This is bull$hit, because right now, not one team in the AL West deserves even a whiff of the playoffs, and I suspect this will be the case come October, because the AL West is nothing but a pit of mediocrity and suck.

If MLB were open to shortening the season, I’d even be open to an NHL/NBA-like playoff (sans the division implications), with the first two rounds being best-of-three series.  Some would argue that this is letting TOO MANY teams into the playoffs, to which I would have agreed in the past, but to which I now disagree (just ask the NHL Flyers and Canadiens).

Regardless, the current divisional layouts are crap, and leave otherwise playoff-worthy teams out in the cold while AL West-caliber teams somehow end up wasting network airtime in October.

Argh.

–Jonestein

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6 comments

  1. redstatebluestate

    You’re missing the point, Jonestein: THIS IS BUD SELIG’S BASEBALL. It doesn’t have to make sense, so it won’t. I agree with you: the way it is now doesn’t make sense, just like the Braves and Reds once being in the Western Division while the Cardinals in Cubs were in the Eastern Division didn’t make any sense at all. The more we try to make sense of the screwy alignment, the more upset we become… so it’s best to just drink a case of Miller Lite and pretend it makes sense 🙂 Being a traditionalist, you might be surprised that I really like Tom Verducci’s idea of adopting a European Futbol (soccer) type system of arranging schedules and divisions based on previous year’s final standings. Look into it. Sounds like a great idea actually…. which means that as long as King Bud is on the throne, it ain’t gonna happen.
    –Jeff
    http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
    http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

  2. Jonestein

    Jenn -Uh-uh, I love interleague play, especially this year because the Rangers get 6 built in W’s playing the LOLstros (we beat ’em 5 out of 6 last year).

    Mike – Heck if we go that route, we might as well do away with divisions all together like I said. We’d soon be saying that so-and-so is also playoff-worthy, let;s add ANOTHER couple of wild cards, and on and on. A balanced schedule and no divisions with the top 4 from each league seems the best route to me.

    Jeff – I’ve thought about the “dynamic division” thing too, but it seems unnecessarily complex when compared with the (near)balanced schedule/no divisions solution. One thing I do like about Futbol, at least in the British Premiere League, is the idea of relegation. I’d love to see the LOLstros get pummeled by the Rangers AAA Oklahoma City Redhawks…of course, 3/4 of the AL West would probably be relegated to AAA/AAAA so I better watch what I wish for.

    :^)

    –Jonestein

  3. devilabrit

    making sense of senselessness… I agree, 2 leagues everyone plays everyone in their league at home and away, be it 3 or 4 games each as you say that would tell us who’s who…

    -peter
    Phillies Outside

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