With Possible M L B Realignment on the Horizon…..Some Renegade Thoughts
There has been more than a few whispers and discussion lately about the possibility of forming a “mega- payroll” division staking the big money payroll of mega competitors’ Boston and New York and maybe infuse them with 3 other high threshold salary ceiling squads to form a prestigious “diamond” division.
Sure putting the high dollar darlings in a central division will make it more difficult for them to realistically step over the carcasses of low payroll squads, or teams that rely on their farm systems instead of the Free Agent market. But that also opens a second concern. Could such a maneuver bring about a reversal of the recent parity within the M L B and again pay homage to the league’s “elite”.
We all know that within the upcoming MLB/MLBPA Labor Pow Wow there will be chatter about expanding the post season, but there will be more heated discussion about a more balanced schedule and a possible realignment of the whole enchilada.
Football fans were enraged and bewildered the N F L decided to conjure up another division situated almost exclusively within the Southeastern region of the country. From the moment this region was considered for realignment, people began to refer to it as the “NASCAR Division“.
Some might think with my high Southern posturing I might take offense to this connotation, but I really do not have a problem with it at all. Even though that statement was further stereotyping this region, NASCAR is a symbol of the South.
So it was a bit of a backhanded compliment to Southerner’s like myself. And, yes, I have been known to attend the Daytona or even Talladega NASCAR races, and I do glance at the television sometimes on Sunday to glance at the boys going around with constant left turns.
The formation of this Southeastern division helped the NFL get closer to a level of league-wide parity, which baseball will need to comprehend and address if it expects every M L B team to flourish and grow fiscally as well as physically. This action by another of America’s premier sports might be the successful course of action if MLB brass do not want to see a revolving door of top money payroll teams sprinting towards the Playoffs finish line every October in the near future.
Sure there have been odd twist of fate in the last few years, including the match-up of the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants making it to the World Series after eliminating 2 of those payroll bastions (Philly/NY) . The usual M L B pattern has been that spent dollars have bought more Championships instead of heart, homegrown talent and determination.
Maybe a fourth division in the American or National League would seem to throw the whole globe off its axis and we go wobbling through our orbits tumbling like a deflated ball among the Milk Way. I think we have already started that dizzying journey and have not recognized it yet.
So what did I have in mind to maybe change this?
First off, I would like to introduce the idea of taking one team from every division in both the AL and NL, excluding the AL West, which is already lopsided with 4 teams. You might ask why I would want to dissect a team from each division? To be completely honest, it would then make most of the other divisions a four-team division, with the NL Central lowered to five teams.
You had to already gandered that I would like the Tampa Bay Rays to be included in this new division, and with this new collection in the AL, we hold on tightly to the Designated Hitter rule. The Rays are prefect for this new division because the new division will be rooted in the SE, and only the new abode to open in 2012 in Miami,Florida is further South than St. Petersburg, Florida.
The Rays are already well versed in the ways and means of being a small market team, this division’s formulation can effectively give them the payroll flexibility of knowing that they will not have to adjust and implode their own cash box every year to keep up with the Epstein’s and Cashman’s upgrades via the money pot to survive.
The second team in this division would come out of the National League East and could instantly establish a great Southern rivalry like the annual Florida-Georgia Football game in Jacksonville. I would enjoy seeing the famous Atlanta Brave’s Tomahawk Chop going on right next to the deafening sound of the Rays Republic’s Cowbells.
This expected rivalry could replace some of the expected lost revenues of Boston or New York based on previous sell out crowds during the last time these 2 teams faced off in InterLeague at Tropicana Field. Flights are affordable between the 2 cities, and could muster up a second caravan of road trips for Rays fans to see away games. The Braveswould be the perfect new nemesis of the Rays.
You might question why I did not take the Florida (Miami) Marlins place them in this division instead of Atlanta. I consider the Fish to be perfect InterLeague foes for the Rays, and did not want to split up a AL and NL presence in the state of Florida. I think this state is better for a presence in both the A L and N L , and want to preserve that Citrus Series relationship as it is right now.
Third squad to be added would come out of the AL Central. I did not have to take long to think about this because it came to me the moment I looked at the division. The Kansas City Royals would be my choice based on the simple fact they are a small market squad and would benefit extremely by being in the same division as the Rays.
The relationship between these two AL teams is already formed, and the cities are close enough within the geographical region of the Southern part of the country to make same day flights and televised games a viable options for both teams.
Fourth team to be added would come out of the NL Central division and take their division down to four teams. I thought long and hard as to if I wanted to realign the entire MLB a bit, or just select this one team and end the debate fast and furious on which Texas teams would get an invite to the NASCAR division.
I thought the team that would get the most out of the move would be the Houston Astros. Not only would they be able to convert to the D H system easily, they have the talent in-house already to pop a great DH in the line-up as early as 2012.
I think that the teams on this division “wish list” have great stadiums with a awesome home team presence, and would be totally conducive to building a rivalry and expanding their team concepts without minimal changes.
Realignment is on the horizon. It will be talked, debated, then instituted. This is just my idea of what could effectively comprise a movement towards giving the high dollar and low budget teams a breather and a chance to compete yearly in the post season.
I like the concept and potential of this NASCAR division. It will have great speed, solid defense and a ton of raw young talent circulating throughout the years. Several of the teams that would comprise this division have been hotbeds of minor league talent. That new talent would bring excitement along with value to these teams.
It is a division I not only would pay money to see at Tropicana Field, but would definitely travel to other cities to see play against our Rays. In turn, that would help these small market teams keep their coffers filled to pay their young players to stay with their teams past their arbitration years….It is a “win-win” proposition.