MLB reportedly considering massive expansion of the playoff format

Discussion in 'Baseball' started by Tecumseh, Feb 10, 2020.

  1. Big Z Man 1990 Registered User

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    OK, the MLB should tweak their proposal, so that division winners wouldn't get seeding priority (ala NBA). This means that a division winner would potentially not be a team that chooses their first round opponent, but rather is among the chosen teams, as at least one wild card team is in the #2-3 seed range.

    And then you have the possibility of expanding to 32 teams and realigning into 8 4-team divisions (ala NFL). This means that the playoffs would have to expand to 16 teams (8 in each league) to preserve having four wild card teams in each league (because there would then be 4 division winners in each league). Again, if a wild card team has a good enough record, it would get a top 4 seed and the ability to choose their first-round opponent.

    The first round would remain single-elimination.

    A key reason why I'm proposing the removal of seeding priority for division winners is back in 2015, the three best teams in the NL were all from the Central. But Pittsburgh and the Cubs had to play the wild card game, and the Cubs, who won, had to play St. Louis in the NLDS rather than waiting for a potential NLCS matchup. Meanwhile, the Dodgers and Mets got to avoid playing an NL Central team until the NLCS, where the Mets eventually beat the Cubs (who won the World Series only a year later). The NBA has recognized the problems that come with seeding priority for division winners, and thus tweaked their playoff format twice after the move to a 6-division alignment. first by only guaranteeing a top 4 seed for division winners, then by removing that guarantee and division winners not even guaranteed a playoff spot (though in practice, all division winners in the NBA generally play well enough to make the playoffs).

    I'm also proposing re-seeding after the single-elimination round, to ensure the two best-remaining teams in each league get a shot to meet in the LCS.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2020
  2. KevFu Registered User

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    Love the fact that you have reasons, and it's thought out. But here's my problem. Division winners vs other division members it's clear which team is really better because they play pretty close to the same schedule. It's like, at most 12 games different. But Wild Card teams from different divisions are playing such drastically different schedules, that win totals don't show you how good someone really is.

    Records are byproduct of "performance vs schedule." The number of bad teams in your division really dictates how good the division winners/2nd/3rd place teams look.

    So I'm not totally on board with a system that says "Being a division winner means you're automatically better than a non-division winner" because the NL division winners have finished 1-2-3 in wins only about 35% of the time since 1994.

    But I'm also not fulling on board with a system that says "we just compare win totals of every team in the league" when we're not playing balanced schedules.

    To me, the best way to do it would be: 32 teams, 4 Leagues of eight teams, semi-radical realignment (but true to baseball history).

    Then you take 2nd and 3rd in each division and have a wild card game; then the WC winners plays their division winner. Then have semis, and a final.

    PCL: SEA, OAK, LAA, LAD, SF, SD, ARZ, COL
    AL: MIN, KC, CWS, CLE, DET, NYY, BAL, BOS
    NL: ATL, PHI, CIN, PIT, STL, CHC, MIL, Nashville
    CBL: HOU, TEX, TB, MIA, NYM, WAS, TOR, Montreal

    The PCL gets all the late west coast games they desire.
    The Central teams aren't stuck in a league with the west teams (like radical realignment, or 8-team AL/NL divisions would dictate).

    The weird league are either "newest to their leagues" (MIA est 1993, TB est 1998, WAS moved 2004, HOU changed leagues in 2013, MON new team) or part of the CBL plan that led to HOU/NYM/LAA/WAS joining MLB in 1961/62 (And TEX, TOR would have been part of that CBL as well).

    It's the path of least resistance to a realignment fight, preserves AL/NL separation and integrity while giving those who haven't been in their cities/leagues since 1888 and 1901 what they need.
     
  3. Big Z Man 1990 Registered User

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    For now, I think the NFL-style alignment of 8 divisions of four teams each would work best. I'm proposing expansion teams in Charlotte and New Orleans.

    The major changes to the alignment would be as follows:
    New AL South Division consisting of Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans and Texas
    New NL South Division consisting of Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, and Tampa Bay
    Central Divisions renamed North Divisions
    Pittsburgh moves back to NL East
    Colorado moves to AL West

    The new divisional alignment I am proposing largely reflects geography even better than the current 6-division alignment (Kansas City being in the AL South somewhat fits because of 19th century US history). There would be no divisions where teams are separated by two time zones (the AL West currently has three Pacific teams and two Central teams).

    And as far as unbalanced schedules, none of the other major sports leagues really has a balanced schedule either. Yet the NBA has taken my preferred approach to seeding without the need for a balanced schedule, and it has worked out well for them. I think it would work for MLB too.

    While I do eventually want Montreal to have an MLB team again, for now, expanding to Charlotte and New Orleans would be the best solution as far as being able to adopt an NFL-style division alignment.

    The schedule format, if keeping a division-skewed schedule could look like this:
    22 games against each division rival for a total of 66 games
    7 games against 2 teams in each of the other divisions in your league (rotating every year) for a total of 42 games
    6 games against 2 teams in each of the other divisions in your league (rotating every year) for a total of 36 games (a combined total of 78 games against non-division intraleague teams)
    6 games (home-and-home) against your designated interleague rival (no split rivalries)
    3 games against each of the teams in one division in the other league (2 home series, 2 road series) for a total of 12 games (assigned division changes every year, sometimes a team will play an extra series against its designated interleague rival)

    And with an even number of teams in each league, there would be no need for year-round interleague play.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2020
  4. IU Hawks fan They call me IU

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    New Orleans is not capable of supporting Major League Baseball.
     
  5. HajdukSplit Registered User

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    Seems like they couldn’t even support minor league baseball, they lost their AAA team. Charlotte is the only southern city which I think can support a MLB team, maybe Nashville but they weren’t exactly flying to see their MLS team (I know, apples and oranges)
     
  6. Big Z Man 1990 Registered User

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    I can tell you New Orleans would support MLB better than the NHL.

    As far as I can tell New Orleans is making a concerted effort to bring baseball back. It's a popular sport in the city in part because Tulane is a college baseball power.
     
  7. zombie kopitar custom title

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    Haven't read through the whole thread. But my first thoughts, Nashville and Portland seem like great cities for expansion. Of course I've lived in both so might be a little biased.

    Playoffs should be like NFL. A Wildcard round (best of 3,) and the 2 best teams in the league with a bye.
    Seems simple AF
     
  8. rent free Registered User

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    why would the mlb choose to have minnesota, milwaukee, kc, st. louis, the cubs, the white sox, texas and houston in different divisions? all those teams are in the central time zone.

    if you prefer 4 divisions with 8 teams per then the divisions should go something like this:

    pacific: seattle, los angeles angels, oakland, arizona, san diego, los angeles dodgers, san fransisco, colorado

    central: minneosta, kansas city, chicago white sox, texas, milwaukee, st. louis, chicago cubs, houston

    atlantic: boston, new york yankees, tampa bay, baltimore, philadelphia, new york mets, miami, washington

    eastern: toronto, detroit, cleveland, nashville, montreal, pittsburgh, cincinnati, atlanta

    if you prefer 8 divisions with 4 teams per divison, then the first 4 teams i wrote in each division would make up the AL and the last 4 teams make up the nl

    some notes:

    i know nashville is in the central time zone, but they're the closest east of all the central teams and there's already enough central teams to make 1 division of 8 or 2 divisions of 4;

    arizona would have to move to the american league because there's an imbalance of al/nl teams out west; their inter-league rival will be the colorado rockies;

    houston moves back to the nl to counteract arizona moving to the al and also because there would be 5 al central teams if they didn't move; recall that houston used to be in the nl;

    montreal plays in the nl (since they'll become toronto's inter-league rival because they're both canadian teams) which means that nashville plays in the al;

    nashville's interleague rival will be the atlanta braves since they're both southern teams;

    boston-philadephia would be full time inter-league rivals from now on
     
  9. rent free Registered User

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    pretty much any place in america can support the mlb better than the nhl. it doesn't mean they should get an mlb team.
     
  10. KevFu Registered User

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    If you keep AL/NL as separate leagues, two divisions of 8, the Central teams get folded in with the West.
    If you radically realign by geography, the Central/West are going to be tied together as "the Western Conference."

    It really boils down to:
    By TV start times, Central wants to be with the EAST, not the WEST.
    But 75% of the league can't be in the same Geographic division/conference.


    If you have the Pacific League, and three leagues which mix Central/Eastern teams,
    The West gets more of what they want, and others get more of what they want.

    With 16 vs league (112 games)
    4 vs former leaguemates, with a slight mod (32)
    4 vs four of the other 8 teams, rotating basis (16)

    SEA/LAA/OAK get 37 more games in the PT, 10 fewer CT/ET road starts
    NL West gets 18 addition games in PT/MT, 11 fewer CT/ET road starts

    KC/MIN/CWS get 6 more starts in ET/CT, 8 fewer PT starts.
    STL/CHC/MIL get 13 more ET/CT starts, 6 fewer PT/MT starts.

    HOU/TEX get 20 less PT starts, 20 more ET/CT starts.


    EVERYONE'S TV schedule gets better.

    The Central Divisions were not built to give the CTZ teams more 7 pm Central starts, because only Milwaukee got more... and then had to switched league five years later.
    It was designed to give them LESS Pacific Time Zone starts (with KCR, MIN, CWS leaving the AL West; and HOU, CIN and ATL leaving the NL West).
     
  11. Centrum Hockey Registered User

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    MILB wants New Orleans back and the athletic wrote that wichita is a candidate for demotion.
     
  12. KevFu Registered User

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    MLB floated a plan for radical realignment that leaked on BaseballAmerica. It was VERY similar to what you posted...

    West: LAD, LAA, SF, OAK, SEA, SD, ARZ, Portland
    Central: CHC, CWS, HOU, TEX, KC, STL, MIL, COL
    North: BOS, CLE, DET, MIN, MON, NYM, NYY, TOR
    East: ATL, BAL, CIN, PIT, PHI, WAS, TB, MIA

    156-game schedule, 12 vs division, 3 vs everyone else in baseball (home or away).

    They touted more TV start times and better travel. But the plan actually accomplished neither.
    Instead of KC/MIN/CWS playing at LAA, at OAK, at SEA every year and not playing at LAD, SF, SD, COL, ARZ. They'd be playing at LAA, SF, SEA, COL this year and at LAD, OAK, SD, ARZ next year.

    Instead of HOU/TEX going to BOS, CLE, DET, MIN, NYY, TOR, BAL, TB every year, and not to NYM, PHI, WAS, ATL, MIA, CIN, PIT; they'd go to half one year, half the next.

    Under this 156-game radical plan, MLB would eliminate 4-game series or 2-game series and go to all 3-game series; which would mean instead of playing 52 total series per year, they would play... 52 total series per year. The same number! Which means the same number of flights (about 38 per team).

    My plan which looks weird, but less weird, has 4-game series only; 40 series per team, which is 30 flights instead of 38. Saves travel.
    I covered how it increases games in preferred TV time zones for everyone in the league (except BAL/NYY/BOS, who have had an insane luxury of 54 ET road games a year because the AL has only had 3 Western teams this whole time while the NL has 5).

    And lastly, radical realignment destroys AL/NL tradition.
    STL/CHC/PIT have been together in the NL, NL East, NL Central since 1882. 138 years. Now we're going to split them up?

    My plan:
    New AL: These teams have all been AL together for an average of 104 seasons.
    - 6 of them since the AL formed in 1903; plus MIN (who were the Washington Senators of the AL from 1903-1960 before moving; and KC who had the KC A's from 1955-67, then Royals from 1969-on).

    New NL: These teams have all been NL together for an average of 111 seasons.
    - 5 teams continuously since 1901. MIL had the Braves from 1953-1966, then the Brewers in the NL from 1998 on). The Braves moved from BOS to MIL to ATL, but in the NL since 1876. Nashville would be an expansion team, a regional rival between CIN and ATL.

    New Pacific: These teams have been in their cities for an average of 46 yeas. The PCL was a near Major League in the 1950s before LA/SF moved west and the AL/NL expanded in response.

    New Continental: Average of 39 years per team in their city.
    When LA/SF moved, New York wanted an NL expansion team. NL said no. New York lawyer formed the Continental League: New York, Houston, Dallas, Toronto; Minneapolis (Senators moved there), Atlanta (Braves moved there), Denver (PCL team), and Buffalo. Replace Minneapolis with Washington since the Senators vacated; replace Buffalo with Montreal, and replace Denver/Atlanta with Tampa and Miami.... and you get the reborn CBL and PCL. It's revisionist history.

    Rivalries lost: no major ones. HOU, TEX, TB, MIA are geographic outliers from their divisions. HOU just switched leagues a few years ago and would still be with TEX.
    The biggest rivalries lost would be NYM/PHI (I'm a Mets fan, we've both been good at the same time for a pennant race just TWICE in 57 years).
     
  13. BigMac1212 Sleep is for scrubs

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    Any word which MiLB teams MLB consider folding?
     
  14. Big Z Man 1990 Registered User

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    If we really want to create the Continental League and a MLB-level Pacific Coast League, I have a better plan for doing so.

    In setting the AL and NL alignments, I had the AL consist of all the markets that comprised the league from 1955-60, and all the markets that were in the NL from 1953-57 are represented in my new-look NL - only difference is that Brooklyn is replaced by Miami as there are already the Mets (and territorial rights prevent a second NL team from being in NYC). Washington moves from the NL to the AL because Washington was an AL city far longer than it has been an NL city (over multiple stints).

    The CL has every market envisioned for the 1960s league, except for NYC (which remains in the NL) and Denver (which goes to the PCL). They are replaced by Tampa Bay and a new team in Montreal (Buffalo would also get an expansion team).

    The PCL has most of the markets that were in the league at its height in the 1950s when the minor league PCL aspired for major league status.

    So, here are my proposed alignments:

    AL: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago Sox, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, NY Yankees, Washington

    NL: Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Miami, Milwaukee, NY Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis

    CL: Atlanta, Buffalo (new team), Houston, Minnesota, Montreal (new team), Tampa Bay, Texas, Toronto

    PCL: Arizona, Colorado, LA Angels, LA Dodgers, Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle

    When each league would expand to 10 teams, here are my ideal landing spots for them:

    AL: Charlotte and Louisville
    NL: Hartford and Indianapolis
    CL: Memphis or Nashville and San Antonio
    PCL: Las Vegas and Portland

    Both Tennessee locations have strong arguments for getting one of the CL's expansion teams.

    Nashville is a larger market and has more major corporations. But Nashville already has the NFL and NHL, whereas Memphis only has the NBA. Placing MLB in Memphis would give each Tennessee city one indoor team and one outdoor team in one of the major sports leagues.

    Then when all leagues expand to 12 teams:

    AL: Orlando and Oklahoma City
    NL: Hampton Roads and Nashville or Memphis
    CL: Mexico City and Ottawa
    PCL: Sacramento and Vancouver
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020

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