My plan to fix Major League Baseball

The problem: there are too many teams that never have a chance to do anything interesting. This drives down interest in the sport and makes many games meaningless. In part, this is because there are just too many teams, period, and in part it’s because of financial inequalities between teams in the same division. The wildcard system has helped, but there are still too many teams with nothing to play for at the end of each season, and the playoffs drag on way too long.

My plan: abandon geographic divisions. Instead, form the divisions by skill level. Each league would have a High, Middle, and Low division. (For the first year, the teams would be assigned to these divisions based on their records from the previous year.) An unbalanced schedule would still be followed, so teams would play a lot of games within their divisions.

At the end of each season, the team that finished first in each division would play a seven-game series against the winner of the corresponding division in the other league. For the High divisions, this would be the World Series. For the Middle and Low divisions, winning the series would cause your team to switch places with the last-place team in the next division up.

The advantages of this system: games become more exciting and competitive, because teams play many games against opponents that match them in skill. Nearly all teams have something to play for during the regular season–the chance to move up, the danger of being moved down, or the championship. The postseason would be somewhat shorter because the lower division series could be held simultaneously.

The disadvantage of this system is that a team can’t go from the basement to the World Series in a single year. It would take three consecutive seasons of good play. But I don’t see that as a huge downside.

I think getting rid of seperate leagues and setting up like the NBA makes tons more sense- but that is a horrible idea, too. I agree that there are too many sucky teams.

There’s too much tradition to do any serious shake-up. Better to cut a couple teams and have a distribution draft.

I do not grant your premise. Baseball is a grind for a reason. If after 140 games everyone still has a chance, then that is a waste of 140 games. More teams mean there are more noncompetitive teams, but it means there are more competitive teams too. And more baseball. Me being a baseball fan, I enjoy there being more baseball. Sure some games will not affect the standings down the stretch, but it allows teams to give youngsters a chance and plan for next year. Furthermore baseball has been rapidly gaining popularity and revenue in recent history, so again I don’t see the problem.

So you want teams to play an entire season for the right to be in the middle division. That would motivate fans to come out and watch their team?

Any team can beat any other team any game. Every team is skilled enough to make things competitive. I also don’t see shortening the post-season as an advantage. There are tweaks I like to see to it, but that is certainly not one of them.

You are telling fans of 20 teams and the beginning of every season that you can’t win a championship this year. Yes, I consider that a major downside.

I disagree with you. Geographic divisions are important. You’ve forgotten about tv and the fans. By having teams play more games in their division, it keeps them in the same time zone. These games draw higher ratings. A 4 pm start or 9 pm start during the week isn’t good for ratings. Fans watching their local team helps get them out to the ballpark. Also, you’d break up traditional rivals.

Again I see no evidence of your premise. Baseball is a net sum zero game. For every win there is a loss. Baseball has bad teams compared to it’s good teams, but so does every other sport. Bad teams do not stay bad any longer than they do in any other sport. Plus, the worse teams still win nearly 40% of their games. Any run well team can become a winning team. Just look at how the Rays and Brewers to name two have turned around morbid franchises.

I don’t see what contraction does except give me less baseball to watch.

In the last ten years, how many teams HAVEN’T made the playoffs? I can only think of six (and the Orioles miss the cut by just one year) and all owe their failures purely to organizational ineptitude.

And yet attendance is the highest it’s ever been.

Not to mention the travel toll it adds for players, announcers, etc.

I think the OP might not even be a baseball fan. He seems to want to recreate baseball in the image of lesser sports. :wink:

Baseball is doing great. Yes, the Yanks and Sox are always in October, but the other 6 slots seem to be rotating well. Attendance is again higher than ever and attendance of minor league games is also at record levels.

Tampa is having a nice run and will probably make the playoffs in the next few years if not this year. The Marlins have no payroll to speak of and are doing well and then there is the Oakland A’s that always seem to compete with bailing wire, duct tape and young pitchers.

In baseball with a 162 game schedule, the regional rivalries mean more than the other sports. This is why returning to the unbalanced schedule was such a great idea.

A shorter season would help make the World Series be played in better weather. Too many series games have been in horrible weather. Players can get hurt and the game play is diminished.

The answer to this is not to reduce the season, it is to bring back the double-header. In fact, I would have a double-header every week. This could cut, what, 20 days off the season?

You, sir, need a bigger soapbox. Too bad it won’t have any effect, though.

Yes, bring back the double-header and the World Series (or even LCS) game that’s played in the daylight. When most LCS games, and every single World Series game sees its first pitch thrown at 8:15pm EST even when it’s between two East Coast teams, something is terribly wrong.

How come every time I see one of those “How to fix sport X” threads, it invariably is full of suggestions that TPTB would laugh their heads off at if they were to see them. Make some realistic suggestions, ones they might actually consider adopting, and get back to us.

Doubleheaders, for example. Is there a way to make them work that would make the owners (who want maximum revenue) and the players (who don’t want to risk injuries playing 18 innings a day, Ernie Banks aside)? Maybe, but at least try to sell the idea like you are pitching it to them-look at it from their perspective.

[Edit window] Just one scheduled DH a month would allow the ALDS to start almost a week earlier, thus hopefully avoiding possible weather problems (we got lucky in Denver last year). I guess DH tickets could cost 180% that of a single game ticket, giving enough of a discount to encourage attendance without affecting the bottom line too much. I don’t know how the MLBPA could be convinced tho.

I don’t know, why don’t you ask the fans of soccer teams world wide that use such promotion/relegation schemes? Actually, you might consider that it tends to add excitement to the season’s end, as teams fight to avoid relegation. For lower divisions, teams strive to get into the playoffs for promotion, since promotion means better gate receipts the next year, as the big teams come to town.

The trouble with applying this to MLB is simple: who are you going to tell can’t be a part of the first division? I mean, the Cubs have been around since before the turn of the LAST century, and the White Sox almost as long. Same for most of the teams in MLB.

The issue with MLB isn’t lack of interest because of the number of teams. Hell, for decades, the major leagues had only ONE team from each league that played past game 154; the other 7+ went home. Many times, especially in the AL, teams knew quite early on they were not a factor; it didn’t stop fans from coming out to see the games.

What makes the OP think Baseball needs fixing? What evidence do you have that, overall, there is a drop in interest in the game? Statistics show otherwise, and certainly plenty of money is still being poured into the game. :wink:

Yes, why not simply charge extra for a double-header? :smack:

What lesser sports? I don’t know of any other sports. :cool:

They do day / night dbl headers to keep the revenue high. Broom everybody out and start over.

Umm 180% the cost for two games? [instead of $50 for one game you pay $90 for the DH?] Just a ballpark (no pun intended) figure-certainly there’s plenty of negotiable room in there to make the owners happy. But it’s probably too much to hope for I guess.

Tell that to Tampa Bay. They’be (essentially) been in last place since they were founded, the laughing stock of the AL East (and usually second-to-last in the whole AL, trailing KC) yet this year they are currently only 1.5 games behind the Red Sox. and were flip-flopping with them for first place at the start of the season.

I’m not saying that have a good shot at the WS, or even the pennant, but they do have A shot at both of them, for once.

If I wasn’t such a die-hard Red Sox fan, I’d be rooting for the Rays every game (as it stands, I root for them if they aren’t playing the Sox, as long as they stay at #2 in the AL East. :stuck_out_tongue: )

Truly. One of the things I detest about the NBA is that the regular season seems like it is a practice session or something. I mean, all but about the bottom two teams make the playoffs, right? Then you go through about two months of interminable ‘championship’ games before the end of the season. Say what you like about baseball being dull, but at least only 8/30ths play after the regular season, and the whole shebang is over in three or four weeks.