Appearing in an article for Baseball America, writer Tracy Ringolsby has suggested how realignment and schedule reduction could benefit baseball.
Ringolsby suggested that by adding a new “North” Division would allow for less travel and more off-days which would help teams recover from late night games. With the increased time off, Commissioner Rob Manfred hopes that it will reduce injury risk.
Reducing the schedule from 162 to 156 would mean that each team would play 24 total games against the eight teams in each of the three other divisions. The schedule would include 12 games split home and away against each of the seven divisional opponents.
In addition to the schedule reduction, Commissioner Manfred suggested that they are looking into a few potential expansion teams. One popular destination is Montreal, home of the past Expos. Toronto’s fan base has been greatly impacted by the dismissal of the Montreal team; however, there is no doubt that fans would positively respond to the re-introduction of the Expos. Portland, Oregon has been another popular destination, along with Mexico City.
How this would potentially impact Boston is that it would put Boston, NY Mets, Yankees, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal and Toronto in the new “North Division.”
Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington would form the new “East Division.”
The Chicago Cubs, White Sox, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Texas would make up the new “Midwest Division.”
Finally, Anaheim, Arizona, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle would produce the “West Division.”
A baseball traditionalist would certainly balk at this idea, but there are certainly some positives that could come out of it.
The realignment would allow for past rivalries to be renewed. Boston and Montreal could be reignited, despite the Red Sox possessing the upper hand for many years. The Mets and the Yankees would play frequently, as well as the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals.
The 2018 season which will start on March 29th for the Red Sox, which will be the earliest start since beginning the 2008 season in Japan. One change is that there are going to be more off days for the Red Sox, usually coming on a Thursday or Monday, which would allow for time to rest and recover.
This is just one writer’s suggestion, but I am definitely in favor of the reduction in the schedule, expansion, and realignment.