If you follow college football even a little bit, you know that conference expansion and realignment is all the rage right now. This trend has been going on for the last year or two in the NCAA, but it received new life with the recent news that Rutgers and Maryland would be jumping to the Big Ten, a move that is bound to trigger a domino effect of even more teams pulling up stakes and looking for a new, better home in a different conference.
As we all know, baseball has fallen behind football, both professional and college, in terms of popularity but this expansion and realignment trend might be just what MLB needs to get back in the public spotlight. Realigning is totally cool, right? OK, maybe not. But if there is one thing that Bud Selig has never been shy about, it is realigning the divisions. Heck, starting next season the Houston Astros are moving from the NL Central to the AL West. But why stop there? If major conference reconfiguration is good for college football, why not give it a shot in baseball too? The only problem is figuring out which model to follow:
The Big Ten Model
It appears that the Big Ten's plan is to just expand, expand and expand some more. Pretty soon college football is going to be just the Big Ten conference with a handful of divisions with stupid names (Legends and Leaders? Really?). That sure sounds like something right in Bud Selig's wheelhouse, doesn't it?
|Chicago White Sox||Las Vegas*||Montreal*||LA Dodgers|
|Detroit||LA Angels||NY Mets||Milwaukee|
|Puerto Rico*||San Antonio*||Pittsburgh||San Diego|
|Tampa Bay||Seattle||St. Louis||San Francisco|
Just look at the size of those divisions! That's BIG, like the Big Ten! Of course, it means the league had to expand into a few new markets, which is counter-intuitive because it seems like MLB is far more likely to contract two teams than they would be to add two teams, much less eight as suggested here. Still, these giant divisions give baseball that conference like feel of college football, complete with stupid division names. The added bonuses here are that the league is now so big that they'd almost certainly have to do away with that pox on humanity that is interleague play. They could possibly do away with the whole Wild Card thing too by having the top two finishers in each division play for the division title. Or they could really clone college football and divide each division into two smaller divisions of five teams each and have the winners of each sub-division play a division championship series. Eight divisions? 40 teams? What more could you want? Well, other than not having the talent pool become so wildly diluted.no comments