A back burnered rumor about the current affairs of MLB is realignment. Some state a “floating” realignment could work. I don’t see why MLB would want to do that when it would be easier to just expand the number of teams by two to 32 total teams.
A lot of people will read this and reply with are you crazy, the talent is watered down enough as it is and you want to water it down further? I’ve debated it numerous times and I think that if MLB plays its cards right, they could add teams shortly after restructuring the first year player draft. By modifying the current draft system to add pick trading and international players, more and more talent will be introduced into the league.
Of all the major markets in this country, many of them support one or no MLB teams. While baseball is the most expensive sports franchise to own and operate, with the right management in charge, two teams could be supported and ran at a championship contending caliber.
As it should be of no surprise, Philadelphia is the largest market with only one baseball team. New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore-DC area, and San Francisco-Oakland Bay area all have and support two teams. While Philadelphia is within a million populated people of the Bay Area, I don’t know if cramming a second team to a current town is the right move. Once the new census results are in, we will be able to see how much certain markets have gained or declined.
Montreal would be the largest sports market with no baseball, but what factor ultimately brought on the move to DC? Was it the value of an american dollar compared to a canadian dollar? Was it just poor managemnt? Or was it lack of fan interest? Once you solve those problems then you could consider bringing the game back, but for now, it is not a forseeable option.
Other large markets that you can cross off your list. Portland, OR, Richmond, VA, San Antonio and Austin, TX. All four cities are currently within 200 miles of a baseball team. So what markets should be targeted? The cities I would look to host a MLB team include Charlotte, NC, Las Vegas, NV, Memphis, TN, and Oklahoma City, OK. Outside of the continental US, I would include San Juan, PR and Mexico City, Mexico.
Of those six cities, I think that Las Vegas would be the least appealling for MLB due to the high level of gambling. I believe that the best options would be Charlotte, Oklahoma City, and San Juan. San Juan and OKC were both in the running for a MLB team when the Expos were planning on leaving Canada. Both cities would definitely be expanding the boundaries of MLB’s reach on America and Latin America.
But of the two I would prefer to go the route of San Juan and Charlotte. Where I believe that Oklahoma City could support a MLB team, I don’t know if it would want to. They are smack dab in the football hot bed. Between the college and pro ranks, I don’t think it would stick.
I believe that a team could be had in Memphis, TN and be successful. The only team at this point that would be somewhat willing to move would most likely be Toronto. I believe Rogers Communication makes enough money per year to move the team, or if they are tired of the loss of money every year in the franchise, they could sell.
So under the assumption of that Toronto would move to one of the three cities, and you could find two owners or ownership groups, there should be no problem developing these franchises. Mark Cuban in recent history wanted to buy either the Pirates or the Cubs, but was denied both. Adding Memphis, Charlotte, and San Juan would make re-aligment that much easier.
No major rivalries could be separated is my main guideline. Rumors told of the Red Sox or Yankees out of the AL East. The only way that would work would be if one chose to switch leagues. That ain’t happening either. So here we go.
- NY Yankees
- Boston Red Sox
- Baltimore Orioles
- Charlotte expansion team
- Minnesota Twins
- Detroit Tigers
- Cleveland Indians
- Chicago White Sox
- Seattle Mariners
- Oakland Athletics
- LA Angels
- Colorado Rockies
- Texas Rangers
- San Juan expansion
- KC Royals
- Tampa Bay Rays
- NY Mets
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Pittsburgh Pirates
- Washington Nationals
- Cincinatti Reds
- Chicago Cubs
- Milwalkee Brewers
- St. Louis Cardinals
- LA Dodgers
- SF Giants
- SD Padres
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Memphis expansion
- Houston Astros
- Atlanta Braves
- Miami Marlins
You could then move to a scheduling format that allowed more games outside of the division:
- 3 opponents within division x 22 games = 66 games
- 3 divisions within league x 4 teams per x 6 games = 72 games
- 1 rotating division from other league x 4 teams x 6 games = 24
- Total games: 162
That format would allow not only every league opponent atleast one home and one away series per team, but one home and one away series per team from outside the division. Your division format would consist of four 4-game series and two 3-game series to be divided by rivals.
So the only questions remain to be answered are this:
- Could MLB persuade Rogers Communication to sell/move the Blue Jays to another city.
- Could MLB find two owners that would be able to support two new franchises.
Once those questions are answered. The train may pull out of the station. So yes, MLB could indeed re-align successfully.