Monday, April 11, 2011

MLB Realignment: Could it Happen?

This is a suggestion proposed by anonymous baseball insiders and published a few months ago in an article by the NY Daily News' Bill Madden, not an idea actually approved by Major League Baseball:













Not feelin' it.

As you can see, this scenario would eliminate the Oakland A's and the Tampa Bay Rays, both of which are in dire straits in terms of operating in their current locations. The A's want to move to San Jose but the San Francisco Giants have some sort of territorial rights that MLB has not wanted to address. Meanwhile, the Rays want to move from St. Petersburg to Tampa and build a domed stadium there but, allegedly, St. Pete bureaucracy and a bad Florida economy stand in their way.

Another option, and one which both A's and Rays ownership are said to be partial, is a buyout. The other 28 teams would have to cough up aprox. $25 million each to cover the aprox. $700 million both teams are worth. Not only do I not want to see both of these teams disappear--especially a storied franchise like the A's--I hardly see revenue sharing beneficiaries like the Florida Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates each coming up w/$25m. No dice.

Obviously both teams need to move: The A's situation in Oakland has become untenable and bringing big league baseball to a state that only cares about football was a huge mistake to begin with, despite the Marlins' two World Series championships (1997, 2003) and the Rays' pennant in '08 and winning their division last year. But getting rid of them would be stupid. So is eliminating geographical rivalries and the identities of each league.

And as for that other rumored development--the disappearance of the DH--on a personal level, I'm quite opposed. When I watch a National League game and witness the uncomfortable awkwardness and even downright clumsiness in the vast majority of pitcher at-bats and their occasional, subsequent base running, it makes me give thanks for the DH in the AL and lament that Connie Mack--who first came up with the concept--did not live to see it implemented.

Let's hope the A's and Rays' respective situations are resolved in a way that benefits each team and their fans. If not, the best case scenario would be a variation of the Montreal Expos mess all over again. The worst? Well, you see that monstrosity above, you tell me.

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