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Thread: The concept of MLB divisions
10-03-2016, 02:08 AM #1Regular 1st Stringer
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
- Olney, MD (Baltimore native)
The concept of MLB divisions
Back in 1969 when both the American and National Leagues were divided into an Eastern and Western Division, it seemed to make a lot of sense. First of all, the amount of teams above struggling teams in the standings was reduced in half - generating more prolonged interest by the fans of those struggling teams. Second of all, the number of postseason participants doubled: four division winners instead of just two league champions - and the playoffs were born.
However, the long standing tradition of the 'balanced schedule' was sacrificed - to justify the separation of teams by division. Teams inside a division played each other more frequently than the ones played in the other division (18 inside, 12 outside - six teams in each division). The unbalanced schedule was copied from the NFL who instituted divisions (and thereby the playoff format) in 1967. But in the NFL, divisions made much more sense. Each team within an NFL division (total of four teams, just like today) played each other twice (home and away) while only once versus remaining opponents from outside their division.
In MLB, divisions ARE not necessary. With the balanced schedule implemented, every AL/NL team plays every other AL/NL team the same or (approximately the same) number of times. The novelty of regular-season interleague play has dissipated. The novelty of interleague play in the World Series needs to be returned. A balanced MLB schedule is the best method for measuring the competition across each league.
Without MLB divisions, you can still maintain a playoff format in each league. The top four teams (by win total) in each league will qualify. First plays fourth, second plays third, and the two winners play each other in the LCS. No wildcards are needed. It is a lot simpler than it sounds here.