#MLB Expansion

Last season I wrote of how expansion in MLB could work. I feel as though we need to expand upon my original idea. This past week we witnessed the Oakland Raiders obtain a vote to leave and turn the Silver State (Nevada) into the Silver and Black State. That’s right if you haven’t heard the Raiders are ┬íViva Las Vegas! now. I know that song is now stuck in your brains. So now that that has happened, the Athletics should get some sweet new digs or at the very least renovate. They have a few years to figure this all out, but I’m sure it’ll happen. That was one part of my solution that I thought would figure itself out. Another part of the problem we have is the Tampa Bay Rays. Despite them being well run for many years and being smart and all that, they still ranked 29th in attendance last season. They’re always in the bottom third of MLB and more often than not they are in the bottom 2. Again I say move to Montreal! Let’s bring back the Expos! The next two spots I proposed to expand were Portland and Vancouver. I’ve read recently that now Commissioner Manfred is thinking that Las Vegas could be a possibility for MLB. There are certainly pros and cons here. Once the Raiders (again with the football, geez) and UNLV move into their new fancy stadium, that opens the possibility for Sam Boyd Stadium to be turned into a fine MLB facility. It has the capability to seat 40,000 fans and this isn’t a from-the-ground-up kinda deal. Honestly this could work. On the other hand, how can we expect Las Vegas to support 3 major sports franchises? I know that Las Vegans know that their city is growing, but they don’t quite have the infrastructure ready. They may have put the cart ahead of the horse with the Raiders and may have looked over some key things such as education and whatnot. So let’s not get too carried away. Plus, would you want to play baseball in July and August when the average temperature is 103-106 degrees? I think not. So we can keep Portland and Vancouver on our short list. Now we keep our lineup of divisions as follows:
AL East-Baltimore-Boston-New York-Toronto
AL North-Chicago-Cleveland-Detroit-Minnesota
AL South-Houston-Kansas City-Los Angeles-Texas
AL West-Oakland-Portland-Seattle-Vancouver
NL East-Montreal-New York-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh
NL North-Chicago-Cincinnati-Colorado-Milwaukee
NL South-Atlanta-Miami-St. Louis-Washington
NL West-Arizona-Los Angeles-San Diego-San Francisco

How would we fit 162 games? First we will have a home and home 3 game series. So if you take 1 team and do that against every other non divisional league member that’s 12 teams times 6 games and that equals 72 games. Then you factor in the regionalized inter-league play. Say you play in the AL South, you play a home and home against the NL South. That equates to 6 games times 5 teams. There’s another 30 games and we are at 102 games. Now divisional play: 15 games apiece against every divisional opponent makes the last 60. As for playoff structure we will have 4 divisional champions seeded 1-4 and 2 wild card winners seeded 5-6. Earning a division championship should at the very least earn you a home field advantage. The top 2 seeds in each league shall earn a bye from the new wild card format. I think everyone is in agreement that the winner take all wild card games are must see TV. So let’s expand upon that. So seed 3’s will play seed 6’s and seed 4’s will play 5’s. I proposed a Thursday thru Sunday 4 game stretch of prime time games. So Thursday AL-3 vs AL-6, Friday NL-3 vs NL-6, Saturday AL-4 vs AL-5, Sunday NL-4 vs NL-5. The 3/6 winner plays the 2 seed and the 4/5 winner plays the 1 seed. Just for fun let’s seed the teams that would’ve participated in the playoff last season.

AL-1 Texas Rangers (South Champ)
AL-2 Cleveland Indians (North Champ)
AL-3 Boston Red Sox (East Champ)
AL-4 Seattle Mariners (West Champ)
AL-5 Baltimore Orioles (Wild Card)
AL-6 Toronto Blue Jays (Wild Card)

NL-1 Chicago Cubs (North Champ)
NL-2 Washington Nationals (South Champ)
NL-3 Los Angeles Dodgers (West Champ)
NL-4 New York Mets (East Champ)
NL-5 San Francisco Giants (Wild Card)
NL-6 St. Louis Cardinals (Wild Card)

Thursday prime time
Blue Jays @ Red Sox

Friday prime time
Cardinals @ Dodgers

Saturday prime time
Orioles @ Mariners

Sunday prime time
Giants @ Mets

I think that we have solved some things here. I need a grassroots movement to help me propose my plan to the powers at MLB. I’m sure ESPN, Fox, and TBS would get in a bidding war to broadcast those Thursday-Sunday night winner take all wild card games. Maybe even another network might get in the bidding for something like that. I know I’d be glued to them. My wife would no doubt hate that. But she does like baseball so maybe we are on to something.

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Selection Sunday is one week from today. Championship Week has landed on us and now the craziness of conference tournaments are underway. We already have had some madness out of the Horizon Conference. 9th seeded Youngstown State defeated 1st seeded Oakland in the second round. Could be the beginning of things to come in the big dance. Two weeks ago I arrived at a UCLA vs Maryland nation championship game and the Terrapins proceeded to go on a losing streak. This is not an exact science. So I will no longer fear the turtle (even though Melo Trimble confirmed some things by nailing a last second 3 to help Maryland beat Michigan State yesterday). I’ve recently came across from facts that will help us decipher the bracket. At least give us a better chance of being that 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance that has a perfect bracket. First the easy: 1 seeds are 128-0 against 16 seeds. Here’s one that is very interesting: For 5 straight seasons a 14 seed has knocked off a 3 seed. Another one maybe more well known: 12 seeds have a 36.1 winning percentage, I do love those 5/12 matchups. ┬áSince 1985 (when the tournament expanded to 64 teams) 1 seeds are 33-29 against the 2 seeds: that is close to evenly matched. This one isn’t really a stat but multiple double digit seeds often wind up in the Sweet 16. Here is a really interesting stat: 11 seeds are 3-3 versus 1 seeds and 11 seeds have 3 Final Four appearances since 1985. Since the inception of the First Four they have 2 games Tuesday and 2 on Wednesday preceding the big dance. Tuesday winners are 0-pher. Wednesday’s winners almost always win at least one more game. Lastly, there is usually a 2 seed in the Sweet 16, but Middle Tennessee spoiled Michigan State’s (and my bracket) party last season. Lets pick some games! I am using the latest Bracketology from ESPN.


1) Kansas vs 16) Texas Southern

128-0 are the 1 seeds, Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU

8) South Carolina vs 9) VCU

I’m not sure I trust either, I’ll take VCU here

5) Purdue vs 12) Nevada

Boilermakers will make a run after getting bounced early last season

4) Virginia vs 13) Akron

Akron may be climbing up, but Virginia smothers them

6) Saint Mary’s vs 11) Illinois State

Both are good mid major teams, Illinois State close

3) UCLA vs 14) CSU Bakersfield

I think it is a crime that UCLA is a 3 seed, they win easy

7) Oklahoma State vs 10) Providence

2 of the hottest teams in the nation, I give the edge to the Friars

2) Louisville vs 15) Green Bay

No Aaron Rodgers to Jordy Nelson, Cardinals roll

1) Kansas vs 9) VCU

Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU

4) Virginia vs 5) Purdue

I will take Purdue’s size in this matchup

3) UCLA vs 11) Illinois State

The run for the Redbirds ends here, Bruins win

2) Louisville vs 10) Providence

Rick Pitino led Providence to the Final Four in 1987, history lesson folks. Louisville wins

1) Kansas vs 5) Purdue

Purdue has Kansas’ weakness, size. Boilermakers with the upset

2) Louisville vs 3) UCLA

This would be a good game, I think UCLA is the best team in the country. Bruins win

3) UCLA vs 5) Purdue

UCLA has the best player in the country, Lonzo Ball. I’ve been saying this for awhile now. I really like this Purdue team and its big guys, but UCLA has lottery picks with size as well. This would be a back and forth game for about 25-30 game minutes and after that I see UCLA pulling away. Bruins to the Final Four.


1) Gonzaga vs 16) North Dakota

Sorry you had a long flight to Salt Lake UND, 128-0 vs 16 seeds

8) Wichita State vs 9) Arkansas

This is not the Shockers team of the last few years, Woo Pig Sooie

5) SMU vs 12) USC / 12) Xavier

SMU is playing very well right now, and they win this game whoever shows up

4) Duke vs 13) Princeton

Would the real Duke team please stand up? Feels like maybe an early exit…nah Duke wins

6) Iowa State vs 11) Wake Forest / 11) Vanderbilt

Iowa State has screwed me and someone from the First Four will win. I’m picking Vanderbilt

3) Butler vs 14) Bucknell

This will be the 6th year in a row a 14 upsets a 3, MADNESS!

7) Miami vs 10) Michigan State

2 years in a row Izzo sent home…is he on the hot seat?

2) Oregon vs 15) UC Irvine

Ducks roll easy

1) Gonzaga vs 9) Arkansas

Gonzaga will likely be 33-1 or so at this point, but I still don’t trust them, Woo Pig Sooie!

4) Duke vs 5) SMU

If the real Duke team is here then they are Final Four good, don’t believe we’ll see that. SMU wins

11) Vanderbilt vs 14) Bucknell

The Commodores make the Sweet 16

2) Oregon vs 7) Miami

Might’ve been a good football matchup, Ducks win this

5) SMU vs 9) Arkansas

Looks like an old Southwest Conference matchup, Woo Pig Sooie!

2) Oregon vs 11) Vanderbilt

The Ducks take care of business

2) Oregon vs 9) Arkansas

Dana Altman was the head coach at Arkansas for about 17 minutes, DUCKS


1) Villanova vs 16) Jacksonville State / 16) Mount Saint Mary’s

128-0 are the 1 seeds, Nova rolls

8) Northwestern vs 9) Virginia Tech

Northwestern’s first trip, can’t pick against that

5) Notre Dame vs 12) UNC Wilmington

Notre Dame has too much firepower in this matchup

4) Florida vs 13) Monmouth

Gators have too much firepower

6) Wisconsin vs 11) Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee wins this, probably going away

3) Florida State vs 14) Winthrop

Seminoles might get tested for a half, but pull away

7) Maryland vs 10) Seton Hall

Seton Hall is getting hot, they don’t fear the turtle

2) Baylor vs 15) South Dakota

Baylor can suffocate you, I think they are really really good

1) Villanova vs 8) Northwestern

Villanova is defending their title, they advance

4) Florida vs 5) Notre Dame

Please make this game a reality, both teams could get over 100. I like the Gators here

3) Florida State vs 11) Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee pulls another upset!

2) Baylor vs 10) Seton Hall

Baylor wins, Motley with a huge game

1) Villanova vs 4) Florida

Villanova’s experience gets them past the last school to go back-to-back

2) Baylor vs 11) Middle Tennessee

Baylor shuts down this Cinderalla

1) Villanova vs 2) Baylor

Ah we get a 1 vs 2 game, remember that 1’s are only 33-29 against the 2’s. This might be one for the ages. Baylor has the guards to run with Villanova but the one thing that Baylor has is Johnathan Motley. I think he will play up to this big state and lead Baylor to the Final Four.


1) North Carolina vs 16) North Carolina Central / 16) New Orleans

128-0 are the 1 seeds, Tar Heels roll

8) Dayton vs 9) Michigan

The Wolverines are making late noise

5) Cincinnati vs 12) UT Arlington

Bearcats win, they’ve been slumping late but they advance

4) West Virginia vs 13) Vermont

Press Virginia stifles Vermont

6) Minnesota vs 11) Marquette

Minnesota is going to be good for awhile if young Pitino stays

3) Arizona vs 14) Florida Gulf Coast

Arizona runs away with this

7) Creighton vs 10) Syracuse

New Big East vs Old Big East, I’ll take the Orange

2) Kentucky vs 15) UNC Greensboro

Kentucky has it back on track

1) North Carolina vs 9) Michigan

UNC has too much for the Wolverines

4) West Virginia vs 5) Cincinnati

The Huggy Bear coached at UC for 16 years, they ran him out but he gets revenge

3) Arizona vs 6) Minnesota

Arizona pulls away in the last minute on free throws

2) Kentucky vs 10) Syracuse

No Cinderella for the Orange this season. UK wins

1) North Carolina vs 4) West Virginia

UNC is on a mission to finish last year’s business. But they didn’t count on seeing Press Virginia. Mountaineers win

2) Kentucky vs 3) Arizona

This would be a really good game, both have young exciting freshmen but I think Kentucky has the upper hand

2) Kentucky vs 4) West Virginia

Another really good game here, I think that now Fox is healthy for UK and placing him beside Malik Monk (who has been nothing short of sensational) will lead UK to the Final Four no matter how their bracket sets up)

Final Four

2) Baylor vs 3) UCLA

2) Kentucky vs 2) Oregon

I think we have 4 really good teams left after the dust settles. In the first game, UCLA has Lonzo Ball and I think that is enough. Baylor does not have a guard that could neutralize him. On the other side, I think UCLA has the guys to at least keep Johnathan Motley in check. UCLA wins. The second game to me is much more difficult to predict. I think that Oregon’s upperclassmen will control this game for the most part. Kentucky’s trio of Fox, Monk, and Adebayo will have their moments but in the end Dillon Brooks and Co. will find a way to win this game.

National Championship

2) Oregon vs 3) UCLA

On December 28, Oregon defeated UCLA 89-87 in Eugene and on February 9 UCLA defeated Oregon 82-79 in Los Angeles. They may meet again in the Pac-12 Tournament before we get to here but for now lets roll with those two games. In the first half of the December game, defense was optional the score was 52-47 Oregon. Same story in the first half of the February game, Oregon led 48-39 at half then. In the second half of both games, UCLA decided to clamp down. They held Oregon to 37 and 31 points in the second half of both games while they increased their offensive production to 40 and 43 points in the second half of both games. This tells me that they may let Oregon get off to a good start, but they know how to close them out. I feel like UCLA will make the plays when it counts and they might not even let the Ducks get off to that hot start after watching it happen twice to them.

UCLA 2017 National Champions