#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 ¡Viva 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.

Follow me @originaldaveo on Twitter

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