Now that the winter meetings are upon us, there will be plenty of breaking news to share in the coming days. But for now, before anything groundbreaking is released, I sketched up a potential divisional realignment. Realignment is all the rage these days, with the NCAA going absolutely bonkers with conference realignment and the NHL redoing their conference and division positioning. I think the MLB has it right personally, but this is strictly something I did to pass the time. Keep that in mind. If you ask me, the NFL needs reshaping more than anyone else, I mean where else would Dallas be considered an “Eastern” team? I understand they have huge rivalries with the Redskins and Giants, but other than that, it just doesn’t make sense.
Now, currently the MLB has 30 teams and will likely not expand any time in the near future. It has 6 divisions of 5 teams each, which fits neatly to any neat freak’s brain. I drew up the current divisions on Google Earth to give you a geographic idea of where the teams reside now:
Sorry if it is too small too read, I had to mess with it a little bit to make it functional. Anyway, red tacks/lines are AL West, orange NL West, yellow NL Central, green AL Central, blue NL East, and white AL East. It makes a lot of sense for almost all of the teams involved, except for the Rays and two Texas team; they’re left out in the cold (metaphorically, it’s never cold) when it comes to being remotely close to anyone in their division. But the divisions make sense, and I know the MLB won’t stray from these for a long, long time. But it’s still fun to mess with, so here’s what I came up with. I chose National vs American League simply based on which divisions had more of which. For example, in the Redwood Division, there were 3 NL teams to 2 AL teams so it became an NL division. It just so worked out that there are still 6 divisions of 5 teams.
Redwood Division: Giants, A’s, Angels, Dodgers, Padres
Same story as the first map. The Redwood Division is the skinny red division in southwest California that groups the 5 California teams. Before, the furthest distance the Giants had to travel was to Coors Field in Denver, a staggering distance of 1,250 miles. With the Redwood division, it is cut vastly down to only a 502 mile trip down the coast to sunny San Diego. Not only is it sensible for travel but you still have the fierce Dodgers and Giants rivalry, but now we get to see 19 Holy Wars (LA vs LA, Battle for the City of Angels, get it?) each season. That’s so much Trout vs. Kershaw that the WAR nerds will be foaming at the mouth. It also poses the huge market of LA against the smaller market of Oakland and San Diego against one another, which brings in more revenue for the little guys.
Heartland Division: White Sox, Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, Royals
It was tough to break up the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry, but this is still a solid division with 4 out of the 5 teams being historic teams (all but the Royals were franchises since the first World Series). In a lot of the other realignment proposals I’ve looked at, many of them split the Centrals into east and west rather than north and south, so I decided to be different. The Heartland Division (heartland of America, get it?) contains Midwest teams from the good old amber waves of grain (Royals) to the steel city (Pirates). It’s the America division!
Bermuda Triangle Division: Marlins, Braves, Rays, Orioles, Nationals
I know this title is terrible, but given the southern most point in Miami to the northern most point in Baltimore, it is basically an extension of the Bermuda Triangle. This is a nice combination of expansion teams (Marlins, Rays), original (Orioles), and semi-original (Braves, Nats). Similar to the Redwood, the Rays will have such an easier time traveling than in their previous AL East. From Tampa to Toronto is a 1,356 mile trip with an international border crossing that makes their nicknames rhyming not really worth it, compared to their furthest trip now to Baltimore which is only 953 miles. And just imagine how many home runs Giancarlo Stanton can hit in Oriole Park.
Great Lakes Division: Twins, Brewers, Cubs, Tigers, Indians
As I mentioned earlier, this is the northern half of the centrals, and given that each state touches one of the Great Lakes, I figured the Great Lakes Division just makes sense. The Tigers and Indians have fostered a relatively intense rivalry the past few years, nothing to the level of Yankees/Red Sox but in the past 10 years, one of the two teams has had a target on its back in the Central. Adding a competitive Brewers team and a up-and-coming Cubbies team could make this into a seriously entertaining division.
Chowderhead Division Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Mets
There are so many good rivalries in this division. Yankees/Red Sox, Mets/Phillies, and Yankees/Mets are all compelling series to watch no matter how good or bad the teams are. Ryan Howard would benefit from DHing, as would Curtis Granderson, which would help their averages and power numbers and in turn make them household names again as they were 5-10 years ago.
Frontier Division: Mariners, Rockies, Dbacks, Rangers, Astros
This division will have the prettiest stadiums, that much is for sure. The Mariners are left in the lurch being so much further away, and they are the only team in the western time zone which will make travel and visiting TV times a nightmare, but I figured it was either this or put 6 in the Redwood Division. This division would not be much fun to watch, however. The Rockies were the worst team in the NL, the Rangers were the worst team in the AL, and the Dbacks and Astros were second to last in their respective divisions. I would expect the Mariners to run away with this one year in and year out.
Got ideas of your own? Throw ’em in the comments section. Thanks for reading.