Bud Selig has long talked about pushing for realignment in Major League Baseball, and now it looks like the players are on board. But don’t look for the Rays to be jumping leagues.

While the exact details are still being worked out, the key component would be for one team from the National League to move to the American League, giving both leagues 15 teams.

The biggest hurdle appears to be a minor one: does each league move to a non-divisional format (more fair for teams in divisions with more than 2 good teams such as AL East)? Or does each league move to three 5-team divisions (to maintain divisional rivalries)?

An odd number of teams in each league means interleague play all season. And interleague all season could mean increasing the number of interleague games.

In its current format, MLB plays 249-252 interleague games in a season. Over the course of a 180-day schedule, MLB could get away with maintaining the same level of interleague play. But it would seem more likely that MLB would increase the number of games played between the AL and NL.

This would lead MLB to adopt a schedule more similar to the other major sports. Right now, MLB teams typically play 11 percent of their schedule (18 of 162 games) against the other league. In the NFL, the number is 25 percent (4 of 16 games) and in the NBA, it is 37 percent (30 of 82 games).

And if MLB does increase interleague play, look for the NL to finally be forced into adopting the DH shortly thereafter. But that’s another story for another day.

In the meantime, we are all for realignment. The current format is idiotic. There is no reason why one division should have six teams and another division has four.

We also like the idea of the non-divisional format. But that seems unlikely to happen. Keep in mind, no divisions means a balanced schedule. And a balanced schedule means more trips to the west coast. And if you think you hate 10:00 pm first-pitches, imagine how much the networks hate them.

And let’s face it, the networks call the shots.

In the meantime, look for the Astros or the Marlins to move to the AL in the near future. The rest appears to just be details.



  1. leningan says:

    couldn't they add 6 games to the schedule, and eliminate interleague play entirely? This way every team plays each team in their league 12 times (4 3-game sets, two away and two at home).

    • Cork Gaines says:

      That would work, but MLB is already trying to find way to shorten the season and keep the World Series in October. I have heard rumblings that a shorter schedule, going back to 154 games (or something similar), is more likely, but even that is a longshot.

      • Tom says:

        But with 15 teams in one league, you would need to have an interleague series going on all times.

  2. Thad says:

    Networks also like RedSuxx/Yankess 18 times/year. And Giants/Dodgers 18 times/year on West Coast. And Cubs/Cards 18 times/year in Midwest. Realignment is likely (prob Astros to ALW), but no divisions and a balanced schedule is not.

  3. Sarah says:

    Be careful what you wish for....the Rays also like the Red Sox/Yankees playing at the Trop many times each year. Check out the prices and number of tickets sold for this week's series....

    For the Rays, they may gain from a realignment that creates more balanced divisions, but in terms of selling tickets, I think any gains from being in more pennant races will be offset by fewer "prime" games.

  4. Joe D. says:

    I can't see the Rays truly being in favor of a balanced schedule... Think about it, 18 times a year Rays a much more likely to sell out because of Yankees and Red Sox, remember how exciting that '09 Phillies v. Rays WS rematch was, uhhh, yeah, didn't think so...

  5. Wizzle says:

    i live in st louis and a big assumption here is that the astros will move to the AL just because the NL central has six teams. And if arlington is considered in the west, then houston could as well.

  6. Amanda says:

    I had a dream the other night that the Rays and Blue Jays made it to the playoffs this year. That had MLB scrambling to change the playoff rules even further to allow 10 teams from each league to make it to the playoffs in order to make sure the Yankees and Red Sox would make it in. It was pretty funny and I woke up chuckling. 🙂


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