First, who should get new teams? Montreal is a sentimental favourite, of course, but then I thought about the second team -- where should it go? Las Vegas is always a trendy pick, but the spectre of gambling makes any pro league loath to put a team there. I don't think Portland is big enough to support MLB, and even their AAA team relocated a couple of years ago, so they're probably out. So then I figured, why not give the NY/NJ area another team? They have eleventy billion people there, and they support three NHL teams; indeed, once upon a time they had the Yankees, Giants and Dodgers all in the same area. Let's put a team in New Jersey, then.
Secondly, how should the divisions look? The NFL has two conferences and four divisions each; I like symmetry, so that works pretty well for me. This makes four division winners, each making the playoffs; seed them 1-4 based on record (using head-to-head as a tiebreaker).
Thirdly, playoffs. Wildcard? Uh... hmm. Not so much, I guess. That's what'd probably kill this thing; an alternative could have two wildcards duking it out in a winner-take-all game, but now you have five playoff teams per league, which is awkward. You could have one wildcard playing a best-of-3 series with the lowest-ranked division winner, maybe? That'd be a motivation to not only win the division, but to keep playing hard right to the end. Give home-field to the division winner. We're just spitballing here anyway, right?
Finally, of course, the divisions. I mostly kept teams in the league they're currently in, but took some liberties with some recent league-switchers, putting them back where I think they belong. Also, I looked at time zones too, and tried to keep a division within a single time zone.
|AL Atlantic||AL East||AL Central||AL West|
|NL Atlantic||NL East||NL Central||NL West|
I initially had Texas in the AL West, but figured it'd be hell on travel; plus, in the NL Central, they keep that rivalry with Houston going (such as it is these days, given Houston's generalized lack of competence). Putting New Jersey in that monster of an AL Atlantic isn't terribly fair to them, but has the AL East been "fair" to Toronto for the past decade? (The answer is "yes" -- if Tampa can put a good team together, Toronto can too.) Plus, I really like the new NL East.
The Tigers? Well, they're in an AL East which is an amalgam of the old East and Central, renewing that rivalry with Toronto and adding a quality team in Tampa. And everyone's on Eastern time, which is nice.
Finally... does this water-down the talent pool? Of course it does. But now that Cuba is apparently up for grabs, I think we'll see a lot of talented strangers making their way north. I really hope that decision doesn't decimate the local Cuban leagues, but I have a feeling it will.
Thoughts? Comments? Alternative ideas? Hey, it'll give us something to do until Friday, right?