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Monday, October 16, 2017

EXPANSION COULD TRIGGER REALIGNMENT, LONGER POSTSEASON

There seems to be a building consensus that baseball will soon be headed to a 32-team configuration.

Lol, wut? I thought the consensus was that there were already two too many teams (Athletics, Rays) and that expansion is off the table until those teams find a home, anyway:

One proposal would be to geographically restructure into four divisions, which would create a major reduction in travel, particularly for teams on the East Coast and West Coast, and add to the natural rivalries by not just having them as interleague attractions, but rather a part of the regular divisional battles.

It’s an interesting idea, but one that would mean the end of pitchers hitting (or less likely the end of the DH) and reduce the schedule by 6 games per year.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:00 PM | 125 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: expansion, montreal, portland

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   101. snowles Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:49 PM (#5556036)
Whatever happens, just give Montreal a damn team again already. I'm 35 and it's all I've heard since leaving my teenage years behind - and it gets nuts every time the Jays play exhibition games in the Stadium. As a Canadian who lived through the roller-coaster of 'Bring back the Winnipeg Jets', I'm begging you to end the madness and attach a timeline to get them back in the MLB. Even if it's 10 years, we'll know and can stop talking about how it should happen and how it's such a damn travesty that it hasn't.
   102. Khrushin it bro Posted: October 17, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5556057)
There is no reason to get rid of Oakland. Maybe the ownership of the last 20+ years. A new stadium and a playoff team will bring plenty of money into the MLB from one of the richest areas in the world. Maybe even a new marketing team and better radio/TV contracts.
   103. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: October 17, 2017 at 05:50 PM (#5556263)
Expand to 153,849,780 teams.

The average footprint of a big-league ballpark is roughly 800 feet square, which means you could fit about 43.5 ballparks in a square mile. Build them cheek-by-jowl across the whole country, and you'll have roughly 153,849,780 ballparks, which would employ about 3,846,244,545 players, or about half the people on earth. (The other half could be pundits on the MLB Network.)

You know it makes sense.
   104. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 17, 2017 at 06:35 PM (#5556294)
Whatever happens, just give Montreal a damn team again already.

Montreal would be a fine choice for another MLB team, IMHO, but the winners of the race for additional MLB franchises will have a mega-billionaire owner with a nice new stadium [probably government-provided]. That doesn't seem to be happening anywhere at the moment, so all the new & improved multi-tiered playoff formats must wait.
   105. catomi01 Posted: October 17, 2017 at 06:37 PM (#5556297)
I'm not 100 % sure, but those numbers don't see quite right. I am willing to buy them though, as I think I must be in the top 4 Billion baseball players on the planet - so MLB starting job, here I come.
   106. catomi01 Posted: October 17, 2017 at 06:39 PM (#5556299)
How much of the push for expansion might be a quick grab to lock up 2 more locations (plus expansion fees) worth of TV Broadcast rights money before that bubble bursts (which has to happen at some point, right?)
   107. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 18, 2017 at 01:01 AM (#5556772)
[103] just the square made by the bases is 90ft*90ft which is 8100 square feet. So your 800 square feet approximation is off by a lot.
   108. Cooper Nielson Posted: October 18, 2017 at 06:14 AM (#5556777)
[103] just the square made by the bases is 90ft*90ft which is 8100 square feet. So your 800 square feet approximation is off by a lot.

He said "800 feet square," not "800 square feet," by which I assume he meant 800 ft x 800 ft or 640,000 square feet, which seems to mesh with the other numbers.

Top 2 teams get a bye in the first round.

I'm not sure this is a desirable thing in baseball?


How about a series where the division winner/higher seed has to win fewer games? For example, it's a "Best of 7" but the top team starts out with a 1-0 (or 2-0) lead?
   109. manchestermets Posted: October 18, 2017 at 06:22 AM (#5556778)
Why do people think that an expansion team in Montreal would be any more successful and popular than the Expos were? Was the Expos' failure seen purely as a function of Loria's mismanagement?
   110. PreservedFish Posted: October 18, 2017 at 08:20 AM (#5556788)
No, I spent the last 5 years in an 800 square foot bungalow, am fairly sure I could have fit an entire MLB stadium inside it.
   111. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: October 18, 2017 at 09:04 AM (#5556804)
Why do people think that an expansion team in Montreal would be any more successful and popular than the Expos were? Was the Expos' failure seen purely as a function of Loria's mismanagement?


The Expos were wildly successful when they fielded competitive teams. The Expos had very bad gate receipts when their ownership gutted the on-field product and demanded more and more corporate welfare or else he'd move the team to Miami.
   112. BrianBrianson Posted: October 18, 2017 at 09:10 AM (#5556806)
Why do people think that an expansion team in Montreal would be any more successful and popular than the Expos were? Was the Expos' failure seen purely as a function of Loria's mismanagement?


Montreal in attendance

7th of 12
6th of 12
8th of 12
9th of 12
9th of 12
9th of 12
9th of 12
11th of 12
6th of 12
7th of 12
4th of 12
4th of 12
3rd of 12
3rd of 12
3rd of 12
8th of 12
11th of 12
9th of 12
11th of 12
10th of 12
10th of 12
12th of 12
10th of 12
13th of 14 (1991 - Team sold to Brochu, Loria, et al.)
11th of 14
10th of 14
11th of 14
13th of 14
16th of 16
16th of 16
16th of 16
16th of 16
16th of 16
16th of 16
16th of 16

The Expos only made the playoffs in '81, but had a pretty good run in the late 70s-early 80s. So, no, not just Loria, but it's also clear that it's not the case that Quebequois aren't totally disinterested in baseball - Montreal had poor management for a long time. Montreal is something like the 17th largest city in (Canada+US), at around 4 million to the ~2.5 million in (Vancouver, Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Portland).
   113. Rally Posted: October 18, 2017 at 09:24 AM (#5556809)
The average footprint of a big-league ballpark is roughly 800 feet square, which means you could fit about 43.5 ballparks in a square mile. Build them cheek-by-jowl across the whole country, and you'll have roughly 153,849,780 ballparks, which would employ about 3,846,244,545 players, or about half the people on earth. (The other half could be pundits on the MLB Network.)


That is pretty much my plan for dealing with the question "what will people do?" once the robots take over every job. We do have to make a stand somewhere. We can't let the robots play baseball.

I'm still haunted by the memory of pitching to Omega Supreme* in the 9th inning of the 1988 Micro League championship series.

*You can guess the outcome, he basically became the Kirk Gibson of Microleague.
   114. fra paolo Posted: October 18, 2017 at 09:25 AM (#5556810)
Why do people think that an expansion team in Montreal would be any more successful and popular than the Expos were? Was the Expos' failure seen purely as a function of Loria's mismanagement?

These are good questions, and people here dismiss them too readily. The problem is in part that the Old Expos were run badly even before Loria was invited aboard. Indifferent ownership preceded the hostile ownership of Loria. In the absence of impassioned local ownership, the fans had ceased to care much by 1999.

But there is evidence, if one wants to see it, that the Montreal market wasn't following the trends in the other MLB markets, even as early as when Charles Bronfman sold the team after the 1990 season. Perhaps most importantly, TV revenue went in the toilet. Montreal kept falling behind other cities in MLB afterwards (although towards the end the Miami market had fallen down to Montreal's level).

There is no reason to believe that these trends have been reversed. The New Expos really need to be able to mobilise a national market the way the Blue Jays have, in a situation of having one hand tied behind their backs in the inability to access Greater Toronto.

Having said that, the movement of rights among the broadcasters in Canada has left rich, powerful Bell Media in a bit of a pickle. If they were to go all-in on a long-term investment, there might be reason to hope things could be changed.
   115. No longer interested in this website Posted: October 18, 2017 at 02:42 PM (#5557109)
I made a blunder here. Even with drops in 2017 viewership, the Pirates and Royals are among the best 'draws' for the television audience out there, in terms of a percentage of 'capacity' (the size of the television market).


I've been saying this for years. TV revenue and the hundreds of millions (or even billions) of dollars that comes with it, are what drive the value of an MLB team. We are fast approaching the time when owners will not care if anyone comes to a game, as long as the regional cable companies write huge checks for the rights to broadcast the games.

It's like Disney: yes they have an amusement park, and it might be an enchanting place to visit for many people, but the Disney company makes the large bulk of their money through their other channels. MLB teams are MEDIA COMPANIES, not simply baseball teams.
   116. friendofafriend Posted: October 23, 2017 at 01:52 AM (#5560238)
It is ESSENTIAL to drop the 2-league format. We are a universe removed from the (rather chaotic) conditions that created the AL and NL. Keeping them around is:

1) COSTLY for owners and TIRING for players: teams travel far more than they have to (e.g., Boston goes to Seattle every year but to DC hardly ever), generating expenses for owners and fatigue for players

2) NOT FAN-FRIENDLY: having more games out of time zone means fewer games in prime time for TV viewers back home

3) UNFAIR: if one of the leagues is weaker, its teams are at a decided but unmerited advantage in the race for the World Series, and

4) COUNTER-INTUITIVE: potentially interesting regional rivalries are lost in favor of pairings determined by nineteenth-century membership decisions -- decisions that are effectively arbitrary from the perspective of MLB in 2017.

I don't see Montreal and Portland working as expansion franchises, but if they get teams, MLB should definitely go to this realignment plan or something similar. It is how a rational decision maker would set up MLB if it were being created today. Emotional attachment to the past has slowed and often arrested every aspect of cultural and social development for centuries, but in baseball -- a GAME -- we are hidebound conservatives? I say, no. Set up the matchups people want to see. Get as many games on TV in prime time as possible. Minimize travel for the players so they play better. That could have been done before the 1998 expansion. Really, is Boston still going to be playing Seattle more than it plays DC in 2030, 2050, ...2100?

CAN WE FINALLY GET PAST THE 1800s?

BASEBALL NEEDS RADICAL REALIGNMENT ASAP!

If the Mets and Cubs say they don't want to play with the Yanks and White Sox for TV contract reasons, as they did at those 1998 realignment talks, then the Mets and Phils (Bos/NYY/Phi would be awesome as NJ and northeast PA are Yankee country) should switch, and the WSox and Twins should switch.

[If however they ulimately decide against expansion completely and stay in the dinosaur days of the 2-league format and 6 divisions, then at least do the following:
Pitt to NL E (to play Philly)
MIA to AL E (to play TB)
TOR to AL C (to play Det)
KC to NL C (to play StL)
Really, I don't understand why that hasn't happened already. Who would be against it?]


   117. friendofafriend Posted: October 23, 2017 at 02:22 AM (#5560241)
Oh, and NEVER EVER go to 4-team divisions. Would let an undeserving winner of a weak division into the playoffs and require division teams to play each other 500 times like now.

The proposed 8-team division setup would produce the perfect schedule: 12 games vs division teams (enough to feel like a rival but not so much that it gets boring) and 3 games vs all other teams. So the schedule is simple, fair, and unchanging from year to year. Variety comes from the alternating sites for out of division teams. Schedule is not so unbalanced that the wild card race wouldn't be fair.

Also change the name of the Midwest to the Central to reflect the time zone (and the fact that no one knows what the Midwest actually is).

East: NYM, Pit, Bal, Was, Cin, Atl, TB, Mia
North: NYY, Bos, Phi, Tor, Mon, Det, Cle, CWS
Central: Cubs, Min, Mil, StL, KC, Hou, Tex, Col
West: Ari, LAA, LAA, SF, Oak, SD, Sea, Por
   118. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 23, 2017 at 03:04 AM (#5560243)
The Midwest is a well defined region by the US Census: Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas. Interestingly, if you go by the US Census geographical regions, you'd get:
West: LAA, LAD, SD, SF, OAK, SEA, ARZ, COL
Midwest: CHC, CWS, MIN, DET, CLV, CIN, MIL, STL, KC
East: NYY, NYM, BOS, PHI, PIT
South: BAL, WAS, ATL, MIA, TB, TX, HOU
Not US: TOR

So yeah, starting with the census regions, and moving Toronto to the east, the West is set and the Midwest has one too many teams, so send Detroit to the East. That would mean an expansion team in both the South and the East or moving more teams around. Montreal would fit naturally in the East and many of the choices listed earlier fit in the South (Charlotte, Nashville, San Antonio, etc.)
   119. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 23, 2017 at 08:34 AM (#5560255)
East: NYM, Pit, Bal, Was, Cin, Atl, TB, Mia
North: NYY, Bos, Phi, Tor, Mon, Det, Cle, CWS
Central: Cubs, Min, Mil, StL, KC, Hou, Tex, Col
West: Ari, LAA, LAA, SF, Oak, SD, Sea, Por


Not a bad grouping, and I'm glad to see you've made sure that the Dodgers won't be winning any more division titles.
   120. Lassus Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:05 AM (#5560263)
This thread has been depressing, because expansion is still an incredibly dumb idea.
   121. bunyon Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:39 AM (#5560285)
This thread has been depressing, because expansion is still an incredibly dumb idea.


Is it a serious idea? That is, is anyone associated with MLB actually pushing it? It seems more the fringes and media talking it up.
   122. Lassus Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:07 AM (#5560298)
I'm sure I'm projecting. The fact that it's being talked about at all makes me grumpy I guess.
   123. friendofafriend Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:13 AM (#5560301)
Joyful, your response misses the point. Yes, I know about the census designations, but very few people do. And what matters about the divisions is the time zones for TV purposes. So Central makes more sense.

I still can't believe they're going to expand at all, and I hope they don't. It would be like letting two more Tampa Bays in the league.
   124. jmurph Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:16 AM (#5560304)
Is it a serious idea? That is, is anyone associated with MLB actually pushing it? It seems more the fringes and media talking it up.

Manfred has talked about it relatively recently, going so far as to name three cities as possibilities: Montreal, Charlotte, and Mexico City. It's definitely going to happen at some point, but he mentioned needing to "resolve" existing stadium issues first.
   125. BrianBrianson Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:20 AM (#5560305)
Is it a serious idea? That is, is anyone associated with MLB actually pushing it? It seems more the fringes and media talking it up.


They're leaving money on the table, so of course MLB is looking at it. But it seems like they're not quite sure what they want to do.
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