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Tuesday, September 14, 2021

KC Royals ‘need to start thinking’ about a new stadium, possibly downtown, owner says

The idea of a new downtown baseball stadium for the Kansas City Royals gained the owner’s voice on Tuesday.

John Sherman, the Royals’ primary owner, said in a news conference that the Royals “need to start thinking about our plans for a stadium over the next five to 10 years.

“Wherever we play, the criteria will be that the process will result in meaningful community impact that is real and measurable. It will result in economic growth and economic activity that benefits this region also in a real and measurable way.”

Left unanswered was a specific location of a new stadium. But Sherman provided this clue:

“We need to have a positive impact in the quality of life for our citizens in Kansas City with a particular focus on those underrepresented parts of our community.

“We’re a little beyond just listening to others’ ideas. We are conducting an internal process to help us evaluate our options for where we play, and one of those options is to play downtown baseball.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2021 at 08:36 PM | 58 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. The Duke Posted: September 14, 2021 at 09:35 PM (#6039712)
Must be one of the oldest stadia around. Obviously Fenway and wrigley are older . Others ?
   2. villageidiom Posted: September 14, 2021 at 09:48 PM (#6039713)
Fenway
Wrigley
Dodger
Angels
Oakland
Kauffman

The next oldest is Rogers, which astounds me.
   3. The Duke Posted: September 14, 2021 at 10:05 PM (#6039715)
I wonder what cost more: Pujols contract or Anaheim stadium.

Is it a nice stadium ? Must be if they haven’t replaced it
   4. The Duke Posted: September 14, 2021 at 10:10 PM (#6039718)
In December 2019, the city of Anaheim agreed to sell the stadium and surrounding land to the team for $325 million, with the team committed to remain in Anaheim until at least 2050, with options to remain until at least 2065.
   5. Bhaakon Posted: September 14, 2021 at 10:30 PM (#6039724)
IIRC, the Angel's stadium sale is in limbo because the agreement might be in violation of state law.
   6. Brian C Posted: September 14, 2021 at 10:33 PM (#6039725)
I haven't been to Kauffman since ... 2005 or 2006? So before the big outfield remodel. But on my two trips there, both times it felt like a perfectly pleasant place to watch a baseball game. Surprisingly so, in fact. Nothing truly spectacular, of course, but then again, it's extremely difficult to believe that the Royals will manage to build a truly special or spectacular stadium in downtown KC.

So, I guess I wish them luck, but it seems like from a pure fan-watching-baseball perspective, this figures to be a lateral move at best.

ETA: I'll also add that the first time I was there, in 2000, was to see the Cubs while they were visiting; I lived in Dallas at the time. And I'm used to seeing games as a visiting team fan, never had anyone give me any real #### over it, but the KC fans sitting around me were all genuinely friendly and curious about this out-of-town Cubs fan who road-tripped to their town and seemed very pleased that I was enjoying myself at the game. One couple even invited me back up in the fall with the promise of taking me to a Chiefs game, telling me that Arrowhead was the greatest sports environment in the country. It was a claim that seemed at least plausible to me at the time and still does; KC people really love their Chiefs.
   7. 57i66135 right now is attacking rest Posted: September 14, 2021 at 10:47 PM (#6039729)
Fenway
Wrigley
Dodger
Angels
Oakland
Kauffman

The next oldest is Rogers, which astounds me.
the oldest stadium in the NL is wrigley. the 2nd oldest is dodger stadium. after that, the third oldest stadium in the NL is in colorado.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: September 14, 2021 at 10:51 PM (#6039730)
per Post 6

I got the same treatment in Chicago every year I went in the 1980s and 1990s. pretty much a universal Midwest thing.

I was once staying at a large downtown Indianapolis hotel that had dozens of floors and a second-floor atrium and then a ground floor, with noticeable stairs from the second to the first floor lobby.

so after about 6 or 8 stops on various floors, having it stop again on the 2nd floor seemed a bit.... superfluous. nobody said anything as the middle-aged lady squeezed in, and really it's just a few seconds more added to the trip.

still, in "Indiana Nice" fashion, she apologized to everyone in the elevator, explaining that she sprained her ankle the day before and unfortunately couldn't navigate the stairs so she was forced to inconvenience all of us (for like, 30 seconds?).

I thought it was sweet.
   9. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 14, 2021 at 10:56 PM (#6039731)
Is it a nice stadium ? Must be if they haven’t replaced it


I'm realizing now that I'm old and I haven't been there in almost 20 years, but it used to be an exceptionally nice stadium, especially for the mid-century era canyons. It had been renovated in '98, quite successfully, and it was a great place to watch a ballgame. It lacked the magnificence of Dodger Stadium, but so do pretty much all stadiums. I mean, on some level it's hard to #### up baseball in southern California, or at least it used to be.
   10. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 14, 2021 at 10:57 PM (#6039732)
Pujols contract or Anaheim stadium.


Also, the '98 renovation cost $178M in 2019 dollars, well less than the total of Pujols' contract. Though of course it wasn't pro-rated.
   11. geonose Posted: September 15, 2021 at 02:02 AM (#6039761)
it's extremely difficult to believe that the Royals will manage to build a truly special or spectacular stadium in downtown KC.

Populous (formerly part of HOK) is based in Kansas City and I can't imagine any other firm getting the design contract. You think they wouldn't design something awesome? They did Camden Yards, Great American Ballpark, and (I think) Progressive Field, Coors Field, Target Stadium, and Nationals Park.

There are some other top-notch architecture firms that are KC-based, and their roots can be traced to the firm that originally designed the Truman Sports Complex. Ellerbe Beckett comes to mind.

Problem right now is I'm not really sure where downtown they would put it. But I'm sure they can find somewhere if they want to, and turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.
   12. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 15, 2021 at 08:19 AM (#6039765)
I've spent a lot of time in Kansas City over the past 20+ years, and have been to post-renovation Kaufmann:

1) It's a great place to watch a game - aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, and unique. I've been to other 60s/70s era bowl stadiums (stadia? - nobody seems to use that, though I guess it is correct...), and it is by far the best one. Somehow, they were able to build Royals Stadium in a way that avoided the lack of charm in Pittsburgh, Phily, Cincy, Montreal, etc. I think the primary reason was because it was never designed to hold both MLB and NFL, so you didn't have these massive walls in the outfield that separated the fans from the field. (Think of, like, old Busch Stadium, when Ozzie Smith corked that HR to right field against the Dodgers in 1985, and Joe Buck just starts yelling "Go Crazy! Go Crazy!". When the ball left the park, it had no chance of being caught by a delirious fan base in right field, because there was a huge wall and a gap between the fence and any fans. Compare that to, like, Kirk Gibson in the 1988 Series, and the craziness in the right field stands.

2) The location sucks. It is in the middle of a parking lot, near Arrowhead Stadium. I found it pretty convenient to get in and out, but if you could put a ballpark of similar comfort and enjoyability in downtown KC (I could kind of see the area of town where they may be hinting in the above quote; one could imagine a greatly expanded Negro League Museum built in conjunction with a new stadium). I don't know if you've ever been to downtown KC ("The Plaza"), but it is unique and fun - you know you are in KC. If a new stadium could be built within walking distance of all of that, it would create quite a complete experience for people going to games, though I'm not sure how the traffic and parking would work.

3) If you think of the 16 teams that have been added to MLB since the early 1960s, they have generally worked out pretty well, with a few exceptions:

Angels
Astros
Blue Jays
Brewers
Expos/Nationals
Mariners
Mets
Padres
Senators/Rangers
Royals
Rockies
Marlins
D'Backs
Rays

Of the 14, I guess I'd say the Blue Jays, Mets, and Astros have turned out the best, as a combination of on-the-field success and financial viability. The two Florida teams have just got worked out, and I still have not heard a compelling explanation for why MLB in Florida doesn't seem to work. Kansas City has had long stretches of groveling as a "woe is me, we are a small market", but in terms of the baseball culture, the richness of the history (particularly from the early 1970s through at least the mid-1980s), the longevity of their stadium, the devotion of their fan base, etc., the Royals have to be way up there as a success story. There aren't too many communities in the country that love their #1 sports star as much as Kansas City fans love George Brett.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 15, 2021 at 09:29 AM (#6039777)
Populous (formerly part of HOK) is based in Kansas City and I can't imagine any other firm getting the design contract. You think they wouldn't design something awesome? They did Camden Yards, Great American Ballpark, and (I think) Progressive Field, Coors Field, Target Stadium, and Nationals Park.

It's hard for the 20th iteration on the same theme to be considered "awesome".
   14. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: September 15, 2021 at 10:02 AM (#6039780)
After the A's move to Vegas, move the Royals to Oakland! Simple.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 15, 2021 at 10:09 AM (#6039781)
I visited Anaheim Stadium for the first time this summer and as a baseball-viewing place, it has held up pretty well. But it also has like zero modern amenities. There were few places to get anything other than a hot dog. That's fine for most people, but I can see why teams want the modern bells and whistles.

Kauffman has those things, the stadium looks great from the recent renovations. The only thing that sucks about Kauffman is the location - it's east of KC in a low density area that is easy to access for traffic, but has nothing around it. With all these owners making money on real estate developments around the stadium, Sherman likely wants the same thing. There is also something to be said about consolidating more economic activity around a stadium in the downtown loop - you can't really to that at the Truman Sports Complex because of the Chiefs and the topography of the area, plus it's not really where the population of the city is anymore.

I love downtown baseball and if KC were just now getting a team, the East Village site would be great (I also like #12's idea of a stadium that connects the Crossroads with the 18th and Vine/Negro League Museum area, but AFAIK that's not being proposed likely due to how difficult land assemblage would be). People in KC freak out about traffic and parking, but those concerns are overrated IMO. But Kauffman will be 57 when the lease is up, so its getting pretty close to "historic" status. It's a beautiful, functional stadium, I don't know why you'd want to tear it down.


After the A's move to Vegas, move the Royals to Oakland! Simple.


Let Sherman move the Royals to downtown KC, and move the Rays to Kauffman Stadium?
   16. Brian C Posted: September 15, 2021 at 10:23 AM (#6039782)
Populous (formerly part of HOK) is based in Kansas City and I can't imagine any other firm getting the design contract. You think they wouldn't design something awesome? They did Camden Yards, Great American Ballpark, and (I think) Progressive Field, Coors Field, Target Stadium, and Nationals Park.

Well aware, thanks, and I've been to all of those except Camden Yards. So that one aside, I think you're kind of proving my point - those stadiums are all nice, but which ones would you describe as "spectacular"? Progressive was an enormous upgrade at the time for Cleveland fans, no one would question that, but doesn't stand out at all among its peers today. GABP has a very similar pleasant-but-unspectacular vibe to Kauffman, actually. The other three are all ... not quite cookie-cutter exactly, but you go and say "oh, this is nice" and watch the game and that's that. Target at least looks more distinctive that the others on TV.

On the other hand, you left off HOK-designed PNC Park, which is truly spectacular, and Petco Park, which isn't quite as spectacular but (Camden perhaps aside) does beat the ones you named IMO.

At any rate, my point is simply that the new KC park would have a high bar to clear to be definitively better than Kauffman.
   17. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: September 15, 2021 at 10:25 AM (#6039785)
There was an interesting little nugget in Ken Rosenthal's podcast a few days ago. He believed that expansion to 32 teams would happen in the near future, but only after the Oakland and Tampa stadium situations were resolved. This was in response to a question about dissolving or re-arranging of leagues if the universal DH is put in place. I wonder if the KC situation would also affect that.
   18. Tony S Posted: September 15, 2021 at 10:54 AM (#6039792)
There was an interesting little nugget in Ken Rosenthal's podcast a few days ago. He believed that expansion to 32 teams would happen in the near future, but only after the Oakland and Tampa stadium situations were resolved. This was in response to a question about dissolving or re-arranging of leagues if the universal DH is put in place. I wonder if the KC situation would also affect that.


The leagues have effectively been conferences since interleague play started. The terms "American League" and "National League" retain historic significance, but they're essentially irrelevant to today's game. The final creep of the DH into the NL will finish it off.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 15, 2021 at 10:58 AM (#6039794)
I would put the chances of the Royals relocating at 1%. Sherman is a Kansas Citian, and is a pretty big civic guy. He's been a big downtown booster, which is part of why he wants the Royals there. I can't see him moving the team out of the metro, or even to the 'burbs.
   20. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: September 15, 2021 at 11:41 AM (#6039796)
I haven't been to Kauffman since ... 2005 or 2006? So before the big outfield remodel. But on my two trips there, both times it felt like a perfectly pleasant place to watch a baseball game. Surprisingly so, in fact. Nothing truly spectacular, of course, but then again, it's extremely difficult to believe that the Royals will manage to build a truly special or spectacular stadium in downtown KC.


This is exactly how I feel about it. I was there in 2004 and while I found the rest of the city somewhat gloomy (part of it was just the midwestern haze in late June), the stadium was great. The green grass and fountains in centerfield were wonderful in person. I was on a tour of baseball stadia at the time and it was probably my favorite of the ones we visited (San Diego, Arizona, Texas, Houston, St. Louis, Kansas City, Colorado, plus a few minor league spots).

I visited Anaheim Stadium for the first time this summer and as a baseball-viewing place, it has held up pretty well. But it also has like zero modern amenities. There were few places to get anything other than a hot dog. That's fine for most people, but I can see why teams want the modern bells and whistles.


The specialty food places are a COVID casualty. They normally have some different options - a couple different burger joints and taco/burrito stands, a couple barbecue places, a poke bowl spot, etc. But a lot of those stands got shut down last year and they haven't opened them back up, probably because they couldn't count on having a full stadium when the season began. I suspect they will reopen in the future. That said, even with those, there aren't many other bells and whistles. Other than the Disney-fied rock pile in centerfield, which is fine but not eye-catching in the same way the Kauffman fountains are, there isn't really anything to catch your attention as you walk around the ballpark. As a resident, that's not an issue since I'm there to watch the game. And it's a nice place to do that. But I can see not being overwhelmed by it.
   21. GregD Posted: September 15, 2021 at 12:06 PM (#6039799)
There was an interesting little nugget in Ken Rosenthal's podcast a few days ago. He believed that expansion to 32 teams would happen in the near future, but only after the Oakland and Tampa stadium situations were resolved. This was in response to a question about dissolving or re-arranging of leagues if the universal DH is put in place. I wonder if the KC situation would also affect that.


Yes the issue is that MLB can't get cities to bid until those cities know they won't get an existing team to move for less than the expansion bid price.

The other issue is that MLB has an incentive to prevent Oakland and Tampa from moving, as they don't want to knock 2 potential bidders for an expansion franchise out of the running before it starts. Especially since other owners don't benefit from a transfer but do benefit directly financially from an expansion bid.

Of course Oakland would be the most-obvious bidder on a new franchise and by far the best option, but to manage As departure plus new group putting together a bid with public support, you'd probably want to give a cooling off period to allow new people in town to build support, which would also delay the expansion process.
   22. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: September 15, 2021 at 12:06 PM (#6039800)
The leagues have effectively been conferences since interleague play started. The terms "American League" and "National League" retain historic significance, but they're essentially irrelevant to today's game. The final creep of the DH into the NL will finish it off.


Yes, and Rosenthal hypothesized that with two expansion teams, there would be a possible realignment into East/West rather than AL/NL.
   23. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 15, 2021 at 12:12 PM (#6039802)
One couple even invited me back up in the fall with the promise of taking me to a Chiefs game, telling me that Arrowhead was the greatest sports environment in the country. It was a claim that seemed at least plausible to me at the time and still does; KC people really love their Chiefs.


I've been to Arrowhead a number of times, once a Denver game when it was 10 degrees at game time, another playing the part of an obnoxious Patriots fan on Monday Night Football. It was great every time.
   24. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: September 15, 2021 at 12:53 PM (#6039810)
there would be a possible realignment into East/West rather than AL/NL.

There will be two conferences: one with the Yankees and Red Sox, the other with everybody else.
   25. GregD Posted: September 15, 2021 at 01:31 PM (#6039815)
Man the Dodgers can't get any respect...outspending everybody like $40 million and the Red Sox by $60 million
   26. Karl from NY Posted: September 15, 2021 at 03:34 PM (#6039835)
3) If you think of the 16 teams that have been added to MLB since the early 1960s, they have generally worked out pretty well, with a few exceptions:


Well, survivorship bias - you're overlooking the original situations of the Expos, second Senators, and Seattle Pilots. And it took multiple decades for the Blue Jays, Mariners, Padres, and Nationals to get to any sort of respectability.

I still have not heard a compelling explanation for why MLB in Florida doesn't seem to work.


There's no single compelling explanation, there's a lot of factors. Florida has loads of other activities available, with the ocean and theme parks and everything. Transplants don't have much of a local identity to care about local teams. Retirees may not care about sports at all. Neither stadium is a draw - even the new Marlins park is more of an amusing curiosity than any kind of actual destination. There's also the primacy of football to consider - ask anyone to name Florida sports teams and pretty much everyone would say the Dolphins and Buccaneers before MLB. (And for that matter, maybe also even the Heat and Magic.)

Both the Marlins and Rays seem to have a reputation as amateurish cheapskate organizations. Whether rightly or not, or whether Florida has some inherent cause, is hard to know or define. But once you're seen that way, it's really hard to turn it around, and so it becomes self-perpetuating.
   27. Karl from NY Posted: September 15, 2021 at 03:42 PM (#6039837)
And am I the only one who wouldn't be bothered by a realignment into East/West? Geography is both a more relevant and more practical way to establish subdivisions than being based on which business entity happened to make a deal in your city 120 or 60 years ago.

Of course that would mean universal DH, which is why I wouldn't vote for it now, but that ship is going to sail anyway and then they may as well realign.
   28. Tony S Posted: September 15, 2021 at 04:22 PM (#6039847)
I still have not heard a compelling explanation for why MLB in Florida doesn't seem to work.


The Marlins, at least, have been the most cynically run franchise in pro sports for most of their existence. Both times they won a World Series, the owner (first Huizenga, then Loria) tore apart the team when he didn't get the new stadium he wanted -- Huizenga immediately, Loria over a couple of years. Then under the Jeter ownership group, they gave away their biggest star just when the team was creeping back to respectability. It's understandable why they've had trouble building a fan base. Why would fans emotionally commit to a franchise that plays these kinds of games?

Tampa is harder to pin down. A bad stadium at an exceedingly inconvenient location is probably a big part of it, given that they've produced consistently competitive teams on the field.
   29. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: September 15, 2021 at 05:55 PM (#6039861)
Tampa is harder to pin down. A bad stadium at an exceedingly inconvenient location is probably a big part of it, given that they've produced consistently competitive teams on the field.

It seems like they could try playing some games over at Steinbrenner Field, awkward as that would be.
   30. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 15, 2021 at 06:21 PM (#6039864)

There will be two conferences: one with the Yankees and Red Sox, the other with everybody else.


You forgot the one with the Dodgers, which includes no competitors and a bye into the World Series.
   31. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 15, 2021 at 06:51 PM (#6039870)
And am I the only one who wouldn't be bothered by a realignment into East/West?
I wouldn’t lightly trifle with rivalries that go back more than a century. Teams would save a little on travel, and get some additional TV money for having more games in prime time, but is it enough to make geographic leagues worth it? Some teams are an obvious fit, but sorting out divisions in each league would probably leave some unhappy. Any Central Time Zone team stuck in the western league will claim they’re getting a raw deal. The other problem is the lack of two credible expansion locations, much less two that would work well geographically. I’m skeptical we’ll see anything like this soon.
   32. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 15, 2021 at 07:40 PM (#6039877)
I wouldn’t lightly trifle with rivalries that go back more than a century. Teams would save a little on travel, and get some additional TV money for having more games in prime time, but is it enough to make geographic leagues worth it?

As with most changes, I would be opposed to geographic realignment on principle but in terms of rivalries, are there really any that would transcend an East/West division? Yankees/Sox in the east, Dodgers/Giants in the west, Cubs/Cardinals either way as long as they're together. Am I missing any?
   33. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: September 15, 2021 at 10:37 PM (#6039912)
I was only at ballpark pre renovation but was there for Turf Kauffman and now grass Kauffman. That's the only renovation I needed. I like the park at. I also enjoyed Arrowhead (college game). We, being Milwaukeans did tailgate for the Royals game. Shame not many others do so. The giant parking lot just says tailgate here please.
   34. cardsfanboy Posted: September 15, 2021 at 10:58 PM (#6039921)
As with most changes, I would be opposed to geographic realignment on principle but in terms of rivalries, are there really any that would transcend an East/West division? Yankees/Sox in the east, Dodgers/Giants in the west, Cubs/Cardinals either way as long as they're together. Am I missing any?


not really, any recent rivalries have been created by competitiveness, but it's not long lasting and add on top of that most recent rival creations still are geographic based... Cubs/Brewers Brewers/Cardinals... Phils/Mets Nats/Mets/Phils etc...

rivalries really do happen a lot based upon geographic locations combined with competitivess.

I mean historically there is a "small" rivalry between the Cardinals and Dodgers but it has no real bearing on anything going forward, it's just two successful franchises who have seen the other a lot in important series or even seasons. Without the geographic component though, it loses a bit of luster. For a rivalry to happen, you really need a geographic component.
   35. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: September 15, 2021 at 11:02 PM (#6039922)
There really is not a damn thing around Kauffman Stadium, unless you count highway interchanges and a Denny's (I actually don't know if the Denny's is even still there -- it's been a while). It would be tempting to do what the Cardinals did with Busch and basically just re-create the stadium (which everyone likes) in a downtown location.
   36. Jay Seaver Posted: September 15, 2021 at 11:29 PM (#6039925)
And am I the only one who wouldn't be bothered by a realignment into East/West?


I suspect that once you erase the last difference between the AL and NL, people would get used to it fairly soon, although there's a part of me that feels like there would be benefits to strengthening the leagues' identities - give people a reason to have both an AL and NL team, or even to someday add an NL team to Boston or an AL team to Colorado (for example) without necessarily diluting existing fanbases. But that ship has probably sailed, and given how silly it seems that we'll see a player's stats reset when they're traded between leagues but not within one, it will probably make sense.

Unless there's a lot of expansion, though, those two leagues would still wind up "Eastern Daylight Time"/"Not Eastern Daylight Time", and maybe that's okay, although I wonder if the travel will introduce lots of weird inequities, in terms of how the former would have much shorter trips and more convenient start times for watching away games while the latter has generally nicer weather so less chaos.

Tampa is harder to pin down. A bad stadium at an exceedingly inconvenient location is probably a big part of it, given that they've produced consistently competitive teams on the field.


Instinctively, it feels like it would be so much harder to get attached to the team if you can't get attached to the players, but it seems really hard to test for that. Giants/A's is the closest you can get to a good experiment, but there's problems with that.
   37. DL from MN Posted: September 16, 2021 at 09:32 AM (#6039947)
give people a reason to have both an AL and NL team


I can't imagine the Cubs and White Sox would be thrilled with geographic alignment. Two team cities wouldn't work in the long run.
   38. BDC Posted: September 16, 2021 at 10:10 AM (#6039950)
rivalries really do happen a lot based upon geographic locations combined with competitiveness

Yes, and another factor comes to mind: imbalanced schedules. If you have a 16-team league and you play each league team 8-9 times plus interleague, there's not much rivalry in the rivalries. (Which probably wouldn't happen, but that's why it wouldn't). The AL in its 14-team era, for a while, eg, played 13 games intradivision and 12 interdivision. Not a huge problem, but more games against local and divisional rivals would have been preferable.

The current set-up where you play division rivals 19 times and no other team more than seven (I think that's how it works?) … has its drawbacks too (for a Ranger fan, too many games are on the West Coast two time-zones away). But it certainly familiarizes you with your team's direct competitors for the division title.

Geography is important too, though, so that people have some chance of seeing their team on the road. Though as to that ... I have seen the Rangers play in KC, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Boston, and St. Petersburg – but never in Houston. Maybe here in flyover country a "nearby" road city is too far for a casual trip and too familiar for a dedicated baseball vacation.
   39. SoSH U at work Posted: September 16, 2021 at 10:56 AM (#6039957)
If you have a 16-team league and you play each league team 8-9 times plus interleague, there's not much rivalry in the rivalries.


I imagine it would be broken down into two eight-team divisions (with no expansion out west, the Pacific and Mountain teams would occupy one division. If Portland gets a team, Colorado would presumably join some Central Time Zone teams), with a similar breakdown of intradivision and interdivision games we have now. Also, I suspect, the current Central Time Zone teams would fill out the other half of that "league," with maybe one or more CDT team moving east, depending on who got the expansion call.

Under this set up, from travel-reduction and game-watching standpoints, it would be beneficial to most teams except the current Central Time Zone teams not in Texas, as those six teams would have more games out west than they do now.

From a rivalry standpoint, I think Cincinnati would be hurt the most, as it would lose St. Louis and Chicago while it doesn't have any historic rivalries with anyone out east* except its interleague one with Cleveland and more recent one with Pittsburgh. The Pirates spent many years in the NL East, so they have a little more history there.

* They were in the same division with Atlanta for decades, but the two clubs never seemed to be good at the same time, so I don't recall much in the way of history other than Gene Garber punching out Pete to end the 44-game streak.
   40. villageidiom Posted: September 16, 2021 at 12:11 PM (#6039967)
And am I the only one who wouldn't be bothered by a realignment into East/West?
I'd rather see a realignment into north/south.

Like, if you do east/west, then your West teams are: Seattle, 5 CA teams, Arizona, Colorado, 2 TX teams, 2 MO teams, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Cubs, expansion team in Portland. And East is: Boston, 2 NY teams, Toronto, Baltimore, DC, Atlanta, 2 FL teams, 2 PA teams, 2 OH teams, Detroit, White Sox, expansion team in Montreal.

To me the travel in the West is ludicrously worse than the travel in the East. The worst travel in the east would be, what, Montreal/Miami? That's 1400 miles. For either the Brewers or the Cubs - just picking two teams at one extreme - half the teams in the West are father away than that (the Diamondbacks just barely, everyone else significantly). Other than the Rockies everyone is near the far geographic end of their league boundary. From a rooting view, all but one team in the East is in the same time zone, while there are three time zones in the West. While my rooting interest is in the east, and all of that works great for me, it seems like an unfair distribution to the teams and the fans in the west.

If you did north/south, then the south would be: 5 CA teams, Arizona, Colorado, 2 TX teams, 2 MO teams, 2 FL teams, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and DC. The north teams would be Seattle, Portland, Minnesota, Milwaukee, 2 Chicago teams, Detroit, Cleveland, 2 PA teams, Baltimore, 2 NY teams, Boston, Toronto, and Montreal. Every league has 4 time zones; every league has some travel pain. If you want to draw the line a little different - say, Cincinnati in the north, Baltimore in the south - it wouldn't be that hard to do. If you want to expand elsewhere in the south (Charlotte or San Antonio) instead of putting 2 expansion teams in the north, and then redraw the line, fine by me. The big disadvantage of this alignment is it breaks up Cubs/Cardinals; but it gains Cubs/White Sox. Speaking of which...
I can't imagine the Cubs and White Sox would be thrilled with geographic alignment. Two team cities wouldn't work in the long run.
SURE they would. Like, Cubs/White Sox have coexisted for over 100 years, and their fans already have a rivalry. The only differences under geographic alignment would be they play against each other more than they do now, and they would never meet in the World Series. The former is a win for everyone in either fan base, and the latter is a win for everyone in America.

One might argue one of the teams will relocate because they can't handle sharing a city with another team in the same league. And, like, the only time two teams in the same league were in the same city were the NY Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers - and they left for San Francisco and Los Angeles. When unbaseballed markets of that size are available, sure. Otherwise, it's hard to argue that the Cubs or White Sox can't coexist in the same market in the same league.
   41. Karl from NY Posted: September 16, 2021 at 12:13 PM (#6039968)
I can't imagine the Cubs and White Sox would be thrilled with geographic alignment. Two team cities wouldn't work in the long run.

Why not? Multiple teams in the same division share cities just fine in the NBA and NHL. Islanders-Rangers games are always the most intense and best attended for both teams.

And for #40: Every league with east/west geographical divisions has more travel in the west. The Seahawks routinely complain about this. But what are they going to do? The cities are just farther apart. If they want to be closer, then move to Utah or Fresno.

Thinking farther outside the box: I'd like to see some geographical realignment where every WS matchup is possible. How about six geographical divisions plus four wild cards, and seed everybody 1-6 and 7-10 for the playoff bracket?
   42. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 16, 2021 at 12:19 PM (#6039969)
rivalries really do happen a lot based upon geographic locations combined with competitiveness.

I don't think it's possible to form new true rivalries in the Wild Card era. The structure of the playoffs virtually guarantees MLB won't have great teams meeting in high-stakes games year after year any more, geography or no geography. Playoffs are too random now to count on the same teams meeting in an LCS or World Series repeatedly, and no one cares enough to get too worked up about the race to be the 5th best team in the league even if it did happen between the same teams regularly, which it won't.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: September 16, 2021 at 12:34 PM (#6039971)
The north teams would be Seattle, Portland, Minnesota, Milwaukee, 2 Chicago teams, Detroit, Cleveland, 2 PA teams, Baltimore, 2 NY teams, Boston, Toronto, and Montreal.


Just in case Seattle thinks they have it bad now.

Would the teams play an equal number of games against all division opponents? If so, then yes, the east-west divide would be pretty bad for the CDT teams (compared with what they have now). But if the schedule is handled imore like we have now, with more games against the seven division foes, then it's still worse for them, but I don't think it's enough so to make travel much worse for everybody.
   44. bunyon Posted: September 16, 2021 at 12:35 PM (#6039972)
I love these discussions and dearly wish one of us was lord god commissioner of MLB.

Anyway, I typed this up a while back for no reason. I like that we already have 8 western teams. The midwest gets messy and I'm putting my two expansion teams east of the Mississippi.

I would prefer to do it this way and just go straight to a four team playoff. But that's not very likely (as opposed to the other daydreaming).

East
New York
New York
Boston
Philadelphia
Montreal*
Toronto
Baltimore
Washington

Midwest
Detroit
Cleveland
Pittsburgh
Chicago
Chicago
St. Louis
Minnesota
Milwaukee

South
Cincinnati
Atlanta
Miami
Tampa
Houston
Texas
Kansas City
Nashville/Charlotte/Expansion*

West
Colorado
Arizona
Seattle
Oakland
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
San Francisco
San Diego

Schedule
157 games
Division: 7x19 = 133 games
Interdivision opponents rotate: Year 1, E/W & S/M. Year 2, E/S & W/M. Year 3, E/M & W/S. Repeat. 8x3 interdivision games = 24 games


Playoffs
Wild cards: Division 2nd hosts Division 3rd for best 2 of 3 to advance to first round (2/3 tiebreaker head to head then run differential; tie for 3rd: one game playoff, HFA coinflip)
First round: Division champ hosts wild card of interdivision opponent for best of 7
Second Round: Best of 7 with travel, seeded 1-4 by record, seeds 1 and 2 have HFA.
World Series: Best of 7 with travel, best record has HFA.

   45. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: September 16, 2021 at 12:57 PM (#6039977)
* They were in the same division with Atlanta for decades, but the two clubs never seemed to be good at the same time, so I don't recall much in the way of history other than Gene Garber punching out Pete to end the 44-game streak.

Yeah, in the divisional era their peaks didn't seem to coincide. Though last year the Braves shut out the Reds in the playoffs (literally, as in the Reds didn't score any runs in two games, one of which went 13 innings), and they swept the Reds in the '95 NLCS as well.

Cincinnati is a floater market that could fit in a midwestern, southern, or even an eastern division. I'd prefer to see them in the Midwest division in the format in [44], but all of those other teams make sense there too.
   46. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 16, 2021 at 01:17 PM (#6039980)
I imagine it would be broken down into two eight-team divisions
Oh, that ship sailed long ago. No team wants to finish 8th, and the desire for expanded playoffs will lead to 16-team leagues with 4-team divisions, if MLB can ever get to 32 teams.
I'd rather see a realignment into north/south.
A north-south alignment doesn’t do anything about getting more road games in the prime time TV window. That, not travel, is the driving force for a geographic alignment, IMHO.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: September 16, 2021 at 01:22 PM (#6039982)
Oh, that ship sailed long ago. No team wants to finish 8th, and the desire for expanded playoffs will lead to 16-team leagues with 4-team divisions, if MLB can ever get to 32 teams.


For the purposes of the conversation, I don't think it matters much. You would still configure the schedule so you play more games against the teams in your division and the closer 4-team division (so the Dodgers get a lot more games against the Rockies than the Cubs). Otherwise, the geographic split wouldn't help very much.
   48. DL from MN Posted: September 16, 2021 at 01:50 PM (#6039991)
South
Cincinnati
Atlanta
Miami
Tampa
Houston
Texas
Kansas City
Nashville/Charlotte/Expansion*


San Antonio also works well as an expansion team in this scenario.

I agree that the West Coast teams need to play each other to keep as many games in primetime as possible for television.

157 games
Division: 7x19 = 133 games


How about 7 x 18 = 126 games plus the 24 outside the division for a 150 game schedule?
   49. villageidiom Posted: September 16, 2021 at 02:00 PM (#6039992)
Just in case Seattle thinks they have it bad now.
I mean, they're screwed no matter what. At least I gave them Portland to ease their burden.
   50. bunyon Posted: September 16, 2021 at 02:03 PM (#6039994)
Seattle and Miami should be division rivals. Maybe with Boston and San Diego. The corner division.
   51. Karl from NY Posted: September 16, 2021 at 02:36 PM (#6039998)
Bunyon, I really like your arrangement, the geography breaks down really nicely. Interesting that Cincinnati is South despite being north of St Louis (Midwest), but I think that's correct for the character of the cities.

It would come at the expense of Montreal, but if we expand somewhere else, we could get even better arrangements: that leaves a space in the east for Pittsburgh, and a space in the midwest for Cincinnati, and so the Ohio and Pennsylvania pairs would each have natural rivalries within a division.

That expansion could be both Nashville and Charlotte or maybe New Orleans into the South. Or Portland or Vegas in the west to slide Colorado to the midwest; I think they wouldn't mind playing road games an hour earlier instead of an hour later.
   52. donlock Posted: September 16, 2021 at 09:07 PM (#6040031)
Can’t see there being enough players, particularly pitchers, to support two or four new teams. Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Arizona, KC others can’t find the players to compete over the last 3-4 years. Some of this last group may succeed but it may be a 5 year plan. And, of course, the current weak teams will still be there to compete with the new expansion cities.
   53. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 16, 2021 at 10:44 PM (#6040044)
Progressive was an enormous upgrade at the time for Cleveland fans,


I am not a fan of bowing to corporate names at the best of times, but corporate retconning ('we have always been at war with Eastasia') is the worst. At the time, Progressive was not an enormous upgrade for Cleveland fans because they weren't going to any stadium by that name. They were going to Jacobs Field.
   54. bunyon Posted: September 17, 2021 at 08:44 AM (#6040054)
Karl: yeah, Cincy is the square peg in that arrangement. I sort of ended up not worried about a borderline team just going somewhere.

Donlock: it’s all fanciful of course. But I don’t think two more terrible teams is significantly worse than we have now. The bad teams are bad for lots of reasons. Certainly the next 100 players would be a little worse than the current worst 100 but there is already enormous up and down flux.

It is a problem that’s going to get worse, though, with the scaled back minor leagues.

If - and I emphasize this isn’t happening- they adopted something like the above, you’d have to have 32 instead of 30.

DL: that would work and probably be preferable to TV and players. But I like more games.
   55. DL from MN Posted: September 17, 2021 at 09:49 AM (#6040061)
Can’t see there being enough players, particularly pitchers


There are more players throwing fastballs in the upper 90s than at any previous point in baseball history. Strikeout rates are at all-time highs. The pitching isn't a problem.
   56. bunyon Posted: September 17, 2021 at 12:20 PM (#6040105)
Is it really true that owners don't want to finish "7th" or "8th"? I mean, 60-102 and last is 60-102 and last. I don't think fans think in ordinal numbers as much as first and last. Four divisions instead of eight is half as many last place teams.
   57. Jay Seaver Posted: September 17, 2021 at 12:50 PM (#6040111)
I imagine 7th/8th is more discouraging to fans than 4th, even at the same record - the team doesn't just have to get better, it has to get better than 5 or 6 other guys to be competitive. The Orioles probably aren't better off in a division with just the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays than one that also includes the Mets, Braves, Phillies, and Nationals, but it must feel like that's a tougher mountain to climb, even if the goal of getting from 100 losses to 100 wins and the way you do it is the same. It may not be a more difficult task, but it's probably a tougher sell.
   58. geonose Posted: September 18, 2021 at 12:05 AM (#6040235)
Kansas City is also north of St. Louis, if we want to split hairs.

Neither KC nor Cincy scream South Division to me, but I guess everybody has to land somewhere. Plus it's probably sacrilege to split the Cards and the Cubs.

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