Major League Baseball Mulling Realignment
What’s old could become new again for Major League Baseball.
Sources say Major League Baseball and the players’ association have talked about realigning both the National League and the American League.
Under the proposed plan, each league would scrap the current divisions, choosing instead to have two 15 league teams. Presently, the American League features 14 teams, while 16 make up the National League.
Major League Baseball worked under the umbrella of two leagues with no divisions prior to the 1969 season. Each league was then separated into an east and west division. That stayed in place until the 1994 season when a central division was added.
The players’ union is reportedly interested in a pair of leagues with 15 teams, but more details need to be fleshed out. Owners would need to discuss the plan, as well.
One obstacle in realignment is interleague play. Because there would be an odd number of teams in each league, teams in the heat of the pennant race may potentially have to play interleague games in the final weeks of the season.
Currently, the three division winners, plus the team with the next best record makes the playoffs. Under the new system, the top five teams in each league would qualify for postseason play.
There’s also the issue of what team would jump from the National to the American League. Sources say the Houston Astros are being mentioned, since the move would create a more intense rivalry with the Texas Rangers. The Florida Marlins are also a possibility.
No team has jumped leagues since the Milwaukee Brewers moved to the National League beginning the 1998 season.