The rank of baseball purists seems to be dwindling with each passing year as every institution seems to be adopting the plea used by AT&T, I believe, as their motto: “Rethink Possible.” The postseason used to be about the best clubs each league had to offer squaring off against each other, but now it is merely a contest of teams hot at the right time. This postseason, like the last few, is not populated with the best teams of each league as the St. Louis Cardinals, who backed their way into the World Series last year as the Wild Card team in the National League have done it again–only this time they needed a second doggone Wild Card to secure a place in postseason play. As a baseball purist I feel the postseason has lost much credibility with the advent of wild cards, but as a human possessing the capacity for reason, I fully understand that once change is adopted, it is damn difficult returning to previous days. What I propose, which will be detailed in the following paragraphs, is a realignment of baseball (let us not forget that realignment is taking place next year regardless) which, although not a return to the game’s elder days, hearkens back to a time when teams were judged on sustained excellence and not pockets thereof.
My realignment proposal begins with a return to the two division standpoint. Gone are the central divisions, thus negating a postseason wild card. The divisions would be as follows:
AL East: Blue Jays, Indians, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, Tigers, White Sox and Yankees
AL West: Angels, Astros, Athletics, Mariners, Rangers, Royals and Twins
* The Houston Astros are moving to the AL West this coming season
NL East: Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Pirates and Reds
NL West: Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Padres and Rockies
With the two division platform for each league, the Division Series will be abolished under this proposal, which leaves the League Championship Series, engaged between the leaders of each division and the World Series, participated by the winner of the LCS, as the main aspect of postseason play. The reason I wrote main aspect is because the final proposal I have will shy away from my baseball purist mentality and massage the needs of those who require change. In order to appease those gluttons for change who enjoy the March Madness mindset of college basketball, my final proposal is a winner-take-all tournament that will employ every team that failed to reach the four-team postseason. This way, every baseball fan, regardless if his team stinks or not, will have something to root for in October. The tournament will take place during the regular postseason play but will not be aired prime time, because the LCS and World Series will be allotted that time slot. The tournament could be a one-loss-and-you’re-out affair or a lengthy tournament that spans the range of the LCS and World Series–which could be best of seven or best of nine series. Either way, the integrity of the postseason isn’t compromised, since the best teams of each division will be engaged in the traditional postseason while the teams that failed to cop a flag will join the tournament.
I’d like to hear your views on this change–whether it’s too radical for baseball or not–and the changes you would propose to make the postseason a more legitimate affair. Certainly I am not the only person tired of teams with inferior records participating late in the postseason while the team’s that accumulated more wins are pushed out of the postseason because Lady Luck cares not for their team’s colors.