If Baseball had Relegation.
Posted by americandust on August 12, 2009
In all other sports leagues around the world, the leagues punish their worst franchises by relegating them at the end of the season (dropping them to the league immediately below them). The relegated team is replaced by the promoted team(s) from the league below them. If only American sports leagues did this. Think of the benifits, the least of which is that there are actual meaningful games for the teams at the bottom of the league at the end of the season. Finish too low and you’re out. This means no LA Clipper’s style of paying your players nothing, winning nothing, but still bringing in the crowds and making cash because fans want to see the away team’s players. Do that one year and you’re probably going to be playing in the second tier soon.
So what I’ve done and went back and pretended that Major League Baseball had put in a promotion/relegation system in place following the 2006 MLB Season. The way it would have worked is that the worst AL team and the worst NL team were relegated and replaced by the two teams that playerd in the AAA world series or championship. The champion AAA team got to go to the MLB League that did NOT win the World Series. I even tried to put the teams into places that would make geographic sense whenever possible. Most times the newly promoted team took a spot in the division (East, Central, West) where the team was relegated from, but not always (The AL West has fewer teams then the other two divisions currently so I could place a new team there).
Now, this is not perfect. I have no way of knowing whether a newly promoted AAA team (which could add MLB players through free agency or trades, or players on the relegated team that want to stay in the Majors) could be better then the worst team in MLB that next season. It’s more fun to pretend that no team that was promoted would be relegated the next season and that no team relegated would be promoted back into the league after winning the AAA the next year. In all honestly, in leagues throughout the world there ARE teams that yo-you back and forth between the leagues, but we will pretend theree wouldn’t be in baseball for some reason.
So, what would Baseball be like today if we had put relegation/promotion into place in 2006?
I give you your MLB divisions
Scranton/Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania Yankees
LA Angels of Anehiem
Tucson Arizona Sidewinders
2006 Tampa Bay and Chicago Cubs!
2007 Baltimore (which lost a tiebreaker to Kansas City) and Pittsburg
2008 Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals
Interesting notes, Since Tampa Bay was relegated in they weren’t around to win the AL in 2008 so the Red Sox would have probably made it back to the World Series (and Fox would have rejoiced at the better ratings).
Notice that there are now two teams called Yankees and two Braves in the league.
Wouldn’t baseball fans in general be happy to see perinial suck-teams like the Pirates and Nationals replaced? But wouldn’t it be a major disaster for everyone if the Cubs were relegated? Imagine sports writers field day with that one (if you want to compare it to something, check out English writer’s response when Newcastle United got relegated last year in English Soccer).
Wouldn’t a Sacramento-LA rivalry be nice for baseball like it is in the NBA? What about Arizona Diamondbacks versus Tucson Sidewinders? Cleveland versus Toledo in interleague play would be fun, as would Cincy versus Toledo in the division.While Pennsylvania would have lost the Pittsburg Pirates their fans could turn to the Scranton team.
If only American leagues had relegation you’d have a reason to cheer on your local minor league teams (Louisville Bats, Nashville Sounds, etc) as they could one day be in the majors and hosting the big boys (it’d be nice to only drive two hours to root against the Yankees, wouldn’t it?). Don’t forget, then teams in the third division would be coming into the second division, heck maybe one day they’d get to the majors.