Realignment Deja Vu: Haven’t I Heard This Argument Somewhere Before?

When I started college, Occidental had just concluded the grand but brief scheduling experiment known as trimesters, basically a tweaked quarter system still in use at some schools. Mine was the first class to start under the “return to semesters” schedule. The reasons given for the switch were, as is typical in these situations, either the exact same reasons given for the initial switch to trimesters or arguments once used against semesters now touted as virtues. With typical Oxy snark, upperclassmen made t-shirts to illustrate this phenomena in hilarious fashion with a chart depicting the arguments for trimesters on one side, culled from the letters sent to siblings and acquaintances on campus during the time of that switch, and the arguments for semesters on the other side, culled from the letter they received prior to the switch. If I felt like digging deeply enough in the back of our dresser, I would probably find that my husband still has his t-shirt! Anyway, for some odd reason I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week. *glares daggers at Bud Selig* I wonder why?

I do not like the impending realignment. Do. Not. Like. I do not think it will ruin baseball or anything drastic like that. I am still going watch easily 150 or so of the Angels’ 162 games plus a number of other random games every season and I will still enjoy them. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s abysmally stupid to have argued passionately in favor of one thing only to switch the argument on its ear not 15 years later. To wit, ‘We must put up with the small inconvenience of unequal divisions in order to avoid the unimaginable horrors of Interleague play nearly every day and other scheduling nightmares that would occur from having two 15 team leagues!’ becomes ‘We must switch to two 15 team leagues and put up with the small inconvenience of expanded Interleague play nearly every day in order to avoid the unimaginable horrors of unequal divisions.’

It’s not the 15 teams in each league I object to so much, that at least fixes the stupidity having four teams in the AL West and six in the NL Central, it’s the expanded Interleague play (in addition to the revisionist history arguing style going on here). Look, I may be one of the few folks in the blogosphere that actually enjoys Interleague play, but even I would prefer to see it less often and certainly don’t want to see it several times a week, all season long. If we can’t fix the AL West/NL Central situation by adding two completely new teams to the AL – my personal little pipe dream that’s never going to happen – I would rather fix the scheduling difficulties that come from two odd numbered leagues by capitalizing on that other “scheduling nightmare” that Selig adamantly didn’t want all the way back in the late 90s: double headers.

Think about it. Interleague play can remain intact and unexpanded in the middle of the season, thus eating up a few of the near daily odd-man-out in each league situations while scheduling several four-game series with planned single admission double headers for every team can eat up the rest. I know that the players union hates double headers, but if MLB wants something that will solve scheduling woes and really attract fans, double headers are the way to go. A single admission double header brought numbers that could actually be deemed crowds rather than a mere crowd to the Coliseum last season. I saw it with my very own eyes. Now that’s power!

And as for the rest? An additional Wild Card in each league? I didn’t like the first Wild Card additions, but it grew on me. I don’t really like this one either. I guess I’m a curmudgeon before my time when it comes to change in baseball. But if adding an additional Wild Card race makes the end of the next season half as entertaining as the end of this one, it might grow on me too. The Astros making the switch from the NL Central to the AL West? Meh. Returning the Brewers to the AL and switching one of the AL Central teams to the West might have made more sense, given that it would simply be undoing that which was already done. However, I think that wouud require Mr. Selig to admit he is reversing his argument completely and, much like my college administration, I think he’s trying to avoid that as much as possible. Hmmm…do I still know anyone with access to a silk screen press?

And while I am already waxing Suess-ical with all of these do not likes, I do not like Jerry Dipoto’s reported “serious interest” in C.J. Wilson. Not in a box, not with a fox. Not over twitter, not with a dash of bitters. I do not like it. Not one bit. Overpaying free agents may be the new black, but if the Angels are going to grossly overpay a free agent, how about one that swings a bat for power…and, call me crazy, actually makes contact resulting in something other than an out(s) on a regular basis.

4 Comments

Selig, from my viewpoint is the Emperor. A true fiend. Placing the Astros in the A.L West makes me want to be sick. His beloved Brewers should be making the return to the A.L and he knows it. Furthermore, two wild card teams with a one game playoff is a knee jerk reaction to his Brewers taking a dirt nap to the Cards this year. He has to be one of the most self serving commissioners of all time. As an Athletics fan I am simply mortified that the Astros will be in the A.L West. Not because I think they are good or a threat.
The Athletics franchise is under serious consequence if some deal cant be reached to procure a new stadium near Oakland and this situation has been this way for a long time with NOTHING done on Seligs part. The Astros realignment is what I believe to be the first step to either doing away with the Athletics franchise, or moving/changing it completely. His do nothing approach to help the A’s franchise says it all.
I really do hope I’m wrong but my gut says I am not.

Getting rid of the A’s seems unlikely InvariablyBaseball, unless there is a corresponding plot to get rid of an NL team too and then we’d be right back to uneven divisions anyway. I agree that doing nothing to fix the stadum situation is crappy…though I have to say, I had a blast visiting the Coliseum earlier this season and hope to do it again next season, not that I wouldn’t visit a new stadium too. Anyway, this is one situation where I hope you are wrong. It would be sad to lose any of the teams, and especially sad to lose a fun rival.

>– Kristen

I have been a baseball purist for a long time, but I am beginning to loosen my grip on tradition. The only way this really works is if both leagues adopt the same rules (DH) and go to a NFL/NBA type scheduling where everybody plays everybody in their division a bunch of times, everybody in their league and then alternate each year with division v. division matchups (i.e. AL West v. NL Central, etc). The mystique of interleauge died with the internet boom. I can see the Yankees play every day of my life if I want. Same with the Royals. Or Phillies. Or… ANY TEAM. It’s not a big deal anymore so they should stop treating it as such. The realignment had to happen so I would stop complaining about how my team automatically has less of a chance to make the playoffs every year than any one of the four AL West teams, before games have even been played.
–Jeff

Well Jeff I would have thought that winning the World Series would put an end to your whining of that sort, for a few seasons at least. ;) All joking aside, that’s why I do not object to the fifteen teams in each league so much. Having only 4 in the AL West was silly, etc. It’s the Interleague all the time that I object to. I think there are other ways of dealing with it, double headers and such, that owuld be more fun for the fans and more nostalgic. I disagree that the mystique is dead. Yes, you can watch your favorite players in the opposite league play on the internet any time, but can you watch them play your favorite players on your team any time? And I actually like the DH. It extends the careers of great players like Vladdy and Thome (you know, except when the Phillies sign him. Weird!) whom we will all miss when they retire.

– Kristen

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