Thursday, February 4, 2010

Realignment of divisions or..... reassigment of career?

Originally posted on ESPN Page 2- follow the direct link to the story here
In the article linked above, David Shoenfield talks about his idea for realigning the AL divisions every year in a "lottery" in which a "face" from each team (except for 3 of the AL West teams, and the Yankees and Red Sox) would come and draw what division they would play in every year. Most of the Western division would stay due to "location" (please commence eye rolling now) and the Red Sox and Yankees would stay in the East due to being more of "national" teams.
The last part of thearticle seems odd to me. No, not the: "It's time for the sport to think outside the box," but the: "David Shoenfield is a senior editor for"


How is this guy a senior editor for the largest and most popular sports broadcasting collarborative in the history of American Sports?

And what is he smoking?

He seems to think this is a great idea, and as I'm reading the article I'm sitting there to myself saying "This guy can't be serious... he just CANT be serious."

Here's 5 reasons why realignment every year of the divisions will never work and is moronic:

1) It increases travel espenses.

Every season teams in the MLB play in a sepecifically set up division partially to allow for easier and cheaper travel. Major league ballplayers require not only good amounts of rest and relaxation (especially pitchers), but ease from point A to point B durring their traveling. If we realigned the Divisions the way he wanted to, then instead of playing 6 series against Cleveland every year, for example, the White Sox would be playing in 2010 6 series against the Seattle Mariners. Instead of a first month spent mostly in the central against their division opponents in neighboring states, the White Sox would spend the month of April a little like this (home games are denoted in bold):

4/5- Mariners
4/6- Off
4/7- Mariners
4/9- Angels
4/12- Blue Jays
4/13- Blue Jays
4/14-Blue Jays
4/15- Blue Jays
4/16- Mariners
4/20-TB Rays
4/21-TB Rays
4/22-TB Rays
4/23- Orioles

Notice how based on Schoenfield's realignment system the White Sox would be playing teams from either side of the country at home, and spend the rest of the time on the West Coast, then off to the East Coast. Jet-lag much? What about the starting rotation? With these guys jumping from coast to coast so much, the team is going to have incur even more expenses sending the next-day's starting pitcher ahead of the rest of the team to make the coastal jump in order to get rest before his start.

Way to cut back on all that unnecessary spending there, Schoenfield......

2) Not everyone cares that much about the Yankees and Red Sox.

This guy acts like we all sit and drool over what Theo Epstien's next off season move will be, and blare "Empire State of Mind" in the showers, dreaming of the glitz and glam of the big New York City lights of Yankee Stadium.

Give me a break. Since the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 ESPN has shoved that team so far down our throats that we'd spit up red and white if we tried to swallow. Then start prouncing Harvard "Ha-vahd" and buy our children little Wally the Green Monster dolls to sleep with. I thank God every day for MLB Network because it's a rare occassion that I turn on ESPN to watch Baseball Tonight when I can easily get an unbiased well-rounded commentary on The Hot Stove.

But to posistion New York and Boston so that they are constantly in the East is the most ignorant part of this idea yet. What? So that Kansas City can play in the East and lose even more? That's not exactly how to increase the fairness of the playing field, is it? I'm not sure what difference I see when you compare to the win/loss record for Kansas and Baltimore-(The Orioles finished 64-98 while Kansas City smoked them at 65-97.....) it's replacing crap with crap. The only problem I can see is that poor Grienki, who won the American League Cy Young this year, would be paired up against the Red Sox and Yankees more often, most likely incurring less wins and therefore decreasing his trade-value.

Again, another STELLER idea, Schoenfield.

3) Changing the alignment of divisions won't increase a losing team's winning chances.

The Yankees don't win the world series every year but the Pittsburg Pirates do come in last place divisionally every year.

Let's put it this way. Since 2002, the Pirates have come in dead last place 4 times. When they haven't come in last they've come in 2nd to last. The one time they came in 3rd they finished 24.5 games back. The Kansas City Royals also came in last 5 times since 2002 in the AL Central.

How is putting the Royals in the AL East or the AL West going to help their chances? Maybe it will keep the team on their toes a little bit but whether they're losing to the Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox or New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, the fact remains- they're losing.

Perhaps if MLB was doing something like increasing Wild Card posistions the teams would have a better chance of winning the world series, but what's the point of fighting for the division title if there's going to be 6 Wild Card posistions? In my opinion that not only discourages teams from productive playing and hard work, but encourages mediocrity.

4) We need to focus on fixing the "fixes" before MLB moves onto another gimmick.

Two Words: Revenue Sharing.

The problems with revenue sharing lay in the complexities and loopholes that allow teams to get out of directly contributing to the revenue poll. The Yankee's building their new stadium allowed them to get out of contributing 100% of the funds they were supposed to. However, with the past acts of the Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays I'd try and get out of contributing roughly 1/3rd of the $300 mil contributed to the revenue pool as well.

Perhaps if Selig had specified that the money that goes into the revenue poll was to be used directly for player payroll, teams wouldn't be trying to get out of paying into the pool. However, in another show of how he loves to do things half-way, Selig and the Blue Ribbion Panel only said that the money was to go to "increasing player productivity on the field," leaving the outcome of the $30 million dollar checks the lower market teams recieved open to interpruation.

The Whole out-of-box idea of Schoenfield's is to increase competitiveness, and if the revenue sharing plan were fixed, it would work to do that better than his moronic idea. The Rockies and Royals are known for investing all of their revenue checks into player payroll.

The player's union would never agree to a salary cap, so entertaining the thought is worthless. If revenue sharing were played out the way it's supposed to be then the teams who go over on their payroll, and know there is a luxuary tax, invest the % (it originally was 40% and is teetering around 31% currecently) of revenue to the smaller market teams. Smaller market teams would invest the $20-$30 mil back into their player's payroll, signing a few big names, and increasing competitive balance.

Schoenfield should write an intelligent article about that before he goes blasting off about ridiculous realignment strategies.

5) This is just a friggin stupid idea.

I bet if i did a count on the number of times in this blog I've used different versions of the word "moron" or "idiot" it would be in the double digets. I don't even feel bad about it because this really is the MOST RIDICULOUS IDEA I'VE EVER HEARD.

Here's an idea-- why dont, when the teams go to the lottery and pull out their assigned division, they also pull out a randomized roster from Yahoo! Sprots of the top 30 most productive Fantasty Baseball teams. Then we can cut out payroll problems all together! Who knows if the Yankees or Padres are going to be more successfull- baseball is a gamble!

I, personally, as a White Sox fan, would love to watch my team spend 65% of the season on the West Coast- I dont get enough sleep as-is so why not watch all my teams games from 9pm-12am? Nevermind that they would be crucial division rivalry games, but the teams they'd be playing against wouldn't have to travel nearly as much because, as Schoenfield puts it, West Coast teams would need to stay put for the most part due to "location."

Location? I'm sorry-- LOCATION?

Location IS WHY WE HAVE A CENTRAL, EAST, AND WEST! That's the whole reason! Because of location!

My whole advice to Schoenfield is to stop. Just stop writing. Stop thinking, and for the love of God- please dont discuss baseball in a serious manner ever again. I'm not sure who let this article slip through at ESPN but they, along with you, should be fired. Usually I can take something tongue-in-cheek with a laugh but this--- this you were clearly serious about. I have yet to read one comment not ripping you to shreds, and rightfully so.

So before you decide to contribute to the baseball world with another brilliant suggestion, tuck your tail between your legs and run along- grown ups converse here....

We Are Chicago Baseball

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