MLB missed a big chance by opting to not realign divisions when play resumes this year.
Major League Baseball has been on hold since midway through spring training when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sports world. Baseball fans have been waiting for the return of the sport for several months now, but the owners and players are on totally different sides of the coin and it’s been an ugly look.
When the shutdown first occurred, there had been some discussion about how the divisions could temporarily be realigned. One such idea, floated by Bob Nightengale of USA Today back in April, mentioned that the leagues could potentially realign to three divisions with ten teams each.
These divisions would have been based on geographic locations and would have looked like this:
East: New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins
West: Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners
Central: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers
MLB not realigning for the 2020 season is a major misstep
This would have been a geographical alignment and would essentially combine the American League Central with the National League Central, AL East with NL East, etc (though a few would have been in other divisions, like the Braves moving from the East to the Central).
MLB missed a chance to test the waters here. If there is a 2020 season, realigning the divisions would have made it even more intriguing. Seeing teams in the same city going up against each other more than just the one series would have been exciting and even for in-state rivals like the Royals and Cardinals facing each other more often would be fun. It’d also have been more convenient when it came to traveling, which is a big worry right now with the coronavirus.
Baseball had a big opportunity to try and switch things up in a season that’s going to be very different yet missed the mark once again.