I was curious about the sudden talk about "realignment" that has been swirling around Major League Baseball.
When the proposal popped up I thought maybe the powers that be were talking about trying to tweek the divisions a little bit to enhance rivalries. But it seems like the plans are something a bit more sinister.
I'm hearing that the main idea is to change things up so each league has 15 teams. Currently the National League has 16 clubs and the American League has 14. And for good reason. Without an even number of teams in each league, at least one team would have no one to play every day of the season.
Supposedly the Astros are the prime candidate to head to the Junior Circuit. And the way they'd get around the odd number of teams in each leagues is to basically have interleague play all the time. Instead of the current format of teams crossing league lines twice a year in short bursts, they'd just play each other all year long. I haven't heard whether it will be an NFL style schedule where teams play one division from the other league one season and a different division the next. Or maybe league lines will be obliterated all together and each team will play all the clubs in both leagues every year.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
The worst part of this all is that it seems to be a backdoor plan to spread the scourge that is the designated hitter.
National League owners have held firm over the years that they don't want the DH and American League owners don't want to give it up. So it seems most likely that the current format of using the DH in American League parks and letting the pitcher bat when the NL hosts will remain. But, with many more games against the AL each season, National League teams are pretty much going to be forced to carry a DH on their roster.
While tradtionalists are often criticized for holding on to the past at any cost, major league owners often are just the opposite -- they change things that are working just fine just for the sake of changing them.