I have been tired of hearing Bud Selig talk about expanding the playoffs to five or six teams as the format of the playoffs wouldn't make sense whatsoever. It seems to me that Major League Baseball is only considering that option to make more money in ticket sales throughout the course of the year. The idea of a 1 game or even a 3 game series among wild-card teams seems ridiculous to me as you still have to consider tie break scenarios as well. Not to mention, the World Series already ended in November this past year to cater to the television companies.
Anyway, if Major League Baseball wants to make more money, they should just follow in the NFL's footsteps. Expand the league to 32 teams and have divisional realignment to where there are four teams. Under this format, MLB would go back to the way it used to be. The wild card would be abolished and the only way a team would make the playoffs would be by winning their division outright. With the American League already having two fewer teams than the National League, it only makes sense to even things out by adding two more teams to the American League. It would also make sense for interleague play and help balance the schedule when that happens as each division could evenly match up against a division from the other league (currently impossible with NL Central at 6 teams and AL West at 4).
I'm proposing expanding to Portland, Oregon and Charlotte, North Carolina as both areas make sense and would not be encroaching on another teams territory. By making each division with only four teams, rivalries for each division title would be very competitive. It would be a new idea to make major league baseball more money by having more games, more ticket sales, more television contracts, and more competitive division races.
This makes much more sense (to me at least) than a best of one (or three) playoff series to expand the wild card to five and delay the playoffs even longer (possibly into Thanksgiving). Here is the new format I would propose:
Rays departing the American League South. The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry would remain intact. As it is now, it would still remain tough for the Orioles and Jays to compete, but each team would have a better chance at the post season with the Rays removed from the picture. I see no reason for them not to be in favor of this. Not to mention, as an incentive to both the Orioles and Blue Jays, more games agains the Yankees and Red Sox will add up to more revenue as those games usually feature higher attendance.
Royals . The Royals have remained out of contention for quite some time now, so their departure would probably just make this divisoin all the more competitive. Many of the same rivalries would stay intact here.
- Kansas City Royals
- Texas Rangers
- Tampa Bay Rays
As the National League already has 16 teams, only realignment to support 4 divisions would be necessary.
Braves and the Marlins would depart the National League East for the South and the Pirates would enter from the Central. It might get rid of rivalries for the Phillies and Mets with the Braves, but new ones would be established as another team from Pennsylvania would enter the division. The Nationals and Pirates historically haven't had a history of winning, but such alignment would give them a better chance at reaching the postseason than they currently have. As things stand now with the current format, the Pirates already have to fight off 5 other teams to have a chance at winning the National League central. Meanwhile, the departure of the Braves and Marlins would mean one less team the Nationals would have to get past in order to win the division.
Astros and Pirates would be transported to different divisions. The Brewers, Cubs, Reds, and Cardinals would make for one heck of a divisional fight all the way down to the end.
- Atlanta Braves
- Florida Marlins
- Houston Astros
- Colorado Rockies