“Orioles manager Buck Showalter says he stays up nights configuring Realignment scenarios that would solve a lot of baseball’s problems,” writes the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden, which is slightly more comforting than the thought of staying up nights imagining what Luke Scott would look like pointing an AK-47 at someone he caught trying to break into his car.
“It’s just not right the way it is with teams in the same divisions not playing the same schedules,” Showalter said, in reference to interleague play in particular, which has created a myriad of inequities such as the St. Louis Cardinals drawing the Orioles, Blue Jays and two series with the Royals this year while the Cubs, in their same division, have to play the Yankees, Red Sox and two series against their intracity rival White Sox. “Why not,” asked Showalter, “have everyone in baseball play everyone the same amount of games – three home, three away?”
Showalter acknowledged that to do this, baseball would have to contract two teams and then form four seven-team divisions. Each team would play six games against all 27 opponents. That works out to 162 games. There are also inherent problems with every team playing each other. One is travel and the other is it defeats the purpose of geographic re-alignment, which is to play as many games as possible in your own time zone. Still, four divisions of seven makes for easier schedule scenarios.
While Showalter chose not to be specific about contraction, other than to reiterate how 28 teams is a much more workable number when it comes to scheduling and re-alignment, there is a growing sentiment for it throughout baseball, especially in regard to the Rays and A’s. At least three baseball executives targeted those two teams as the most logical ones for extinction. “It’s pretty clear,” said one, “that neither of those teams can continue to operate in those facilities.” Added another exec: “How much longer can you expect all the other teams to subsidize two teams, in futile situations, with revenue sharing to keep them afloat?” A third exec was even more emphatic: “The biggest mistake we ever made was expanding into Florida. The Rays are hopeless, and I have serious doubts about the Marlins surviving in that new stadium of theirs.”