MLB starts to finally grow up
We like the news coming out of Major League Baseball today, with the Houston Astros shifting to the AL West and the addition of another wild card team in each league.
If the second wild card had been in place in 2000 and 2005, the Indians would have grabbed a playoff spot, so anything that opens another avenue for the Tribe to make the postseason is always going to be welcomed in these parts.
Plus a one-game playoff between the wild card teams will give the game the feeling of an NFL playoff game.
Jayson Stark at ESPN.com has a good rundown of the some of the questions that baseball officials still have to work out, but all but one are really not problems at all.
Having 15 teams in each league means that interleague play will have to be adjusted in some way, but as long as the schedule is fair for each team within a particular division whatever format is decided on is OK. And we can do without seeing the Royals, Twins, etc. 19 times a year.
Stark seems to think that travel will be an issue, writing that “Imagine this: The Giants are locked in a dramatic September race in the NL West – and then have to jump on a plane and travel to conveniently located Tampa Bay for a late-September interleague series. Isn’t everybody sure they’d be totally delighted by that idea?”
Oh, the horror! Teams in other leagues have to travel late in the season all the time. Think the 49ers are excited that they will spend Thanksgiving night in Baltimore? Or that New England wants to go to Denver on Dec. 18? But somehow we all get through it.
The one point that Stark makes that is valid is American League teams playing at National League parks late in the season without the DH.
But that’s a mess that baseball made when it somehow decided that it made sense to have two leagues play by different rules. Just think how ridiculous it would be if the AFC only let teams have 3 downs to make a first down and the NFC said you get 5 downs.
Stark does say that this is only the beginning, however. Supposedly there are changes on the way that impact payroll disparity, revenue sharing, the draft, free agency and the broad scope of the business of baseball.
That all sounds pretty positive for the Tribe, so it’s all good.
(Photo by The Plain Dealer)