Earlier this week, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated revealed that Bud Selig has setup a task force of fourteen people whom he refers to as the “special committee for on-field matters”.
The purpose of this committee is to review certain areas of concern within the game and make recommendations regarding the implementation of some changes. Among those issues that are being considered is a radical divisional realignment plan. The purpose of the plan is to improve the competitive balance in the game.
Obviously, competitive balance has been mostly an unrealized goal in baseball for the past two decades. The divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” continues to expand with no end in sight.
However, the suggestion of a “floating realignment” where teams will change divisions year to year, based on geography, payroll and opportunities to contend, is absolutely ridiculous and makes no sense whatsoever. A floating realignment might lessen many of the long established natural rivalries of the game for one, and the expectation that it will improve competitive balance seems flawed.
Imagine a season where the Red Sox and Yankees are no longer in the same division. As much as many New Englanders would welcome such a move, wouldn’t you be destroying one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports?
And how does putting the Red Sox or Yankees in the AL Central for example, help create competitive balance in that division?
This latest and hopefully last proposal by Bud Selig is by far the craziest of them all. It has also sparked a boatload of alternate realignment plans all across the blogosphere and I’ve yet to see one that wasn’t as significantly flawed as the one Selig’s committee proposes. They are all bad.
From a Mets fan perspective, any alignment plan that puts the Mets into the same division as the New York Yankees would be an abomination. Especially with the Wilpons at the helm and calling the shots. It would truly take another “miracle” for the Mets to win a division.
I assume this floating realignment plan would completely make inter-league baseball extinct and just a memory after all of the success it has enjoyed.
Then of course there’s the problem of the designated hitter.
The fact of the matter is that no realignment plan would be ideal, and even if there was a perfect plan it would do little to improve the competitive balance in the league.
As long as you have one team spending $200 million and another spending $60 million, competitive balance is just an unreachable star.
How can you have competitive balance in the worlds largest game of Monopoly when some players start with $1,500 dollars and others with just $15 bucks? How can the team with $15 bucks ever get his hands on Boardwalk and Park Place?
You can blind yourself to what I’m going to say all you want, but I’ll still say it…
Only a salary cap with built-in, agreed upon minimum and maximum limits can bring competitive balance to the league. Anything else is really just “fantasy baseball”.