by Zane Heiple
Late last month Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association came to an agreement on a new five year collective bargaining agreement. Some of the major points of this agreement were blood testing for human growth hormone, provisions around how teams can spend money on the first year player draft, the addition of a second wild card team in the playoffs, and an increase in the minimum salary from $414,000 in 2010 to $480,000 in 2011 and eventually $500,000 in the future.
First off a breakdown of the new conferences and divisions, the Eastern Conference will have three divisions. The Northeast Division will be made up of the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and Toronto Blue Jays. The Central Division will include the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Pittsburgh Pirates. Finally the Southeast Division will consist of the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, and Washington Nationals. In the Western Conference’s three divisions you will see the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, and St. Louis Cardinals in the Midwest Division. A Southwest Division would include the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, and Texas Rangers. Finally the Pacific Division would host the Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, and Seattle Mariners.
So how do we schedule this? Glad you asked. Each team would play 12 games against their own division. 7 games would take place against each of the teams within your conference. Finally 3 games would be played against teams in the opposite conference. In total one game would be added to the schedule which owners would love since its one more game of revenue that would be added. With an odd number of games teams would alternate yearly between having 81 or 82 home games.
Still not convinced? Well look at this, the differences between the NL and AL have been fading for years. With interleague play, umpires covering both leagues, the draft no longer alternating between leagues, no more league presidents, players switching leagues more often with free agency, both leagues feel the same other than the DH. If keeping the National and American League names is so important just name the Western Conference the American League and the Eastern Conference the National League.