Ok, lovely readers...it's time for some Tuesday Sports Talk!
Since the NHL and NBA playoffs have concluded, our focus is now 100% on baseball (as it should be, in my little opinion). A hot-button topic in the world of Major League Baseball right now is "restructuring" the leagues/divisions.
My goal is to always help you understand what is going on in sports so that you can have relevant conversations with those who love sports and build better friendships or add a new, exciting element to your existing relationships. You know, shock your husband with sports talk!
To help you understand the restructuring talk, you have to first understand how baseball is organized currently. Today, there are 30 baseball teams divided in two leagues. The leagues are called American and National Leagues. Within each of the two leagues, there are 3 divisions. They are called East, Central and West in both the American and National Leagues.
They breakdown like this:
For those who might have been confused by that image, I'll break it down by color... American league teams in red and National league teams in blue, all listed within their divisions:
AL (stands for American League) East: Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays, Orioles
AL Central: Twins, White Sox, Royals, Indians, Tigers
AL West: Rangers, Angels, Mariners, A's
NL (stands for National League) East: Braves, Mets, Marlins, Phillies, Nationals
NL Central: Pirates, Astros, Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, Reds
NL West: Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Rockies, Diamondbacks
So, now you know what division (East, Central, West) and what league (National or American) your favorite team is. My two favorite teams are in the NL East (Braves) and AL West (Rangers). Where are yours?
Now, back to restructuring.
With the current setup, teams within the same division play each other more than they play other teams. For example, everyone within the NL West plays the other teams at their home field and at the other team's field at least twice each! So the Dodgers would play the Padres, Giants, Rockies and Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium...and they would play each one at the other teams' stadium at least twice in both places. The Dodgers would then play all other teams just once at each place. Why does this matter?
Well, certain divisions in baseball are far stronger than others. The AL East is the powerhouse. The Yankees and Red Sox are perennial bullies, beating up on everyone else. Teams like the Rays and Blue Jays, who are also very good teams, have a hard time making it to the playoffs because they are stuck playing the Yankees and Red Sox so many times a year. On the other hand, the AL Central is rather weak historically. Many times, if the Rays or Blue Jays had been in the Central instead of the East division, they would have easily won and advanced to the playoffs.
To give you numbers, teams within the same division play each other 18-20 times per year. A team plays the teams in other divisions 6-7 times per year. It makes quite a difference.
So, the idea is to restructure the divisions to make them more fair. There are many ideas on how to do this. We won't get into all of them today just because it seems every sports writer has "the answer" and it's hard to say which will end up in affect. What I hope you understand is the current organization and the problems it presents.
One solution that is somewhat the front-runner (today; that could change by tomorrow) is getting rid of divisions completely and just having two large leagues where the top 5 from each side would make it to the playoffs. Do you see and understand how that eliminates the problem? It opens a few more issues we won't get into today, but it does level the playing field and help teams like the Rays, Blue Jays and Orioles who are so used to playing the Yankees and Red Sox over and over each year.
Make sense? Now go grab a sports-lover and talk MLB restructuring with them! Or at least tell them what division your favorite team is in! Conversations like this can birth friendships and deeper relationships and those are straight up gifts from the Lord. So, go talk sports! =)