By Sam Bush
Major League baseball has lost a full month of its 2020 season because of the pandemic, and the latest suggestion being floated sounds good to me:
Ten teams each in East, Central and West divisions, largely based on their current positionings. As a temporary fix, it’s a nice hedge between the so-called “biodome” option and business as usual, the former rife with logistic and humanistic problems and the latter not conducive to a season where many games must be played in a narrow time frame and not every market may be fully open for business.
As a multi-year, or even permanent fix? There’s a lot to like.
Sure, this would likely mean the implosion of the American and National Leagues, but let’s be honest: Blurring and then erasing the lines between both circuits has been a pet project for MLB going on three decades, starting with the centralization of power away from league presidents, to interleague play, to integrating umpires throughout both leagues, and so on.
The Three-Division Plan would, however, maintain and enhance the value of winning a division, a concept now more than half a century old. In the short term, to cut down on travel, it would create an entirely unbalanced schedule: Games only against divisional opponents, in the name of expediency.
And this unbalanced schedule would hold appeal beyond the current format.