SBD/Issue 124/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Idea To Create Floating Divisions In MLB Called "Stupid," "Absurd"

"Floating" Realignment Concept Would
Allow Teams To Change Divisions Yearly

MLB's Special Committee for On-Field Matters is discussing the concept of "floating" realignment in which teams could change divisions yearly, but the idea is the "dumbest thing commissioner Bud Selig has ever considered," according to Richard Griffin of the TORONTO STAR. Moving teams among divisions "on a whim ... is a stupid concept." Griffin: "There must be another motive behind this initiative. ... Bud is not a dumb man, which leads one to believe he must be angling for something else before he retires in a couple of years. Like, for instance, a few additional wild-card teams" (TORONTO STAR, 3/11). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "This is absolutely absurd. Baseball's economic system is broken, so instead of trying to fix the system, it would try to fix the heart and soul of the game to make the system work. It makes no sense at all." He added, "Instead of this reorganization, how about relegation? How about doing what they do in the English Premier soccer league?" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/10). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "You can't just make it into 'Final Jeopardy!' that you wager next year, 'I'd like to be in that division and not this division.'" Kornheiser: "You want to set up a division based on poverty -- a poor man's division because you know that the Red Sox and the Yankees make so much money from TV that you can't compete -- that's fine. But I don't like the floating year-to-year" ("PTI," ESPN, 3/10).

NICE IDEA, BUT....: In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck wrote it is an “interesting concept that does have some support, but I seriously doubt it’ll get past the discussion phase.” Selig can “say all he wants that everything is on the table, but baseball is making too much money to do something that new and different” (BALTIMORESUN.com, 3/10). ESPN.com's Rob Neyer wrote of the concept, "It's not easy to imagine this working. ... I believe that if someone came up with a practical plan for realignment that would guarantee higher revenues for Selig's employers, he might support it. I just don't believe that practical plan is going to be found" (ESPN.com, 3/10).

MISSING THE POINT ALTOGETHER: NESN’s Scott McLaughlin wrote the concept “doesn’t get to the heart of what’s wrong with the competitive balance in baseball.” The problem “isn’t that the same three teams are forced to battle with the Red Sox and Yankees every year,” but instead that those two teams are “allowed to spend at will every season while mid-market teams simply can’t.” Nine of the last 14 Word Series have featured either the Red Sox or Yankees, “while no other AL squad has appeared more than once.” McLaughlin: “Is floating realignment going to fix that? No.” (NESN.com, 3/10).

THINK BIG, WORK SMALL: SI’s Tom Verducci called the committee a “think tank” that is “somewhat analogous to the NFL Competition Committee.” Verducci: “At least baseball is saying, 'You know what, let's not be totally whetted to this idea that everybody is stuck in these divisions and nothing is going to change.'" Syndicated radio host Dan Patrick said, “"I do like what the commissioner is saying. His head is not in the sand. He is trying to move the game forward to say to … smaller market teams, 'You'll have a chance'" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 3/11). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "You put these kinds of panels and boards together to consider pie-in-the-sky things and maybe small things come from these broader, big think proposals. … You think about your sport in different ways" ("PTI," ESPN, 3/10).

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