The National Football League continues to shoot themselves in the foot. The continuing kneeling by a few of its players during the national anthem is driving television ratings to record lows.
While the NFL attempts to deal with a problem many football fans have reacted to by changing the channel, Major League Baseball is enjoying a renewed interest from many of the disgruntled. With the NFL fans in full rebellion, now is the time for baseball to make a decisive move.
If MLB keeps their house in order and they do it right, they can create a loyalty dynamic rivaled internationally only by EPL soccer. One marketing insider with MLB, who wished to remain anonymous, had some predictions. He said that depending on whether or not there is a new commissioner appointed, with the San Francisco Giants GM the top candidate, there is a very good chance they will be adding two expansion teams to get to the magic number of 32 teams.
This would eliminate the wild card by creating two leagues of sixteen teams each (east and west) with the winner of each of the eight four team subdivisions advancing to the quarterfinals. The league would also be realigned (see speculative realignment below) with no American and National leagues any more.
This opens the door to create major geographic rivalries and eliminate millions of miles traveled each year. The most likely expansion cities are Portland, OR and probably San Antonio or Austin, TX.
There is a possibility Oakland would relocate to Portland, making another expansion city necessary like Charlotte or Indianapolis. To build the rivalries even further, they would probably go back to a 154 game schedule where you play each team in your four team subdivision 12 times (36 games), each of the other teams in your league eight times (96 games), and 5 x 4 games series (20 games) against teams from the other league.
If a team swept the playoffs, they would play 11 playoff games, if each playoff series went to the full 5, 7, 7 you would play 19 playoff games. The only other thing MLB needs to do is shorten the games by about an average of 45 minutes and they can dominate professional sports for the foreseeable future.
Here is a preview:
- North Atlantic Division: Boston, NY Yankees, NY Mets, Washington
- North Pacific Division: Seattle, Portland, OR, Oakland, San Francisco
- South Atlantic Division: Baltimore, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Miami
- South Pacific Division: LA Dodgers, LA Angels, San Diego, Arizona
- Rust Belt Division: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Toronto
- Midwest Division: St. Louis, Kansas City, Minnesota, Milwaukee
- Upper Midwest Division: Detroit, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati
- Southern Division: Houston, Texas, San Antonio, Colorado
Major League Baseball, at the expense of the National Football League’s growing strife, can create major national interest with these changes.