Major League Baseball Needs to Expand

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a 10-part series commemorating baseball’s new commissioner with advice for his tenure. To read more about this series, click here.

An MLB team in Las Vegas? It isn't as crazy as it sounds. (via Joseph De Palma)

An MLB team in Las Vegas? It isn’t as crazy as it sounds. (via Joseph De Palma)

Baseball expansion has always been part of the game. As the United States population has expands, so does the number of professional baseball teams. But this trend has been on hold since 1998, when the Diamondbacks and the then-named Devil Rays joined the league. The time between expansions is now tied for the longest in post-World War II history at 17 years. It is time for Major League Baseball to actively begin trying to expand again, because the game is getting stale and mediocre.

Adding teams is not going to happen overnight. Who knows what legal ramifications will stand in the way? Television rights with huge contracts. Stubborn owners and/or players who don’t want to share their part of the financial pie. We all understand that the commissioner can’t just put two teams in Las Vegas and Des Moines (don’t laugh, Iowans are already starved for baseball with the current TV blackout rules) and call it good. The number of parties involved will be insane, but the process should begin now so in a few years expansion can happen.

Let me start with some simple facts on post-World War II, post-segregation, expansion. Here are the seasons in which MLB expanded and the number of teams added:

MLB Expansion Since 1960

Year Teams Added Total Teams
1960 (start) 0 16
1961 2 18
1962 2 20
1969 4 24
1976 2 26
1993 2 28
1998 2 30

The number of teams slowly increased, with the average span for adding a new team being about every two years. Maybe the the majors are at the right size. Maybe baseball has stopped growing because the United States has stopped growing. Let me step through the available talent pool of possible players by looking at the U.S population, starting in 1965 and looking forward. Baseball was not fully integrated in 1965, but it was getting there. Here is a graph of the U.S population (in 10 million increments) and the number of major league teams from 1965 to 2014.

In 2013, there were 10.5 million people per team, up from a low of 8.5 million in 1969 and 1977, from which to pull talent and fans. The overall interest in baseball among the U.S. general population has not been the same over the time frame. Basketball and football are now becoming the sports of choice among some athletes, especially minorities. But the influx of foreign-born players has easily made up for the lack of interest among American-born athletes, starting in earnest with Caribbean and Central American countries the mid-1970s and Asia starting in in the late 1990s. Additionally, the elite Cuban players are finding their way to American baseball again. So there are plenty of people in the pool.

So, now that we’ve established that expansion hasn’t happened recently like it used to, and that there are still enough people in the country to support expansion if done properly, let’s tackle the why — why should there be expansion? One reason is the run scoring environment. Run production has dropped from from a steroid-era high of 5.1 runs per game per team in 2000 to 4.1 last season. Pitching is now the dominant force in the game. The last four times the majors expanded, runs increased as the pitching talent was spread thinner. Looking at the two seasons before an expansion of teams and the two seasons after, the average increase in runs scored per game was a third of a run. Without expansion and if things remain static, scoring will likely go even lower as pitching talent becomes more and more concentrated.

The current run environment is not horrible, but what if it gets even lower? Strikeouts are boring. They help to win games, but they make for a horrible viewing experience. Everyone digs the long ball. Maybe MLB will do something like lower the mound again or allow aluminum bats or shrink the out of control strike zone, but the concentration of talent will still exist. It is time to spread baseball out some more.

Now, what follows is a matter of opinion. Some people may not see a lack of talent diversity as a problem, but I find it boring, like the NFL. Every team is a contender to the end. Everyone is the same. Evenly played baseball leads to fewer trades since so many teams believe they have a chance to make the playoffs (see the 2014 Royals and Giants). If almost every team is going for a playoff spot, fewer will be looking to dump salary and play for the future. This leads to mediocre teams, and mediocre memories. With expansion, you’ll have more action at the trade deadline, and perhaps even before it.

Without expansion, which spreads out talent, memorable individual seasons will become fewer and fewer. The two most memorable home run races in baseball history, MarisMantle in ’61 and McGwireSosa in ’98, happened in expansion seasons in part because the pitching talent was thinner. Having those great memories is what baseball is all about.

Two teams should be added as quickly as possible. Four additional teams should be added after those two. The six additional teams helps to regain the ratio of teams to U.S. population as it was in the past. Until 2008, the ratio of teams to every 10 million people in the U.S. population was less than one (see graph above). Right now the ratio is at 1.05. Using some future population projections from The World DataBank, the ratio will be at 1.11 in 2020 and 1.15 in 2025. By adding two teams by 2020 the ratio drops to 1.04 and by adding four more teams by 2025 it is back under 1.0. The need for teams can be then re-evaluated. I know it will be nearly impossible for MLB to add six teams over the next 10 years, but they need to start now as the ratio will continue to increase.

There is another reason why getting to at least 32 teams is important. Adding two teams will finally put an even number of teams in each league. When that happens, we can ditch the daily slog of Interleague games. Seriously, who likes that? Teams fighting for division titles are more likely to be playing each other at the end of the season. The major league structure could go to four or eight divisions, with an even number of teams in each one. Or just one division in each league would have six teams. Anything would work better than the current set-up, with an odd number of teams in each league.

After the first two are added, baseball should start moving toward adding four more teams. This is where the structure looks like the current format with but with six teams in each division. The current playoff format could be maintained with three division winners and two wild cards.

These new teams need cities to call home and this is where expansion will run into the biggest roadblocks. Teams don’t like giving up their areas of control, but a strong commissioner can persuade everyone to come together and move forward.

It is not going to be easy, especially with the Athletics and Rays already looking to relocate. Some possible new locations: in California near Sacramento, in Texas at Austin and San Antonio. Brooklyn or north New Jersey, if you can get the Yankees and Mets to play ball (good luck with that). It might be time to finally move a team to Las Vegas … maybe. The South is lacking for teams, with Charlotte, Nashville, Memphis or Louisville being possibilities. Also another team could be in Canada, with Montreal getting a long look.

MLB also has to try Mexico and Puerto Rico. I understand the reservations, but baseball is popular in both locations already and the whole country or island would get 100 percent behind a team. The new team’s popularity would be ballooned by interest in the States from expats.

The key to expansion is for an initial understanding and acceptance that more teams will be coming. Start by cleaning up the messes in Oakland and Tampa-St. Petersburg. Next, set up a committee. Have Joe Torre head it since he heads all MLB committees. It doesn’t have to really “do” anything, but it lets people know there may be changes. Pick a list of possible sites (here’s a start) and start working through the roadblocks. Maybe in 10 years or so, the first couple of teams can start playing and spreading out the range of MLB talent pool. Delaying expansion just makes it harder to eventually implement.

MLB is about to enter its longest stretch since World War II without expansion, and no plans exist for such a change in the future. The notion of eventual expansion to 36 teams needs to start immediately. It will take time to find some sites on which enough people can agree. Meanwhile, baseball will chug on in a state of mediocre play. Some people may like all teams playing around .500, but 20 years from now it will likely be called the third Dead Ball Era. So my plea to incoming commissioner Rob Manfred: Expand the number of teams as soon as possible.


Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.
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Jim S.
7 years ago

The emphasis on pitching now is greater than ever before. As a result, there are more good pitchers now than ever before. Thus, expansion would do almost nothing to increase offense.

A team in Memphis? Have you ever been there?

Walking in Memphis
7 years ago
Reply to  Jim S.

Well it’s no New York City but it’s also no Montgomery so be careful. Also, Memphis fans really rallied around the Grizzlies and Redbirds so an MLB team isn’t completely nuts.

That being said, I can think of at least 6 cities who would (and perhaps should) get it before Memphis.

jacob Eagleshield
7 years ago
Reply to  Jim S.

Indianapolis,San Antonio,an AL team in Phoenix,New Orleans, get those suckers out of Toronto and send them to Tucson. Create four divisions in each league and ELIMINATE wild cards entirely. Can’t win your division? Then you haven’t earned the right to play for a championship. Losers go home!

J B
7 years ago
Reply to  Jim S.

The journalist who wrote the article provided statistical research to support his argument. Your counterpoint neither refuted that evidence nor provided any statistical analysis of your own.

filihok
7 years ago

“we can ditch the daily slog of Interleague games. Seriously, who likes that? ”

I do. Just because I live in an NL city doesn’t mean I don’t like to go watch AL teams and players.

Steve L
7 years ago

A team in Louisville? We’re a college town. A Triple-A team is as close to the major leagues as the town will support. Besides, we’re 99 miles from Cincinnati.
As for the rest of the article, I disagree with the premise MLB needs to expand in order to address (prop up) run production.

Tim
7 years ago

Was this a #hottake? It seemed like an ESPN editor assigned you a controversial opinion that you didn’t believe in and then you struggled to come up with arguments in favor. They should just do it because…

What evidence did you present that any of those markets could actually support a ML team? You describe the current state of the game as “stale and mediocre.” To make the game less “mediocre,” you want to add an influx of inferior talent? More trades? This deadline and this offseason have seen more significant player movement than just about any in recent memory. Expanding to adjust the run-scoring environment is like using a chainsaw instead of a scalpel.

Phillies113
7 years ago

You mention that pitching talent will thin out. The same will be true of hitting talent. While I agree with some expansion to even out the leagues, 36 teams is, in my opinion, too much.

I also disagree that heightened parity diminishes the appeal of the league. I like the idea that any team has a shot of winning it all; who honestly predicted Kansas City to win the pennant before last season? Who knows who will make it to the World Series in 2015? I’d hate it if baseball became like basketball where you only have a few teams who realistically have a shot of winning the championship year to year.

I also disagree that evenly played baseball leads to fewer trades; in the past year alone, we’ve seen a lot of trades involving a lot of big-name players (Lester, Cespedes, Kemp, Myers, et al). The game is as entertaining as it’s ever been, and the trade/free agent mill is churning just fine.

Finally, if anything, I disagree most strongly with the idea of more divisions. Frankly, I think there are too many divisions in baseball already. Divisions reward weak teams who finish on top of weak divisions while punishing those teams who are stronger than that weak team simply because they have the misfortune of playing in a stronger division. Ideally, everyone would play everyone else within the league the same number of times (I agree that daily interleague must go). If you want to keep the same number of playoff teams, then the top 5 in each league make the postseason, with the 4th and 5th teams in the single game playoff to play the 1st seed, with the 3rd and 2nd seeds pairing off.

Overall, I like the idea of expansion, but only to a certain extent, and so long as it doesn’t lead to an increase in divisions.

J B
7 years ago
Reply to  Phillies113

You mention that pitching talent will thin out. The same will be true of hitting talent. -> This argument would also have been made during previous expansions, but the statistics garnered from those expansions suggests that the spreading out of talent supports run production.

I also disagree that heightened parity diminishes the appeal of the league. I like the idea that any team has a shot of winning it all; who honestly predicted Kansas City to win the pennant before last season? -> And ratings were down.

I also disagree that evenly played baseball leads to fewer trades; in the past year alone, we’ve seen a lot of trades involving a lot of big-name players (Lester, Cespedes, Kemp, Myers, et al). -> The Padres trading spree is clearly an aberration. I don’t think that we can count on that happening every year. Saying that trades happen also doesn’t negate the point that there are FEWER than before. He didn’t say there were none, just fewer.

Frank Jackson
7 years ago

No one — not even the almighty commissioner — can decree expansion. It all starts with someone highly influential — or more likely a group of like-minded movers and shakers — in a city that really, really, really wants major league baseball. Typically, they’ll woo a team thinking of moving, but they’ll take an expansion team if one is coming on line. But I’m not aware of any city in the country seriously campaigning for a franchise, even though it might be on their wish list (hey, who wouldn’t want to be known as a “big league” city). When the NFL expanded some years ago and added Houston rather than Los Angeles, it was a bit of a surprise. The reason offered was that Houston seemed to want NFL football more than Los Angeles did. A big part of that is a deal for a new stadium, and that’s a tough sell to overtaxed taxpayers.

So the commish can decree expansion and add two, four, six or eight teams…but if no one steps forward with realistic plans in those cities, it doesn’t make any difference what the commissioner wants. In other words, expansion is driven not by the commissioner, but by cities that demand MLB and won’t take no for an answer, even if their efforts don’t bear fruit for years.

james wilson
7 years ago
Reply to  Frank Jackson

Right. Not very long ago Seig Heilig was working 24-7 to close the Twin and Ray franchises, so we may be confident that MLB has no idea what the future looks like.

The Boston metro area can support a NL team, and a NL team in Brooklyn would create a great rivalry with the Mets. But the other locations being bandied about are stinkers, like where I live in Las Vegas, which is by no means the worst. A fool and his money will soon be separated, so do not let the fools without the money make any decisions.

a different mike
7 years ago
Reply to  Frank Jackson

Montreal has a plan and a team of dedicated, influential partners.

Prospector
7 years ago

Hear, hear! I’ve also been wondering why expansion has slowed in all the major sports, but baseball in particular. I’m glad someone with a platform is calling for baseball to make expansion a priority. I think new teams in Mexico and/or the Carribean would be a major boon for the sport.

DrBGiantsfan
7 years ago

Yeah, I don’t see any of this happening for awhile. None of the potential sites you mention seem very likely to be able to support a MLB team. You have to follow the money, big money! The Inland Empire in SoCal has plenty of population, but no money. The Silicon Valley has plenty of money, but the Giants apparently have a death grip on that territory. The next frontier might be international, but again, you have money questions.

The A’s and Rays situations need to be fixed and look how long that has taken!

Rally
7 years ago

Instead of total population I’d look at the number of males between age 23 to 36. Or 20 to 40, or whatever aggregations the census has that better matches up to the people who play MLB. Much of the population increase in the last century is just people living longer.

Matt
7 years ago

I have been saying for a couple years that they needed two more teams to get rid of interleague play and one of them should be in Puerto Rico, I’m glad someone finally agrees with me. I would get rid of divisions though and just have the top 5 teams make the playoffs

BaconBall
7 years ago

In the immortal words of John McEnroe, “YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!”

Reese
7 years ago

I would prefer to see relocation of the Rays and A’s first to stable markets with proper facilities. Rays to either Montreal or Charlotte, A’s to San Jose.

I don’t think there are enough good players in MLB in 2015, let alone to afford a dilution of talent for 2 additional teams.

Adrian
7 years ago

An MLB team in Cuba would be sweet.

Plucky
7 years ago

All of your arguments regarding the on-field product and scheduling issues are correct. They are also mostly irrelevant. Expansion is 95% an economic issue. Baseball cannot and will not expand unless the existing franchises are enriched by it. Adding an expansion franchise does indeed grow the overall pie by increasing the fanbase in a new area, but for most markets, a team located there would probably be a long-term recipient of revenue sharing. It also probably net dilutes TV money (and MLBAM, the most underrated tech company in the universe). The standard way to make everyone happy is an expansion fee, but the scale would probably need to be on the order of $700-800M. On top of that, very few municipalities are willing to fork over big $ for new stadiums anymore. A prospective owner will have to pay for at minimum half the stadium cost and more likely 75-80%. The fully-loaded cost to launch an expansion franchise probably gets into the range of $1.2B. Why would a prospective owner do that when half the existing franchises could be bought for less? Civic pride? Why not buy/move the A’s or Rays first?

When considering Mexico (which MLB has always looked at every time expansion was considered) there are a whole host of issues that don’t come up in the US- labor rules, security issues, legal environment, etc.

You’re right that Vegas, Charlotte, San Antonio, and the NY metro area (north jersey or Brooklyn) are possibly credible destinations for MLB teams, with perhaps Nashville or Portland if you really stretch, but that’s just a supposition. This is an economic issue and the extent of your economic analysis is that the US population ought to be able to support it. That’s exceptionally weak, and as one above commenter puts it, brings this to the level of a hottake. Unlike the NFL, baseball is dominated by regional loyalty to teams with local media revenue being a much bigger deal than national deals. You have to consider the particular metro area, not just in population but also in income level and density of corporate HQ’s, which are disporportionately important for luxury box sales, sponsorships, and premium priced season-tickets.

Jon Luman
7 years ago

Anyone ever discussed merging NPB, KBO and the Taiwan league (maybe move a team or two to mainland China)? I think that might form a real competitor to MLB.

What makes a good rivalry like hundreds of years of national rivalry?

a eskpert
7 years ago
Reply to  Jon Luman

This right here. I didn’t read your comment before I posted mine. I think this is the best option. It could get in on TV markets in another time zone. MLB puts up the infrastructure (umpiring, rule book, replay, streaming etc.) and gets something like 15% of league wide TV money, which is then distributed to MLB owners.

a eskpert
7 years ago
Reply to  Jon Luman

I also think a single “national” team in China would be good for Baseball.

Steve Davis
7 years ago

I’m actually more in favor of contracting the A’s and Rays and keep it at 28 teams. If you did that you could also have every team play one home and away 3-game series against all other 27 teams and stay at the current 162 games. Move the Astros back to the N.L. and go back to four 7-team divisions.

Chris
7 years ago
Reply to  Steve Davis

Better…

Slavin33
7 years ago
Reply to  Steve Davis

Good idea…but if you contracted the Rays and A’s, you would have to move an NL team to the AL, not the other way around.

tz
7 years ago

MLB should add 2 more teams, and then:

1. Eliminate interleague play

2. Have two 8-team divisions in each league, playing 14 games against each divisional rival and 8 against the others.

3. Put the two division champions and 3 wild-cards into the postseason (the 2nd and 3rd best wild-card teams meeting in the one-game “play-in” game).

andrew reid
7 years ago
Reply to  tz

Sounds good to me, but would the MLBPA go for it?

a different mike
7 years ago
Reply to  tz

This. I’d add teams in Montreal and either San Antonio/Austin and Northern New Jersey.

Thomas K
7 years ago
Reply to  tz

I’d be much more in favor of 8 4 team divisions and getting rid of wild cards. Make the regular season truly count…..8 playoff teams, all division champions.

Of course I realize it won’t happen because baseball will never LOWER the amount of postseason teams/games. But it’s a good thought.

Chris
7 years ago

Yes, I can’t help but think that most of the markets suggested here are markets that I can’t see having any interest in an MLB team. As other comments have pointed out, several of these are markets that love their college teams and have no interest in a pro team being present. The attendance at the two Florida franchises has never been successful; why would teams in similar markets have any different effect?

I’m not really sure what the argument here is. MLB should expand because the number of teams haven’t kept pace with the U.S. population? So what? Hypothetically, if overnight nobody cared about baseball anymore, but the U.S. population shot up 25%, we should still add 25% more teams? What?

The inter-league argument is played-out, “get off my lawn” kind of stuff. I’m 40, which is old enough to feel nostalgic about those “good ole days”, but I’m past it. Every other sport has inter-league games. College sports have inter-conference games. I’m all for keeping baseball “old school”, but the inter-league games don’t rely detract from the end product. (For me, anyhow.) As long as the proportion of games (from most to fewest) goes intra-division, intra-conference/league, inter-conference/league, I don’t really care.

I think the primary focus of MLB should be on figuring out how to make the sport attractive to a new generation of fans, and putting the product out in communities that have other interests isn’t the answer. Strengthening the existing product is.

Statistics don't lie
7 years ago

Improper expansion benefits the wealthiest teams the most (Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels). The teams with largest resources, the largest markets, aren’t asked to divide their markets at all. They continue to reign supreme in profits and payroll. They will continue to be able to afford $200 m/year in salaries. Let’s just add in a few more teams to the league who can afford up to $75 m/year.

If you want to have a level playing field, then add 2 teams to the NY market, 2 teams to LA market, 1-2 teams to Chicago, maybe another one in Texas and New England? I mean if Baltimore can withstand competition from DC, why should wealthier teams be immune?

Perhaps the reason is MLB is really not all that interested in a level playing field. There is apparently more money to be made in the status quo, and that’s honestly what it’s all about.

bucdaddy
7 years ago

“Mediocre” and “boring”?

Baseball in Pittsburgh hasn’t been this much fun since the early ’90s.

Football is boring because there’s nothing left to see on a football field that hasn’t been done a million times already. What’s football’s equivalent of a no-hitter? Something rare enough that if you’re in the ballpark for one it’s a big deal, but not so rare that a fan who goes to a lot of games couldn’t reasonably expect to see one in a lifetime?

What can happen in a football game that would make the other team’s fans root for your player in the late stages of a game, like a no-hitter would, just so they can say they saw one? (Leaving aside the purist arguments about a no-hitter being all about luck. just another win etc., which seems a mediocre and boring way to go through life). If Tom Brady throws seven touchdown passes against your team, do you root for him to throw an eighth? If LeBron scores 50 on your team, do you root for him to score 60? But if the guy pitching against my team goes into the ninth with a no-hitter, I’m switching allegiances for an inning.

Plus, baseball is often funny. There’s not much funny that happens in football, especially given what we now know about concussions (remember how it used to be funny when a guy staggered around after getting his “bell rung”? Not so much anymore.). Football is overly self-important. Everyone associated with football is always shouting at me.

Personalities are far more evident in baseball. You can see the players’ faces, see their reactions. If you put all football teams in white unis with white helmets, how would you tell them apart (maybe Troy Polamalu’s hair or something …)? Put the Pirates in white unis with no logos and … well, that’s Andrew McCutchen, and that’s Josh Harrison, and that’s A.J. Burnett …

Baseball’s easy to figure out, too. An 8-year-old can learn to calculate BA and ERA and stuff. Does anyone know how to calculate the QB rating? In baseball, everything is right out there for everyone to see, for good and bad. A pitcher gives up a bomb or a shortstop boots a grounder, everyone knows who to blame. Football, nobody knows who gets credit and who gets blame. Even the coaches don’t know what happened until they look at the video.

Why the hell are running backs listed according to their yardage gained, not by the number of rushes, but receivers are listed by the number of catches, not by the yarage gained?

Anyway, I have no opposition to expansion, as it could lead to my idea of a four-league MLB, with two divisions in each regional league (Northeast, Southwest, Midwest and West Coast), with each team playing 22 games vs. each opponent in-division, 18 against the four in-league teams in the other division, and three each against each team from one of the other leagues, rotating the opponent league every two years.

Adrian
7 years ago
Reply to  bucdaddy

OT – I would never root for another team’s pitcher to no-hit my team. Never. If they did, I’d be impressed and give them an ovation when it was over, but not switch allegiances. Interesting that you would.

bucdaddy
7 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

I guess it might depend on the circumstances. 1-0 game in the last week of a pennant race, I suppose I’d have to pull for my team. Then, yeah, if the guy got his no-hitter he’d get my applause.

bucdaddy
7 years ago

Sorry, got off on a tangent there …

A problem with expansion that nobody talks about is the simple matter of the math involved. If world championships were somehow evenly distributed, then every MLB team’s fans could expect to get one every 30 years. That’s already a long time, but perhaps not ridiculous. But world championships are not evenly distributed. Some teams are going to win two, three, four or more in that 30-year time frame, which will push some other teams back into the next 30-year window, and pretty soon you have a whole lot more Houston Astros and San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers than you already do. And in THAT 30-year window, some teams are going to win two, three, four championships, and maybe push some of the same teams back ANOTHER 30 years …

It’s kind of quaint and funny now to have a team like the Cubs go 100 years without a world championship. It might not be so cute if there are eight teams like the Cubs. At least the Cubs have a history. How do you build a fan base for a team with no history that might go 50, 60, 70 years without winning the big prize? If MLB expanded to 100 teams, why would you become a fan, when your hopes of winning a real championship are so remote? *

Note I said “real championship.” Because the odds are so stacked against any one team’s fans seeing a real championship, MLB (and other pro sports) have had to invent consolation prizes, such as “making the playoffs,” “winning (?)) the wild card,” “winning the division.” My team has won three world championships in my lifetime (I’m 57, and one of those titles came when I was 3). I know what a real championship looks and feels like. Anything else is “loser.” But MLB and the other sports have to sell “making the playoffs” as some kind of whoop-de-do achievement for your team, because otherwise, if we went back to two and only two MLB teams getting into the postseason, the way it was in the “good old days,” why would anyone follow a team? Ninety percent of the fans would lose interest by May 1.

* — Somebody’s probably going to bring up the NCAA basketball tournament, where something like 320 schools compete for one real championship, but I think allegiances with colleges are formed in somewhat different ways than allegiances to professional teams. You probably became a fan of Alabama or Penn State because you went there, or your brother did, or some close friends did, or your mom or dad, or all of them. You might follow a pro team because of where you live or who your dad roots for, but if you root for the Astros it’s unlikely to be because your brother or your dad played for them.

Also, there are something like seven postseason tourneys total for men and women (NIT, CBI etc.) as consolation prizes, ** and I hate consolation prizes.

** — Also because all those sports channels need something to fill up the time.

Casey Bell
7 years ago
Reply to  bucdaddy

Yes! Your point about teams averaging only 1 World Championship every 30 years is one I’ve thought of before but I’d forgotten (getting old!).

But it’s not just the fact that increasing the number of teams decreases everyone’s chances of winning the championship. What drives me nuts is that with so many
teams in the playoffs it has become very rare to see the teams with the best records play each other in the World Series. What’s the point of having a 162 game season if you’re going to press Reset on October 1st and allow the best teams to get knocked out in a 5 game series by some team that won 12 or 15 fewer games? I think a big part of the reason why World Series ratings have tanked is because too many medicore teams are participating.

Hub 312
7 years ago

MLB needs to contract. There are cities that cannot or do not want to support a MLB team. Expansion will only create increased demand for payroll caps and revenue “sharing” and result in playoff baseball being played in cities where no one gives a crap.

87 Cards
7 years ago

Get the A’s into San Jose. See if Montreal wants to/can support AAA ball. Evaluate expansion ten years after each event.

I live in San Antonio whose leadership who flirt constantly with the NFL and MLS. I don’t foresee viable economic support for MLB. I’m tempted to retire to Houston.

rhd
7 years ago

I’m for expansion to 32 teams, but now is not the time to do it. But, as has been mentioned, there arent any clearly good choices for expansion cities. An MLB team in Puerto Rico? You must be kidding. I went to a couple games in San Juan when the Expos played there and there were hardly any fans there and most of those that were there cheered for the opposing team. The stadium was sub-par even for an AAA team. Any city in Mexico would be problematic w the violence and other problems there. Havana might be feasible in 20 years or so after the embargo gets lifted but not before then. Viable options might include Las Vegas, Charlotte, Indianapolis, and Montreal. But MLB is going to want a new stadium deal in place before expanding anywhere. And, as also mentioned, I dont hear any cities anywhere clamoring for a MLB team.

But the most significant obstacle to expansion is that the entire country already is carved up into team territories and expanding anywhere in the US would infringe on some team’s territory. Existing teams would have a fit if an expansion team moved into their territory. Rob Manfred needs to win the trust and support of MLB owners at this early stage of his reign and expansion would run completely counter to this. It might work if MLB would split the franchise fee for the expansion team w the existing MLB team, and work some kind of deal where the existing team gets the lion’s share of the RSN revenue, like the O’s did when the Nats moved in. But it wouldnt make sense to expand now while the lawsuits involving Oakland’s move to San Jose and the MASN dispute between the O’s and the Nats are still pending.

For these and other reasons, I dont think it makes sense for MLB to expand any time soon.

Eric
7 years ago

MLB does NOT need to expand. The talent pool is already too thin. And too many players have forgotten how to play real baseball. This TTO – three true outcome stuff with .220 batting averages sucks. Go back to learning how to make contact, pitching and hitting.

Paul G.
7 years ago

No offense, but after reading this article the first time my reaction was “What the huh?” Expansion? In this economy? Really?

As others have mentioned, expansion is driven by demand for more teams. If enough cities are demanding a team, either there will be expansion or there will be an opening for a competitor. For example, the initial expansion in the 1960s was caused by the serious threat of the Continental League. The CL was going to put teams in Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, Denver, Houston, the Twin Cities, New York, and Toronto. MLB quickly filled in the gaps in Minneapolis, Houston, and New York and progressively grabbed the other cities of Atlanta, Dallas, and Toronto within 15 years. Contrast that with the Federal League where none of the teams survived, mainly because none of those teams made any money.

I still don’t see why anyone thinks that putting a team in Las Vegas is a good idea. A marginal metropolitan area combined with a struggling economy based on gambling? Seriously? New York is also dubious. New York also used to have three teams, two in the same league, and despite all of them being successful on the field it did not work financially. If there were three leagues with one NYC team in each league it might work, but two in the same league is going to lead to one of them leaving eventually. Yeah, the city has three NHL franchises but the Islanders have a perpetual money and attendance problem. And while I would love to put teams in Mexico and the Caribbean, those countries are not wealthy enough and, in many cases, politically stable enough to consider right now.

Finally, expansion does have a downside. The more teams the less likely any particular team will win a championship. As we learned from Montreal, the fan base will tolerate not winning anything only so much. This can be mitigated by divisions (and perhaps leagues) and playoff structures, but it is quite possible to have too many teams. Ask the National League circa 1899.

Paul G.
7 years ago
Reply to  Paul G.

One additional comment. I very much believe that if MLB thought they could expand to 32 teams they would. This would allow them to reconfigure each league into 4 divisions with 4 teams each, just like the NFL. The whole wild card was a kludge because they couldn’t justify a division with only 3 teams.

bucdaddy
7 years ago
Reply to  Paul G.

“Finally, expansion does have a downside. The more teams the less likely any particular team will win a championship. As we learned from Montreal, the fan base will tolerate not winning anything only so much.”

Yes. See my long-winded comment above.

dshorwich
7 years ago

A piece of errata, and a cavil:

The chart of the expansion years and number of teams added shows an expansion taking place in 1976. It was actually 1977.

To quote:

“…the influx of foreign-born players has easily made up for the lack of interest among American-born athletes, starting in earnest with Caribbean and Central American countries the mid-1970s and Asia starting in in the late 1990s.”

By the by, this sentence is missing an “in” in one place and has a superflous “in” in another. More substantively, it mischaracterizes the growth of Latin American talent in the game. Here’s a more accurate description:

From the early ’50s through the late ’60s the percentage of MLB players of Latin American origin grew slowly but steadily, and then plateaued in the late ’60s at 10-12% of the MLB population. It stayed at that level until the late ’80s/early ’90s, when it began to rise again.

Also, Asian players make up about 2% of the MLB population. I wouldn’t call that much of an influx. If Asian talent were freely available, that’d be one thing, but of course it isn’t.

Here’s some data in support of the above:

http://sabr.org/bioproj/topic/baseball-demographics-1947-2012

Expansion Sceptic
7 years ago

“Pick a list of possible sites (here’s a start)” says Jeff, and links to an article in which Frank Jackson conducted a detailed examination of a number of potential sites for new MLB teams.

Read the actual article, and you’ll find that none of Jeff’s suggestions are especially promising. Frank looked at the top 40 metropolitan areas in the US, and in every case the conclusion was one of the following:

1. Population not wealthy or sedentary enough to pay for season tickets/luxury boxes (cities that lack for wealth and military towns both fell into this category).

2. Little interest in baseball (Cities where even an AAA team has struggled)

3. Too much competition for entertainment dollars. This generally meant multiple ML teams nearby, several other sports franchises, or attractions like Disneyworld (Orlando) or The Strip (Las Vegas)

Charlotte and Austin were listed as possibilities in the future, if they can show robust population increases. To conclude, here’s a quote from the end of Frank’s article.

“While some of the above possibilities are intriguing, they all fall short in one or more areas.

The last time we heard anything pertaining to the number of teams in major league baseball, the buzzword was contraction. That was a decade ago. Since then, we’ve heard no more about contraction or expansion. In fact, we don’t hear much about relocation of existing franchises, other than the A’s moving somewhere else in their market area.

At this point in major league history, pulling up stakes and moving somewhere else may be riskier than staying put. Right now, if you’re an MLB owner, your hometown turf just might be greener than the ground cover on the other side of the fence. That may change someday, but in 2012 that’s the lay of the land.”

Blue
7 years ago

The money in SA is in the north part of the city. A southern-located Austin/SA team would be able to tap that as well.

Scott
7 years ago

One of the problems is that the best interest of baseball and the best interest of baseball owners aren’t aligned. It is in the owner’s interest to have as few teams as possible as it means their share of shared revenue pot is larger and the local tv deals and sponsorships are also likely larger. So in order for a new team to be beneficial to the owners, it will have to be in a market larger than the league average and in a city that is not within another team’s “territory.” This would seem to rule out a third team in the New York area.

However this is rooted in short-term thinking putting a team in a large and growing market like San Antonio would likely attract future fans and revenue dollars, but might not work over a shorter time frame. Such a team would have to avoid a bad stadium deal like Tampa has.

The limited number of team, along with revenue sharing and the draft, is one of the huge barriers to creating anything resembling a free market in American sports, with the fans and players as the harmed parties and the owners as the winners.

I don’t have the full details, but I would lean towards a 40 “major league” each with ten teams. There would be two tiers (with the American and National at the top), and relegation, which would hopefully prevent teams in the third (Cubs) and fourth (Astros) largest cities, with corporate sponsors to match, from deciding not to compete and pocket revenue sharing from years on end.

This Article Sucks
7 years ago

If you find baseball in its current guise ‘mediocre and boring,’ why don’t you stop watching it? At least stop writing about it.

Tommmy Lasordid
7 years ago

32 teams
16 each league
4, 4 team divisions in each league
8 winners advance to post season
no weenie wild cards

Spa City
7 years ago

Please no expansion. Contraction is what we need. MLB could get rid of Tampa and Oakland easily; both franchises are mired in third-tier cities with terrible, decaying ballparks. With 28 teams we would have an even # of teams in each league, so no more inter league play would be necessary.

But if expansion simply must occur, then please let it be Montreal and Vancouver.

If population was the main concern, then the expansion teams would go to NY, LA and Chicago even though they all already have 2 teams. NY is much more than 3 times the size of Pittsburgh or Cincinnati. NYC supported 3 teams for 50+ years.

Dan
7 years ago

The key is to expand in the big markets and reduce the dominance of the Haves in those markets. This would HELP Oakland, Tampa, and the rest of the Have Nots. Right or wrong, spot on or close, there’s many ways to compare teams and markets, and the top 2 markets (NY and LA) are way bigger than the rest:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Baseball_Bugs/population
http://www.businessinsider.com/mlb-chart-market-size-influences-payroll-in-baseball-2011-8
http://www.baseball-almanac.com/articles/baseball_markets.shtml

Address the Haves. Drop two teams around New York City–maybe in Jersey and towards Connecticut so that they also slightly affect Philly and Boston. Drop a team in LA to balance that market.

Over the next 10 years, find three more new locations. Likely bring back the Expos–note this also would affect Boston and NY a little. Maybe one or two southern teams make sense as metropolises continue to grow. Maybe Mexico, Puerto Rico, or even Cuba eventually work. Maybe San Antonio.

2 Leagues x 3 Divisions x 6 Teams = 36 teams

Balance the schedules as follows (not perfect balance, but closer):
60 = 12 games x 5 Division opponents (4 x 3 game series, 2 H, 2 A)
72 = 6 games x 12 League (2 x 3 game series, 1 H, 1 A)
30 = 5 games x 6 Interleague opponents (2 series, 2 or 3 @ H and 3 or 2 @ A). Rotate division pairings each year and alternative H/A game split each 3 year rotation. Every MLB team would appear in every MLB city every 3 years. Screw the “rivalries”. Instead, put more rivals into the same division. For examples, add the new NY teams into the NL and AL East and add the new LA team into the AL West (so both leagues have 3 CA teams each).
162 = total games.

Playoff:
– Each League advances 8 = 3 Division winners and 5 Wild Cards.
– Seed all teams by W-L except guarantee Division winners a top-4 spot for the first round only.
– Division winners and #1 Wild Cards get home field advantage. They start the 1st round up 1-0 in best of 5, then play H-A-A-H.
– Reseed between all rounds regardless of Division Winner or Wild Card status.
– Round of 8, play best of 5 (H-H-A-A-H).
– Play two rounds, best of 7 for Pennants and World Series.

a eskpert
7 years ago

Why expand MLB? Why not create a new Major League elsewhere? With MLB support, I’m sure NPB, KBO, and Taiwan professional baseball could be amalgamated and become popular. MLB would run everything, take a sliver, and possibly fund a team in Shanghai (The China Jurchens or something) or something.

Marc Schneider
7 years ago
Reply to  a eskpert

Better yet, why not have another major league that competes with the existing MLB; the AFL/NFL competition benefitted the players and, ultimately, the fans. But you would have to eliminate the antitrust exemption for baseball.

Damian
7 years ago

I stopped reading in detail after “[a]s the United States population has expands, so does the number of professional baseball teams.” From that inauspicious beginning, a skim indicated that this looked like a junior high debate team assignment.

pft
7 years ago

What if the declining offense is due to some other reason than an oversupply of talent. The expanded strike zone is certainly a reason for the decline in offense, at least partially, but what if there is not as much talent available.

There is a difference between Total Talent and Available Talent. Minor league salaries being what they are, the attractiveness of other sports with more scholarships, increased college costs and a higher student loan burden out of college means fewer college athletes and HS athletes will consider the MLB unless they are elite talent and in serious bonus money.

However, baseball is a unique sport with significant talent coming from latter rounds of the draft. It may be te talent in these rounds is declining, and since hitting a baseball is the hardest thing in baseball, a decline in offense is inevitable, especially with an increasing strike zone.

Sure, we still have Latino talent, but that talent seemed to peak in the steroid era and it may be that PED testing has had a disproportionate effect on this group given the ease of procuring these drugs in those countries and the make up of the Biogenesis group.

Also, with the aging of the baby boomers and the relative lack of interest in baseball among the young given the rapid decline in Little League participation, it may not make good economic sense to increase the teams in the US. Perhaps a team in Cuba and a couple of other cities in Latin America may make sense down the road

rdj3video
7 years ago

The next round of expansion should probably involve globalizing the game with teams being placed in other countries, instead of adding teams to existing U.S. cities. Sounds like an impossible feat and a travel nightmare, but MLB should think global, not U.S.A. regional if it ever wants to truly “expand” the game. Several interesting ideas about where to try have been presented in other comments.

Steinbender
7 years ago

Dear Hardball Times,

This is an impressive effort by your new article writing algorithm. It has all the key terms, divisive opinions and blue/red graphs we need. It even made a funny about the power Joe Torre yields! Just a little nit-picking.

At the start of the 7th paragraph we read, “Now, what follows is a matter of opinion.”

That’s after we’re informed that:
“the game is getting stale and mediocre.”
“Stubborn owners and/or players who don’t want to share their part of the financial pie.”
“Without expansion and if things remain static, scoring will likely go even lower…”
“Strikeouts are boring.”
“Everyone digs the long ball.”
And your reference to that danged “out of control strike zone,”

Later, I’m told that my memories of the McGwire-Sosa home run chase are what its all about. Fact is, I can’t buy into the MLB marketing objectives of your article unless there’s something, anything, with which to agree. We need more than just interleague play-bashing. All baseball fans dislike that.

Best wishes to your engineers though. Just a few more tweaks and the program should be ready to engage.

Casey Bell
7 years ago

Thanks to expansion, inter-league play, and expanded playoffs, the two best 2014 NL teams (Dodgers and Nationals) only played each other 6 times and neither made it to the World Series. Likewise, the two best 2014 AL teams (Angels and Orioles) only played each other 6 times and neither made the World Series. More expansion would just make things worse. West Coast stars like Trout and Puig and Kershaw and Baumgarden only visit cities outside their divisions for ONE series a year, giving fans in those cities little opportunity to see them in person. The Pirates and Giants did not play each other after July 30th despite being neck and neck for the final playoff spots. Ideally if teams are contending for playoff spots they should be meeting on the field during the heat of the pennant race but due to expansion some teams finish playing
each other after Memorial Day!

Casey Bell
7 years ago
Reply to  Casey Bell

I meant to say some teams finish playing each other BY Memorial Day, not “after”.

A couple other things. Expansion does not reduce the appearance of mediocrisy, it
increases it. From 1919 thru 1960, only 21% of teams won between 47 and 53 percent of their games. Since 1969’s expansion to 24 teams, the percentage of
teams winning between 47 and 53 percent of their games has increased to 26%.

Baseball does not need to expand. There are already more teams and players than even dedicated fans can keep track of. Don’t believe me? Quick, tell me the first names, the teams, and the positions of all players named Gonzalez, Johnson, Perez, Ramirez, or Rodriguez last season. Too hard? How about Sanchez, Wilson or Martinez? I’ll bet you can’t come close to doing it and neither ccould I.

I think that any sport needs to find the right balance between having enough teams to keep things interesting but not so many that teams rarely play each other and the playoffs become a crap-shoot. None of the author’s arguments
for expansion seem very compelling to me.

Marc Schneider
7 years ago
Reply to  Casey Bell

Agree with you completely. I simply cannot get excited about a playoff system that rewards mediocre teams that get hot for a couple of weeks, as we had this year. It’s nice for Kansas City but I really couldn’t give a damn about this World Series.

Yehoshua Friedman
7 years ago

Please, no more expansion. The birth rates in the developed world are below replacement rate, so previous population increase is not relevant. Cities are sick of ponying up their tax money for new stadiums. Talk of franchises in small market cities, especially in Latin America, is a pipe dream. How about a real World Series instead? Japan is pretty close to MLB quality. The NPB champion should get to be in the playoffs, followed by other Asian locations as the markets develop.

Statistics don't lie
7 years ago

I like the idea of a true World Series, but different to your proposal.

Perhaps national pride will enable the NPB champion to essentially become their All Star team. Could the goal evolve from each NPB team trying to defeat the others to all NPB team colluding to assemble one awesomely great NPB team so that Japan can compete better in the MLB playoffs?

Matt Lindsay
7 years ago

Each new MLB franchise needs 6 minor league affiliates. Where will they go?

Kevin B.
7 years ago

I think with the growth of the international market, and with the US/Cuba relations on the mend, that alone could warrant a two team expansion. But also, with the amount of talent that is present in the major league and minor league level, U.S. population trends, the money to be made (by cities, tv companies, and the league itself), and sparse open and willing markets in the west and southern US. These areas deserve a team more than say an Indianapolis or Rhode Island; Midwestern and Eastern teams would fall in the already saturated market and tricky home/tv turf wars. Places as aforementioned in the “American Top 40 Article”: Portland, Vancouver (Canada), Austin, Charlotte, or Nashville (A Winter Meeting Favorite), could all make a reasonable push for two more teams, and so could the smaller Memphis, Louisville, Salt Lake City, or New Orleans.

By expanding to a 32 team league it could mirror the NFL with four smaller divisions, thus either eliminating the wild card or mirroring the NFL playoffs (3 games 1st round, 3 games ALDS/NLDS, 5 games ALCS/NLCS, 7 game WS). That would likely have to cut the season a few days shorter or start the season a week earlier. An increase of playoff teams to 12 of 32 (like the NFL) would mean 37.5% of teams make the playoffs (like the NFL), compared to the 33% now (toughest for any US professional sport). Comparatively the elongated NBA and NHL playoffs are at 53% of teams. The other solution would be to just have two divisions with 6 teams, but I would doubt that, nor want that.

The 4 team divisions would require only two teams to switch Leagues (ironically, Arizona and Tampa Bay).
I think this would make the most sense with rivalries and traveling:

NL West:
COL
LAD
SD
SF

AL West:
LAA
OAK
SEA
POR or VAN or ARI

NL South
ATL
MIA
TB
TEN (Nashville) or CAR (Charlotte) or even Memphis.

AL South:
ARI or AUST
HOU
KC
TEX

NL Midwest:
CHC
CIN
MIL
STL

AL Midwest:
CHW
CLE
MIN
DET

NL East:
NYM
PHI
PIT
WAS

AL EAST:
BAL
BOS
NYY
TOR

Obviously, it would depend on what two teams got the expansion nod.
If implemented this could spark arbitrary arguments about the outdated argument of “changing the sanctity of the game.” And I know changing from AL to NL, and vice versa, isn’t as easy as it sounds, in fact there is of course tons of tape to cross with MLB and the two leagues themselves.

But MLB should expand because of reasons mentioned from the article above (US increase in pop, and short-term fix of spreading out pitching talent to increase run production ), plus: it would bring in more money and more fans from two large markets, it will benefit the fans between sparse markets, it will bring in more players in the abundant foreign market, and have benefits for the players (more opportunities for minor leaguers, ideal playing locations in the sunnier states, closer to home for some players, etc..), and the league itself ($$$).

Statistics don't lie
7 years ago
Reply to  Kevin B.

There is more money to share among the NY, LA, Boston, and Chicago markets then there is elsewhere in US. Introducing new, poorer teams to the league increases the advantage already enjoyed by the wealthy few. There will be thinner talent overall, and still the same few buying the lion’s share, and a slightly larger group competing for the leftovers.

There are 2 steps needed to move the system so that teams of various economic strength have better opportunity to assemble teams of similar talent. First, the megamarket teams should have their market sizes reduced by the introduction of new teams in their immediate market. (This will have more long-term impact than short-term. It’s not like Yankee or Dodger fans will just jump ship because another team is in town.) Second, salary caps should be instituted. MLB could take average team salary times 140% as the cap. The cap would be indexed against total annual MLB revenues. Teams would be free to spend plenty or not, but the extremes wouldn’t be as wide. Also, actual player salaries could continue to grow.

For new and relocating teams, the emphasis would be on financial and competitive viability. Not all cities who want an MLB franchise will get one – that’s reality. You or I may want to be millionaires too, but we face reality whether we like it or not.

Kevin B.
7 years ago

If that were true, you wouldn’t of seen both Chicago teams, both New York teams, and Boston miss the playoffs, oh or the giant market Phillies in a rebuild. Of course it starts off with two mediocre teams (i.e. Rays & D-Backs in the mid-90’s). But don’t be so naive. Remember how quickly the Arizona Diamondbacks took to take a World Series ring, and how about the the approach of the Rays f young controllable players found in great drafts make them eventual contenders (2008-present). Yes the mega-markets are tapped, and newer cities aren’t going to be making Los Angeles type tv deals, but don’t underestimate the “smaller” markets; a lot of areas aren’t represented. A lot of these cities host successful NFL, NBA, and/or NHL teams, plus MLB loves Nashvill for Winter Meetings.
With this extra wild card team, what the Kansas City Royals did last year, and the crazy and crazy frequent offseason moves, a lot of smaller teams are now competitors. And by increasing the playoff teams from top 33% currently to a projected 37.5%, it allows more “poorer” teams to compete more frequent (btw it’s more poor). In fact, before the second wild card was instituted, a mere 26.7% of teams made the playoffs, and during that time you’d see higher market clubs go on runs. Albeit, it’s only been a small sample size with the second wild card, however it’s simple math to figure out the more teams in the playoffs the better chances to 1. getting in 2. moving forward. The Royals weren’t supposed to get all the way to the World Series, but that’s the beauty of the wildcard. And that’s what teams like the Pirates work for the 2nd wildcard birth in a strong Central, and that the smallest teams like the Padres, A’s, Rays, and Astros have been working on getting there this offseason; not necessarily good enough to run the division the whole year, but good enough to make it to the playoffs and test their luck/skill/stats/money there.

Something I think you should of learned by now is that huge contracts more than likely turn bad sooner or later (Ryan Howard, Alex Rodriguez, etc..) and buying the best player for a few years takes these teams out of contention when the contracts put a stranglehold on the team.

Introducing teams into already large markets i.e. a third LA, Chicago, or New York team in unnecessary and will yield marginal gain for fans of those areas and marginal revenue (if any). It will require a third baseball stadium to be built in a city, and it won’t even gain a quarter more fans as expanding to an established big league city in other sports. Not to mention the tv companies are not going to like splitting up their territory, if you know anything able cable companies they are sharks, and the best way to feed the sharks is with fresh blood (not a picked dry carcass). Salary caps, would be nice in the sense that agents/players are trying to get good deals in future markets, thus expanding the markets continuously. And it’s harder for a team like Tampa Bay or Oakland to constantly compete with bigger teams for free agents, but by no means is it hindering the performance enough so to warrant one. Plus the whole Qualifying offer, allows those smaller teams losing big players to at least get another superstar back via the first round draft pick. Plus if bigger teams balk or waiver over QO rejectees (like we’ve seen with Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew last year), some players will start signing for less allowing more mid market teams to pounce, and more players (or at least the first) will accept a QO to provide services for the smaller market team for another year.

The most financially and competitive markets out their for an expansion belong to those Under 10 Top American cities that are currently lacking an MLB franchise, however they do have around 1.5 million people or more to prosper (with a few exceptions like Memphis). It doesn’t take a “statistician” to look at the large picture and smaller picture to figure that out.

Dave P
7 years ago

Adding 2 teams would be fine. Vegas is intriguing, but there’s a reason no major sports league has set up shop there yet.

Remember, while population does mean TVs, it does not automatically mean support. I’d add 2 Caribbean teams as soon as it was feasible. I recognize there’d be infrastructure issues, safety issues, etc., but the support would be immediate and total. Whether it’s Mexico City, San Juan, or Santo Domingo (D.R.), it would work. And depending on how quickly Cuba opens up, a team in Havana would be epic.

Mike S
7 years ago

Yes, 32 teams right now!: N.L. West: SF, LA, SD, AZ; N.L. Central: Col, St.L, Chi, Mil; N.L. South: Wsh, Atl, Mia, Havana or San Juan; N.L. East: NY, Phil, Pit, Cin; A.L. West: Sea, Oak, Anaheim, Vancouver or Portland; A.L. Central: Minn, Tex, Hou, K.C.; A.L. Great Lakes: Det, Chi, Cleve, Tor; A.L. East: Bos, NY, Balt, TB

Note: against relocation, but if TB or Oak deemed necessary: Montreal could sub in for TB; Sac for Oak.

Schedule: 162 games = 18 with 3 intra division opponents (54); 8 with 12 intra league opponents (96); 12 games remain for interleague, this could lead up to All-Star game, play a single division in the other league, play those 4 teams three games apiece. Done!

Play-offs: 4 division winners plus best second-place team; best 2nd place team vs. worst-record division winner in wild card game, then proceed as we have been doing these last few seasons.

SouthernBoiSB
7 years ago

Bud needs to move Milwaukee BACK to the AL & put Houston BACK in the AL. It makes NO sense to have 2 local teams in the same league (NYM -NL/NYY – AL, SF – NL/OAK – AL, LAD – NL/LAA – AL). & with that, HOU-NL/TEX-AL.

HE screwed it up by moving HIS team & HE can fix it by MOVING HIS TEAM!!!

I also think we should go to 32 teams because it makes setting up schedules & playoffs easier. Not to mention it makes things balanced.

But most importantly, it will ELIMINATE interleague play which SHOULD BE ONLY for the AS & WS Games!!! It RUINS those special events when they are no different than any other day of the season.

Also, the AS Game SHOULD NOT determine who is “HOME” in the WS. Take it back to leagues hosting alternating years.

It seems that as much as he tried to improve baseball, Bud ruined it!

mike
7 years ago

MLB Expansion

-NL East
Phillies
Mets
Pirates
Natonal

-NL South
Braves
Marlins
Rays
Expansion Team in Memphis

-NL Central
Cardinals
Brewers
Reds
Cubs

-NL West
Dodgers
Giants
Diamondbacks
Padres

-AL East
Yankees
Blue Jays
Orioles
Red Sox

-AL North
Twins
White Sox
Tigers
Rockies

-AL Central
Royals
Astros
Indians
Rangers

-AL West
Angels
Athletics
Mariners
Expansion Team in Las Vegas

Each division winner makes the playoffs. No wildcard teams. DH stays in American League only. Rockies move to AL (DH at Coors Field!) Rays move to National League. Cities of Memphis and Las Vegas are new to MLB. Pirates and Phillies good rivalry in the same division. The team with the better regular season record gets home field in the World Series. All playoff rounds are seven game series.
Outfield foul line umpires are standard in all games including spring training. Rosters increase to 30 during the regular season and postseason. Some teams have seven man pitching rotation. More platoons, pinch hitters and pinch runners. Extend safety net from backstop all the way past first and third base to prevent shattered bats and foul line drives from going in the stands. Put padding on all outfield walls including at Wrigley Field. Winner of the homerun derby wins a new car or truck. Reward the top five teams with the most sellouts a bonus future draft pick. Allow fans to vote for the Hall of Fame for a small fee that goes to charity or cancer research. Play baseball in the rain. Pay grounds crew more money.

mike
7 years ago

MLB Expansion

-NL East
Phillies
Mets
Pirates
Nationals

-NL South
Braves
Marlins
Rays
Expansion Team in Memphis

-NL Central
Cardinals
Brewers
Reds
Cubs

-NL West
Dodgers
Giants
Diamondbacks
Padres

-AL East
Yankees
Blue Jays
Orioles
Red Sox

-AL North
Twins
White Sox
Tigers
Rockies

-AL Central
Royals
Astros
Indians
Rangers

-AL West
Angels
Athletics
Mariners
Expansion Team in Las Vegas

mike
7 years ago

MLB Expansion example 3

-NL East
Phillies
Mets
Pirates
Nationals

-NL South
Braves
Marlins
Rays
Expansion Team in New Orleans

-NL Central
Cardinals
Astros
Reds
Cubs

-NL West
Dodgers
Giants
Diamondbacks
Padres

-AL East
Yankees
Blue Jays
Orioles
Red Sox

-AL North
Twins
Brewers
Tigers
Rockies

-AL Central
Royals
White Sox
Indians
Rangers

-AL West
Angels
Athletics
Mariners
Expansion Team in Portland

Don
7 years ago

36 Teams by 2030:

AL East. NL East

NY Yankees. NY Mets
Boston Red Sox. Phila. Phillies
Baltimore Orioles. Washington Nats
Tampa Bay Rays. Charlotte Knights
Toronto Blue Jays. Atlanta Braves
Montreal Expos. Miami Marlins

AL Central. NL Central

Chicago White Sox. Chicago Cubs
Cleveland Indians Cinncinati Reds
Detroit Tigers. Mil. Brewers
Minnesota Twins. St. Louis Cards
Kansas City Royals. Pittsburgh Pirates
Nashville Smokies. Colorado Rockies

AL West. NL West

Seattle Mariners. Van. Mounties
Portland Pioneers. SF Giants
San Jose Athletics. LA Dodgers
Los Angeles Angels SD Padres
Texas Rangers. AZ Diamondbacks
Houston Astros Mexico City Aztecs