Proposing a Third Option for MLB’s Schedule - The Hardball Times
Frank Firke of The Hardball Times attempts to fix baseball in this break down of an alternate MLB schedule. The goal of the refiguring is to ensure the best team has the best chance of winning a title; done so by taking the heat off of an anything-can-happen postseason bracket. Instead, the champion would be decided European soccer-style as the holder of the game’s best regular season record.
As someone who sees a lot to love about the unpredictability of October baseball, I have my reservations. But there are legitimate injustices in the schedule's present state, and the introduction of an additional top and bottom conference would undoubtedly add a layer of competition to the game.
It’s probably a more radical proposal than something the league will jump for, but for the sake of consideration, let’s take a look at what this might be like for the Rockies and their fanbase in the coming year.
To begin, the Rockies are a solidly bottom conference team, meaning they would not playing for a championship in 2016. Hold your jokes. In order to contend the following year, they would need to finish this season with one of the three best records in their conference. If they managed that, they would be bumped into the top conference and become contention eligible in the 2017 season. However, if expectations for the 2016 Rockies do in fact turn out to be true, Colorado will remain in the bottom conference through 2017.
This loads the team with incentives to win now (or soon) as the current crop of highly anticipated prospects nears major league readiness. The system would, at the very least, ensure we had a little more to talk about during the offseason.
The proposed changes to the MLB schedule opt for a more even distribution of opponents. The Rockies would play seven games against all other bottom conference team and three against every top conference team. This means no combination of the Dodgers’ fleet of left-handed starters, Paul Goldschmidt or the Even Year could overturn the Rockies’ hopes for a winning season -- since divisional games would not be included in the 143-game total.
The 20-game divisional schedule would be used to place the winner of each division into a post-champion pennant race, alongside two other teams (the selection criteria of which is still up for debate). This is where the Rockies, as a bottom conference team, could still play for post-season accolades.
Of course, this is a brief and loose hypothesis, as Firke’s proposal is a great deal more detailed and thorough. We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on fixing the structure of the game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers added Japanese free-agent Kenta Maeda, 27, Thursday. The deal is reported by Christopher Meola to be an 8-year, $24M agreement, with $10-$12M per year incentives also included.
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