Editor's note: This FanPost was originally published on December 2, 2018.
The A's just revealed their new ballpark plans to be on the waterfront in Oakland, fulfilling part one of two things that need to happen before expansion is considered. The other, the Rays figuring out their ballpark situation, is due by the 31st of December. Just days ago, Portland Diamond came to an agreement for a ballpark in the Oregon city. All signs point to expansion in the very near future.
So how about we play with that? Rob Manfred listed off six possible destinations for new MLB clubs, sending millions of hungry baseball fans in those regions into a frenzy. Portland, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Montreal, Charlotte, and Nashville by name, then also mentions Mexico as a possibility in Mexico City or Monterrey or others. Everyone has their opinions, but because this article is my take on what will happen, the front runners I see are Portland and Charlotte.
Portland is an open market, the nearest team all the way in Seattle, and has been ready for a team for decades. Charlotte is similarly untapped, a huge city already bigger than 5 current markets in the Majors. I think Nashville and Montreal are the close seconds, but the former two make more sense. For naming purposes (mostly because I'm ADD and like nicknames), I'm gonna assign the monikers Beavers and Hammerheads as the team names.
Expansion would most definitely bring on divisional realignment. Everybody is similarly confident that the two leagues would split into four divisions of four teams each, meaning that many teams are getting new division mates. Let's line them all up!
I propose the four divisions be called West, Central, South, and East. Portland will join the AL, and Charlotte the NL. It stacks up like this:
(Seattle finally gets a regional, divisional rival, and the travel isn't so bad on the west coast. Easiest division to put together.)
(Somebody was going to lose the travel battle, and it's Tampa Bay. Short of them moving to San Antonio or New Orleans, both unlikely, they have no divisional scenario that isn't a travel nightmare).
(Yep, Rox moving to the central. And Yikes, if this happened for the 2019 season it would easily be the best division in baseball. Competitive baseball would be a theme for a while here, but at least the Rockies are away from those dang Dodgers).
Now, the playoffs! Say goodbye to the Wild Card, it's division winners only. To help make sure there are fewer teams that get left out who deserve it, the schedules will also be more balanced. Mind you, not totally. I think the division teams should play each other in 4 series at least, with the remaining schedule split between the rest of the league and then perhaps one or two interleague divisions of teams. Also, as much as I hate it, the schedule drops to 154 games.
The LDS is a 7 game bout now as well, leading up to the 7 games LCS, and then finally the World Series.
Anyway, that's what I think. Where do you think the league should expand. What should we do with the divisions? The playoffs? Let's talk about that!