As I sat watching the Red Sox get walloped by the Colorado Rockies last week, I stumbled across some disgruntled tweets from our very own Paul Prims. He echoed some thoughts that I had been having all season, namely that the Sox weren’t playing within their division, or even their league down the stretch.
Now, everything I say has to be taken with some grain of salt, as most teams were playing inside their divisions, but the Red Sox were one notable team who had no such luck.
Granted, the Rockies are something of a whipping post out west, and the Red Sox could have easily taken both games of the series. But the problem here isn’t that the Sox lost, it was who they lost to. In their quest to claim the American League’s top seed, there is frankly no excuse for Boston, or any team in that position to be playing someone in the National League.
This whole issue boils down to Bud Selig and MLB’s groundbreaking decision to move the lowly Houston Astros to the American League west. Not only does this force Interleague play on teams every day of the season, it also means teams may be racking up wins and losses against teams who they frankly have no business playing.
This is no knock on what either Texas or Oakland has done this season, however, both teams play against the Astros 19 times in a season, Texas owns a 17-2 record against the ‘Stros while Oakland is 15-4. Compare those numbers to the Sox best intradivision record, a 13-6 mark against the New York Yankees.
In my opinion, this system is broken, and could use a fixing.
Mr. Selig, read close, because here’s my suggestion. This is going to draw a lot of displeasure from the Player’s Union, but I say play 12 more games a year. 162 is a seemingly arbitrary choice that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me so instead bump the total up from 162 to 174. Why 174? Easy, six games against EVERY team, three at home, three away, thus evening out the lopsided totals that teams can rack up against cellar dwellers.
The second and final proposal is to eliminate the current division scheme. Now I don’t mean leagues, leave the American and National leagues in place but do away with the East, Central, and West portions. Then when the Playoffs roll around, take the top eight teams in each league and move forward with a traditional bracket style progression, in which the top seed plays the eighth seed and so forth.
This won’t solve every problem, but I think it would certainly help. It would also allow teams who play behind perennial powerhouses, such as Detroit, Texas or Oakland a better chance to make it into October.w