IN Formal Letter to MLB’s Manfred, New Scheduling Scheme Proposed
Many proposals have been written in recent years by me and others about how to modify the current Major League Baseball schedule.
Officially on September 7, I dropped into the U.S. mail a letter to major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred which outlines some scheduling specifics to which I am now going to publically write about. Call this if you want baseball’s Square Deal as far as scheduling is concerned, after all with a writer named Reginald Deal as the author of such a plan, and given my love for baseball and the weather that equals my interest in history and politics, well you get the idea.
The mathematics based on the current 162 game schedule are strait forward. A team plays each of the four divisional opposition clubs 14 games each, seven home and seven away. Each series is scheduled as one three-game and one four-game series at each ballpark, so that 56 total games are played within the division. The remaining teams outside the division within the same league are scheduled for six games, three home and three away, thus adding another 60 games to the schedule and creating a total of 116 games played inside the league. The remaining 46 games are scheduled as interleague contest against all 15 teams from the opposite league. A team from one league would host seven teams from the other circuit for three games each at home, while playing seven more on the road for three games. This takes care of 42 interleague games, the remaining four would be against a 15th team as a two home and two away series played on four consecutive days.
This scheduling format would fit perfectly into what MLB currently uses for its scheduling model, as 51 total series would be played, 15 interleague, 20 interdivision within the same league, and 16 within the same division.
My proposal takes things even further though. It calls for home field in the World Series to go to the best team in terms of win-loss record, the only exception being if the better team was a wild card while the team from the other league won its division, in which case the division title earns the weaker team home field. It also allows for a 154 game scheduling provision where by the schedule is simply reduced by cutting the total number of divisional games from 14 to 12 against each opponent. All series would in most cases be scheduled for three games, though in unusual situations such as the
Friday-Monday home series Boston gets for Patriot’s Day, a four game series would be scheduled and the visiting team would play just two games on its return to Fenway, thus making it a requirement that such a series always be scheduled against a team in the division.
The schedule also allows for an expansion to 32 teams and creating a pair of leagues with four divisions each. IN this instance, the number of interleague games increases from 46 to 48, three games at home against eight teams, three against the remaining eight on the road. The number of games played against teams inside the same league outside the division would remain at six each, three home and three away for a total of 72. This then leaves divisional play, where three opposition teams would again be schedule for 14 games, seven home and seven away as mentioned above if scheduling for 162 games, or reduce the total to 12 games each against each of these three teams and create a 156 game schedule.
There is one other note to mention concerning the scheduled based on expansion. It would not expand the number of teams in the post season, but instead create a wild Card game where the team that was the wild Card would travel to play a single game against the division winner with the weakest record. Not only does this create competition for the lone wild Card berth like we had before, it also creates a competition where by the teams that are winning a division will want to continue to play their best possible lineup to avoid being that 4th seed and thus falling into that playoff game.
I have one additional note concerning expansion that is referenced in the letter to commissioner Manfred. It is an observation that states that if no expansion team is placed in the Pacific time zone, either the Diamondbacks or Rockies will have to move to the AL and allow for the Astros to return to the NL, so that a pair of true western divisions containing four teams each are created. If an expansion team did go to the west, the Rockies would be required to join other teams from Texas or the Midwest in such a divisional structure.
Will these proposals be considered, who knows. One thing is clear to me, baseball can come up with a schedule that is more congruent, more symmetrical, and certainly one that could and would be truly balanced and equitable.