NBC Sports: MLB considering expansion, radical realignment...

IHateDaveKerpen

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This article went live six hours ago. There's quite a bit to digest in here...

The league looks to be expanding to 32 teams. Portland and Montreal appear to be the favorites for new franchises.

The American and National leagues will be done away with entirely and replaced by four, eight-team regionally-based divisions: the East, North, Midwest, and West.

The playoffs will feature twelve teams.

The season will return to a 156 game schedule.

Thoughts? Any chance in hell of this happening?
 

Joe D Reid

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The NBC article is based off of a BA article which includes that realignment scenario caveated by "one proposal would be..." Neither the NBC article or the BA piece contain enough information to even reframe the idea in the active voice, let alone figure out how much support it has. Feels like a nothingburger.
 

grimshaw

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It's fun to discuss even if it is very unlikely, though expansion is inevitable and that will require dramatic restructuring regardless. That doesn't address where the A's and Rays will move to either, but I guess that could make realignment easier depending on where their new homes would be.

If it results in a more balanced schedule I'm for most of it, but it doesn't sound as though that is part of the proposal, since reduced travel is highlighted.

Obvious things that the players union would love:

-Reducing the schedule by 6 games favors the players, especially with an off day built in each week. I wonder if that means half of them being on Monday and half on Thursday.

-Presumably keeping the DH for both leagues. More full time jobs.

-Reduced travel and no obscenely quick turn around times for games

Obvious owner benefits:
-More playoffs
-More teams equals more revenue

Getting owners to agree on how divisions will be aligned will be the nightmare.

Does this mean everyone would play everyone?
 
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soxhop411

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There will be NO expansion/realignment until the rays and A’s stadium situation is figured out.


That’s a guarantee
 

E5 Yaz

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I wonder what Cafardo's lede will be to his Sunday column
 

grimshaw

the new rudy
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Just for fun:

Bos
NYM
NYY
Mont

Phil
Balt
Pitt
Wash

Tor
Cin
Cle
Det

Atl
Mia
Hou
I'll just use Charlotte as a relocation possibility for the Rays, but maybe Jacksonville/elsewhere in Fla.

Tex
Col
KC
St.L

ChiC
ChiW
Min
Mil

Sea
Port
SF
Somewhere in California for the A's.

Ari
LAD
SD
Ana
 

j-man

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Dec 19, 2012
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Arkansas
Just for fun:

Bos
NYM
NYY
Mont

Phil
Balt
Pitt
Wash

Tor
Cin
Cle
Det

Atl
Mia
Hou
I'll just use Charlotte as a relocation possibility for the Rays, but maybe Jacksonville/elsewhere in Fla.

Tex
Col
KC
St.L

ChiC
ChiW
Min
Mil

Sea
Port
SF
Somewhere in California for the A's.

Ari
LAD
SD
Ana
why would Portland get a team

here is my 32
Bos NYY NYM Philly
wash balt mont tor
CC CHW STL KC
MILW MINN CLE CINY
DET PITT Buff tb moves to buffalo Char
ATL MIA HOU TEX
COL ZONA LA SF
ANA OAK Moves to SJ SEA and van
 

Merkle's Boner

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why would Portland get a team

here is my 32
Bos NYY NYM Philly
wash balt mont tor
CC CHW STL KC
MILW MINN CLE CINY
DET PITT Buff tb moves to buffalo Char
ATL MIA HOU TEX
COL ZONA LA SF
ANA OAK Moves to SJ SEA and van
Portland seems much more viable than Buffalo, no?
 

j-man

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portland mayor and city coun does not want to pony up for a major leguge stam while about 13 y ago i watched a show where the AAA Buff aff had 30'000 fans a game
 

grimshaw

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why would Portland get a team

here is my 32
Bos NYY NYM Philly
wash balt mont tor
CC CHW STL KC
MILW MINN CLE CINY
DET PITT Buff tb moves to buffalo Char
ATL MIA HOU TEX
COL ZONA LA SF
ANA OAK Moves to SJ SEA and van
I was basing it on the article.
Mexico City could be a possibility too, I suppose.
 

Ale Xander

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Just for fun:

Bos
NYM
NYY
Mont

Phil
Balt
Pitt
Wash

Tor
Cin
Cle
Det

Atl
Mia
Hou
I'll just use Charlotte as a relocation possibility for the Rays, but maybe Jacksonville/elsewhere in Fla.

Tex
Col
KC
St.L

ChiC
ChiW
Min
Mil

Sea
Port
SF
Somewhere in California for the A's.

Ari
LAD
SD
Ana
According to OP, it's four, eight team divisions. Not 8 four team divisions

So my guess is:
North/$
BOS
NYY
NYM
CLE
DET
TOR
MTL
MIL?


East
BAL
DC
ATL
MIA
TB
PHL
PIT
CIN


Midwest
CHI
CHW
KC
STL
HOU
TEX
COL
MN

West (this should be the easiest)
ANA
LAD
OAK
SFG
SEA
SD
POR
AZ
 

Plympton91

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Expansion is ridiculously overdue. With the influx from Asia and Cuba, and the growth of revenue sharing and MLB.TV, they should be going to 36 teams over the next decade.

32 would be a nice start.
 

TomBrunansky23

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portland mayor and city coun does not want to pony up for a major leguge stam while about 13 y ago i watched a show where the AAA Buff aff had 30'000 fans a game
Incorrect, Coca-Cola Field only holds about 17k presently, used to hold close to 20k. Purportedly it was built with the ability to add a second deck to accommodate MLB capacity. Buffalo lost out on expansion to Miami and Denver.
 

DrewDawg

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Just for fun:

Bos
NYM
NYY
Mont

Phil
Balt
Pitt
Wash

Tor
Cin
Cle
Det

Atl
Mia
Hou
I'll just use Charlotte as a relocation possibility for the Rays, but maybe Jacksonville/elsewhere in Fla.

Tex
Col
KC
St.L

ChiC
ChiW
Min
Mil

Sea
Port
SF
Somewhere in California for the A's.

Ari
LAD
SD
Ana

That's nice, but article says 4 divisions of 8 teams.
 

brs3

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I'd draft Montreal & Mexico City(largest metropolitan city in the western hemisphere vs. 700k in Portland(also 3 hrs from Seattle), to further the baseball reach into central America. Move the Rays to Vegas, too.

Putting the CHC/CWS, NYY/NYM in the same league/division is problematic I think, from a scheduling, territory rights, and other sales perspectives, no?

I'm not sure how 4 divisions of 8 teams helps baseball, either. Perhaps the records would be different if it's an unbalanced schedule and they're playing within their division more. Let's look at one of these proposed divisions and their teams 2017 records:
West
ANA 80-82 - 21GB
LAD 104-58
OAK 75-87 - 26 GB
SFG 64-98 - 40 GB
SEA 78-84 - 23 GB
SD 71-91 - 33 GB
POR(expansion team)
AZ 93-69 - 11 GB

Assuming the expansion team sucks as most do, it'd be an uglier version of current standings, with the has & has-nots more glaring than they are.

edit: The article doesn't even address the DH. Is the assumption it would be league-wide?
 

Rudy's Curve

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I’ve long been in favor of regional divisions. Twelve playoff teams is absurd though. They’d never go back to eight, but the four division winners and four wild cards would be perfect.
 
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grimshaw

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I'd draft Montreal & Mexico City(largest metropolitan city in the western hemisphere vs. 700k in Portland(also 3 hrs from Seattle), to further the baseball reach into central America. Move the Rays to Vegas, too.

Putting the CHC/CWS, NYY/NYM in the same league/division is problematic I think, from a scheduling, territory rights, and other sales perspectives, no?

I'm not sure how 4 divisions of 8 teams helps baseball, either. Perhaps the records would be different if it's an unbalanced schedule and they're playing within their division more. Let's look at one of these proposed divisions and their teams 2017 records:
West
ANA 80-82 - 21GB
LAD 104-58
OAK 75-87 - 26 GB
SFG 64-98 - 40 GB
SEA 78-84 - 23 GB
SD 71-91 - 33 GB
POR(expansion team)
AZ 93-69 - 11 GB

Assuming the expansion team sucks as most do, it'd be an uglier version of current standings, with the has & has-nots more glaring than they are.

edit: The article doesn't even address the DH. Is the assumption it would be league-wide?
I can't imagine this will be done before 2020, so I don't think much can be gleaned from current talent levels. Manfred mentioned it was near to mid-term from happening but wanted the A's and Rays situation to resolve itself. Stadiums would have to be built first too which will take a few years. Unless they just use temporary facilities. https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/mlb-expansion-wont-happen-right-away-but-rob-manfred-has-three-cities-in-mind/
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Isn't that a 154 game season? 7 opponents times 22 games for each team in an 8-team division.

I've been asking for this for a long time and I want to see it with no inter-division play.
Why on earth would you want to see a team play only seven opponents 22 times a season? Not only from a competitive standpoint - it could lead to huge swings in records year to year based on where teams are in the competitive cycle - but it even more important; it would be boring as shit and bad for business. A team isn’t selling out the stadium for fans to come watch the dregs of their division 11 times a season. The unbalanced schedule is stupid and needs to go, it certainly should not get worse.
 

lexrageorge

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Isn't that a 154 game season? 7 opponents times 22 games for each team in an 8-team division.

I've been asking for this for a long time and I want to see it with no inter-division play.
The league owners will never agree. They want the gate revenue that comes from having star players from opposing teams come into their stadium.

A slightly unbalanced schedule could work; divisional rivalries do matter. But your idea is 100% unworkable in this day and age and will never happen.
 

rlsb

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Three games each with non-divisional opponents = 24 times 3 = 72 games and
twelve games each with divisional opponents = 7 times 12 = 84 games
seems like a possibility.
 

Dr Manhattan

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Oct 9, 2017
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Isn't that a 154 game season? 7 opponents times 22 games for each team in an 8-team division.

I've been asking for this for a long time and I want to see it with no inter-division play.
I would imagine much more likely it would be playing most games in your division and then a few games against one other division rotating (like the NFL does with their inter division matchups), or even a (horror) setup playing most games in division and a series against each other division.

It would indeed be cool if the 2nd/3rd in each division played a 1 or 3 game wild card and then the next series started directly after vs the 1st placed team, to really elevate the value of winning the division.

Would they rotate the inter divisional matchups for LCS?

(still dont see how owners would agree on cutting 8 games out of the schedule without any kind of offset compensation)
 

FormerLurker

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Charlotte strikes me as being in the same position now that Denver, Miami, and Phoenix were in the 1990s - it has become a major American city and ought to have a major league team. (I know that that is an out-of-date baseball-centric worldview and Charlotte has had a team in the real national pastime for 20+ years now. Interestingly, the 1990s expansion teams also had football teams well before they had baseball teams - for over 30 years in the case of Denver.)

The South in general strikes me as an overlooked area for expansion. I don't know enough about the individual cities to speak to whether they would be good markets, but Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, and Raleigh/Durham all have stable AAA franchises that I assume must get decent attendance, whereas Portland AAA baseball has failed more than once.

Buffalo is interesting. In 1900 (says Wikipedia) they had more people than Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, and if they had gotten an MLB team in that era as those cities did, it would probably be a successful franchise with a long and distinguished history. But I think in 2017 baseball is more likely to want to expand into a new area than to put another team in the Northeast (or the Midwest - otherwise Indianapolis might also be a potentially viable candidate).
 

B H Kim

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I still think that a third team in New York City (in the New Jersey suburbs probably) makes more sense than putting a team in a city like Charlotte or Portland (with metropolitan area populations of around 12% of the New York City metro area population).
 

Rudy's Curve

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It'll be interesting to see how they align the divisions. There are eight teams in the Central time zone and eight west of there right now which would make perfect divisions, so Portland would throw that off. If they do Charlotte and Montreal, it could look like this:

West: ARI/COL/LAA/LAD/OAK/SD/SEA/SF
Midwest: CHC/CWS/HOU/KC/MIL/MIN/STL/TEX
North: BAL/BOS/MON/NYM/NYY/PHI/TOR/WAS
East: ATL/CHA/CIN/CLE/DET/MIA/PIT/TB
 

moondog80

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I still think that a third team in New York City (in the New Jersey suburbs probably) makes more sense than putting a team in a city like Charlotte or Portland (with metropolitan area populations of around 12% of the New York City metro area population).
No way ownership of the Mets and Yankees goes for that.
 

sean1562

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Mexico City is a pipe dream. Any team down there will not be able to charge nearly enough to compete with any US team. Players will actively not sign there. It is at 7,382 feet as well, no?

Even with that market size they would be a perpetual low budget team. I cant imagine they would be able to get any massive TV contract either.
 

JimD

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The Buffalo train left the station a long time ago. The time to award Buffalo a franchise was the early 1990's when Bob Rich Jr. was much more actively engaged in the city and local support for the team was ballooning. He and his wife got burned in an early version of the waterfront redevelopment project that later became Canalside and have not been as active in the city since then. Rich is now 76 and living in Florida and the team has solid but not spectacular attendance for a AAA team in the Northeast.

There are no slam-dunk expansion cities, IMO. Who's to say that Montreal will be any more successful in the long run once the initial excitement wears off? Mexico City would be at odds with the supposed goal of the realignment plan to reduce travel. Charlotte, Nashville, Austin and Las Vegas are arguably as deserving of an MLB franchise as Portland is. Given the continued growth in the Southeast and Southwest, at least one expansion team should be situated in that belt.
 

grimshaw

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Three games each with non-divisional opponents = 24 times 3 = 72 games and
twelve games each with divisional opponents = 7 times 12 = 84 games
seems like a possibility.
Or 84 in the division and 36 against two of the other divisions.
They would have either one or two series each against two divisions other than their own and rotate each year. I'd love to see them play every team, but don't think that reduces travel much overall.

I would think with the built in days off that it would decrease double headers significantly as well.
 
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Rudy's Curve

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Or 84 in the division and 36 against two of the other divisions.
They would have either one or two series each against two divisions other than their own and rotate each year. I'd love to see them play every team, but don't think that reduces travel much overall.

I would think with the built in days off that it would decrease double headers significantly as well.
I'm not sure how you'd allocate 36 games against eight teams.
 

charlieoscar

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Sep 28, 2014
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Why on earth would you want to see a team play only seven opponents 22 times a season?
Well, there were two leagues with 8 teams each from 1901 through 1960, then 10 teams through 1968. People watched the game that way for a long time and unless they had easy access to a city with teams from both leagues, they basically were AL or NL fans. The All Star Game meant something because you then got to see the other league's stars. Your league winning the World Series was better. If it weren't for the DH rule today, you could have one big league. I know, it's the money but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Why not have four different, separate leagues playing a shorter regular-season schedule? They could easily make up the money with play-off games and not extend the season that long..

As for inter-league play, it is unbalanced. Even divisional play. Teams in different leagues/divisions don't get the same inter-league/inter-divisional opponents. It's better now that they have expanded inter-league play than it was when it was first started but it is still uneven.

There are 750 players on the 25-man rosters today and if there were only 16 teams you would need but 400. Just think how talented those 16 clubs would be.
 

Rudy's Curve

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A 3 game series against 4 of the teams (12) and a home and away against the other 4 (24).
That's pretty imbalanced from a competitive standpoint. That exists to an extent with interleague play, but at least that has a natural rivalry aspect to it. Playing every interdivisional team three times (and every divisional team 12) is as balanced as you're going to get.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Well, there were two leagues with 8 teams each from 1901 through 1960, then 10 teams through 1968. People watched the game that way for a long time and unless they had easy access to a city with teams from both leagues, they basically were AL or NL fans. The All Star Game meant something because you then got to see the other league's stars. Your league winning the World Series was better. If it weren't for the DH rule today, you could have one big league. I know, it's the money but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Why not have four different, separate leagues playing a shorter regular-season schedule? They could easily make up the money with play-off games and not extend the season that long..

As for inter-league play, it is unbalanced. Even divisional play. Teams in different leagues/divisions don't get the same inter-league/inter-divisional opponents. It's better now that they have expanded inter-league play than it was when it was first started but it is still uneven.

There are 750 players on the 25-man rosters today and if there were only 16 teams you would need but 400. Just think how talented those 16 clubs would be.
Really, you're going with "they used to do it"? The time frame you're talking about, the vast, vast majority of people that even saw games were there in person or listened on the radio - games weren't televised like they are now. There also was a travel consideration back then that don't exist now. All Star games meaning something falls very far down on the list of things people give a shit about, because the players don't give a shit about it. It's impossible to recapture that nostalgia, sorry.
 

patoaflac

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As said, Mexico City ia a pipe dream. Although many people follow baseball, soccer is the sport 95% of people follow and soccer stadiums are seldomly sold out. Economic situation is very very difficult for the great majority.
Regarding expansion I don't like it (as if any one would care). Two things:
1. Talent is diluted, there are a lot of players right now that aren't MLB caliber.
2. I like to follow all games and all players, as close as possible. It's quite difficult right now; with more teams, more difficult. Day in and day out, I can't remember who's pitching in all games and can't remember all players in all teams. Been a sport that's played daily, having a lot of teams it becomes very difficult to follow it in it's integrity.
 

BoSox Rule

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The elevation in Mexico City is close to 7,400 feet. That would be horrible baseball.
 

Infield Infidel

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I would prefer 4 divisions in two nationwide leagues. But if this is what it takes to stop teams from playing the same four teams 76 times, I'm all for it.

For 154 games, the schedule should be pretty easy:

Intradivision - 78 games
6 teams 11 games each
1 team 12 games (1v2, 3v4, 5v6, 7v8 from the previous season)

Interdivision - 64 games
8 teams - 8 games each

Interleague - 12 games
4 teams - 3 games each
(Half of one division from the other league, on a four-year rotation)
 
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FormerLurker

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Sep 23, 2012
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I agree that Mexico City is a dubious idea for more than one reason, but there is a Mexican League team in Mexico City right now (Los Diablos Rojos), as well as teams in nearby cities that have similar elevations. How has the elevation affected their play?
 

patoaflac

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The elevation in Mexico City is close to 7,400 feet. That would be horrible baseball.
Yep, another factor. Monterrey would be a better choice, but economics wouldn't permit it, unless MLB subsidizes that franchise, for the internationalitation of the game, which I would consider a little absurd.
 
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patoaflac

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I agree that Mexico City is a dubious idea for more than one reason, but there is a Mexican League team in Mexico City right now (Los Diablos Rojos), as well as teams in nearby cities that have similar elevations. How has the elevation affected their play?
Mexico has two leagues: The Mexican League (summer league from March till August), and The Pacific Coast League (winter league from October till January). The winter league is played almost exclusively in the pacific northwest and the summer league is played in all the nation. The only city with a high altitude which has a team is Mexico City; scores are always higher here; curveballs don't break as in the coast. There used to be two teams, Diablos and Tigres, but because of small crowds, Tigres went to Puebla first and now to Cancun and are now owned in part by Fernando Valenzuela.
 

Hank Scorpio

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Is TB to Puerto Rico a possibility?

Or maybe another Florida market? It seems odd that such a big state would only have one team.

NC, Vegas, Utah?
 

BigMike

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Mexico City is a pipe dream. Any team down there will not be able to charge nearly enough to compete with any US team. Players will actively not sign there. It is at 7,382 feet as well, no?

Even with that market size they would be a perpetual low budget team. I cant imagine they would be able to get any massive TV contract either.
I'd agree. for a number of reasons.

The altitude would make it a poor game. I'd say the optics of spending 2 billion dollars (stadium and expansion fee, etc) to bring a team into a region with such abject poverty from the vast majority of its millions of people would look bad. I think you'd have a very hard time getting people to play there. And honestly it is really far away. There is only one other mlb team within 1100 miles . then add in the customs type stuff and every single road trip is a royal PIA

Is TB to Puerto Rico a possibility?

Or maybe another Florida market? It seems odd that such a big state would only have one team.

NC, Vegas, Utah?
In terms of PR, I could imagine some politically motivated stunt especially given the current environment, but it would be a disaster. The money isn't there to support the team. Basically the league would have to run it as a charity
 

Spacemans Bong

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The Buffalo train left the station a long time ago. The time to award Buffalo a franchise was the early 1990's when Bob Rich Jr. was much more actively engaged in the city and local support for the team was ballooning. He and his wife got burned in an early version of the waterfront redevelopment project that later became Canalside and have not been as active in the city since then. Rich is now 76 and living in Florida and the team has solid but not spectacular attendance for a AAA team in the Northeast.

There are no slam-dunk expansion cities, IMO. Who's to say that Montreal will be any more successful in the long run once the initial excitement wears off? Mexico City would be at odds with the supposed goal of the realignment plan to reduce travel. Charlotte, Nashville, Austin and Las Vegas are arguably as deserving of an MLB franchise as Portland is. Given the continued growth in the Southeast and Southwest, at least one expansion team should be situated in that belt.
Literally everything structural that caused the Expos to fail would be addressed by virtue of getting an expansion team.
 

Hank Scorpio

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This is my "proposal" - seems to make sense to me. A's and Rays gone, new teams are Montreal, Portland, Nashville, Charlotte.

Got rid of the "East" division, and made a "South" instead.

mlb_expansion.jpg

Standings using 2017 W-L would look like...


North:
Cleveland Indians 102-60 (-)
Boston Red Sox 93-69 (9)
New York Yankees 91-71 (11)
Toronto Blue Jays 76-86 (26)
Pittsburgh Pirates 75-87 (27)
New York Mets 70-92 (32)
Philadelphia Phillies 66-96 (36)
Montreal Regents ------


South:
Houston Astros 101-61 (-)
Washington Nationals 97-65 (4)
Texas Rangers 78-84 (23)
Miami Marlins 77-85 (24)
Baltimore Orioles 75-87 (26)
Atlanta Braves 72-90 (29)
Nashville Stars -----
Charlotte Knights -----


Midwest:
Chicago Cubs 92-70 (-)
Milwaukee Brewers 86-76 (6)
Minnesota Twins 85-77 (7)
St. Louis Cardinals 83-79 (9)
Kansas City Royals 80-82 (12)
Cincinnati Reds 68-94 (24)
Chicago White Sox 67-95 (25)
Detroit Tigers 64-98 (28)

West:
Los Angeles Dodgers 104-58 (-)
Arizona Diamondbacks 93-69 (11)
Colorado Rockies 87-75 (17)
Los Angeles Angels 80-82 (24)
Seattle Mariners 78-84 (26)
San Diego Padres 71-91 (33)
San Francisco Giants 64-98 (40)
Portland Pioneers -----

I think there's a really strong case to be made for the possibility of a team to win their division's wild card outright, especially in the case of the "South" division. Would the 78 win Rangers really deserve a shot at the 97 win Nationals?
 
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