MLB Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred's "Back to the Future" realig - WNEM TV 5

MLB Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred's "Back to the Future" realignment plan

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MANFRED'S 2015 “BACK TO THE FUTURE” REALIGNMENT PLAN

 An unauthorized tale by Scot Johnson

November 12th, 2015

Breaking news out of New York today.   A flying Delorean landed in front the Major League Baseball offices this morning at 10:04am.

The Driver or Pilot Dr. Emmett Brown and his partner Marty McFly arrived to warn MLB commissioner-elect Rob Manfred about a problem with the Earth's gravitational pull.   They told the commissioner that if the Marlins and Cubs don't face each other in the 2015 World Series, the earth's gravitational pull will become unstable and our timeline will be taken over by Biff's evil gambling empire.  A timeline known to many as 1985A or Biff-horrific.

According to a reporter outside his office, when hearing this news Manfred screamed “Great Scott!” and said he had to come up with a plan.

Manfred working in secrecy throughout the day developed a plan to expand and realign MLB into four leagues of eight teams each.     He will formerly be making the announcement of the 2015 realignment and expansion plan on December 11th during the winter meetings in San Diego.

A complete review of this “Back to the Future” plan can be found below.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL 2015

AMERICAN LEAGUE

NATIONAL LEAGUE

FEDERAL LEAGUE

PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE

DETROIT TIGERS

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

HOUSTON ASTROS

SEATTLE MARINERS

CLEVELAND INDIANS

CINCINNATI REDS

TEXAS RANGERS

COLORADO ROCKIES

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

MONTREAL EXPOS

NEW YORK METS

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

SAN DIEGO PADRES

BOSTON RED SOX

CAROLINA KNIGHTS

CHICAGO CUBS

LOS ANGELES ANGELS

NEW YORK YANKEES

ATLANTA BRAVES

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

TAMPA BAY RAYS

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

WASHINGTON SENS

MIAMI MARLINS

MINNESOTA TWINS

OAKLAND ATHLETICS


WHY FOUR LEAGUES?

Manfred explains that going to four leagues is a “Back to the Future” move for MLB.   First it brings a league to its original size of eight teams.   Second he says since the leagues are based by time zones, it will create more regional rivalries and will be better for travel.  He also likes the fact that the teams that reach the World Series will not have played each other during the regular season.  Restoring the days prior to interleague play.  

Why Pacific Coast League name?  If the Giants and the Dodgers do not move out west for the 1958 season, the old Pacific Coast League could have matured into a third major league. 

Why the Federal League name?  The Federal League was considered baseball's third major league 100 years ago.   It opened in 1914 and folded in 1915.   Its greatest gift to baseball was Wrigley Field.  Plus who doesn't love the movie Slap Shot.  I digress. 


League vs League schedule rotation

The alignment will rotate every three years.

2015

American League vs Federal League

National League vs Pacific Coast League

2016

American League vs Pacific Coast League

National League vs Federal League

2017

Pacific Coast League vs Federal League

National League vs American League


POST SEASON

The post season grows from 10 teams to 12 in this format.    Each League will feature its 2-seed hosting its 3-seed in the Wildcard round.

The winners then play the leagues regular season champ in a five game LCS (formerly the Division series).

The pennant winners that faced each other during the regular season faceoff in a seven game series.  This round is renamed the PWCS.   (Pennant Winners Championship Series)

The winners from that round meet in the World Series.

*Manfred considers changing the name Wildcard Round to Lightning Round.   He says wildcard sounds too much like football.  Plus it reminds him of the movie “The Natural”.    The four Wildcard (Lightning) Round games give MLB four game sevens to kickoff (whoops) the playoffs.

  REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE

 MLB considered the balanced schedule of each club playing 14 games against league opponent and 8 against each rival league member.   It comes out to a balanced 162.   But instead chose 6 games against rival league teams and 16 against each league opponent.   This comes to 160 games.   The two remaining games are added to one league rival series.     This way rivals like the Cubs/Cards, Red Sox/Yankees and Dodgers/Giants can maintain playing 18 games against each other every year.    

Manfred also calls for each club to host and play one double-header on the road each month.   This takes two weeks off the regular season schedule allowing the World Series to finish no later than the 3rd week of October.

With only four teams earning byes instead of six, the pressure is now greater to win the regular season title to avoid the one game playoff.

Broadcast partners were excited to have more games in traditional time slots.   Under MLB's new rotation, teams in the NL and AL will play all their regular season games in the Eastern Time zone once every three years.

  ALL-STAR GAME

Players from the leagues that face each other during the regular season will make up one team.  The winner earns home field in the World Series.

In the 2015 game the NL-PCL team beat the AL-FL 5-4 on a two run double in the 8th inning by the Cubs Goldie Wilson III.  

DH RULE

MLB ruled that the DH would become the Home Team Managers choice 3-hours before game time.  

Giants manager Bruce Bochy likes the idea: “Anytime I can get Bum a stick and put a Big Papi on the bench or in the field I'll take my chances”.

Eventually Managers wanted less pressure and unofficially adopted the DH.  The “choice rule” became a novelty being used only once a month across MLB.

  EXPANSION

Expansion to Montreal and Charlotte.   

Bringing the Expos back as American League team gives them a natural rival in Toronto.  Charlotte also fits in nicely with the NL's southern flavor.  

Manfred put feelers out in both markets and secured ownership groups for both markets in early January 2015.   The price tag? (Uses Austin Powers voice) One billion dollars!  The expansion draft was held the weekend before the Super Bowl.  

SWITCHING LEAGUES

Washington's move back to the AL also reestablishes a part of the leagues original footprint.   Plus it also fans to flame the rivalry with the Orioles.  


Tampa's switch to the NL is also a geographic move that makes sense.   The Rays are now bunched with Miami and Atlanta.

WASHINGTON CHANGES NAME

 “You can't be the Nationals in the American League” claimed Washington owner Mark D. Lerner. ” So we went back to the future by becoming the Senators”.   

This also was the key leverage for the NFL to get the Redskins to change their name.   Lerner was at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's Super Bowl Party in February of 2015 and ran his name change idea by Goodell four weeks before making the official announcement.   Goodell then convinces Redskin's owner Daniel Snyder to do the same.   The new name is a big hit with the fans and the souvenir sales.

This becomes a turning point in Goodell's term.    He also came up with another big idea that I will have to tell you about at a future time. 

 Copyright 2014 Scot Johnson. All rights reserved
 
Copyright 2014 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved



















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