The sale of the Hosuton Astros has been approved and they will officially move to the AL West in 2013. While the move creates two equal leagues of 15 teams each, it doesn’t come without a few issues. Teams like the Angels and A’s have made statements regarding the extra time zone they’ll have to travel to play a divisional opponent and, outside of when the Astros play the Rangers, there is also concern for other AL West teams as to how big of a draw the Astros will be when they come into town.
No matter what the move, there will always be people who have concerns to voice. Baseball, however, is really only concerned with making money and the addition of one wild card team to each league in 2013 is evidence of that. With this in mind, why not just bring in Arnold Schwarzenegger to blow the whole thing up and start from scratch? The big draw of interleague play is supposed to be the matching up of “natural rivals” (i.e. Yankees vs. Mets, Angels vs. Dodgers). Why eve bother with a gimmick? The only thing separating the natural rivals right now is the different leagues that they play in.
Note: Of course, to make this happen, a decision would have to be made about the designated hitter, likely employing it through both leagues. If you disagree, Arnold will destroy you.
The NL West: Angels, Athletics, Dodgers, Giants, Padres
This instantly becomes a division with two “natural rivals” in the Angels-Dodgers and A’s-Giants. The Padres are just chilling down in sunny San Diego, but would still have their old NL West rivalries with the Dodgers and Giants. It would also keep the ancient Dodgers-Giants rivalry alive.
The AL West: Astros, Diamondbacks, Mariners, Rangers, Rockies
This is the toughest league to promote, since the Rangers and Astros are the only real natural rivals. That’s just a consequence of the fact that there just aren’t enough major cities west of the Mississippi.
The NL Central: Brewers, Cubs, Cardinals, Twins, White Sox
In the NL Central, we keep the rivalries of the Brewers-Cubs and Cubs-Cardinals as well as provide more frequently the natural rivalry between the Cubs and White Sox.
The AL Central: Indians, Pirates, Reds, Royals, Tigers
There aren’t a lot of rivalries in this division, but the natural rivalry between Cleveland and Cincinnati is formed.
The NL East: Braves, Marlins, Nationals, Orioles, Rays
I’m not sure if you can actually have a baseball rivalry in the state of Florida, but the Rays and Marlins will face off more often in this division. The bigger rivalry would be the Nationals and Orioles, who’s organizations have already fought over territorial rights.
The AL East: Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees
Yankees-Red Sox stays alive and the inner New York rivalry between the Yankees and Mets becomes more relevant than ever. This division is clustered nicely in the northeastern corner of the country.