We already mentioned the basic premise of the four-division, no-league format that Baseball America laid out, but now we’ll show you that proposal in practice. Here’s how Ringoslby had the divisions looking:
"East: Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington. North: Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, both New York franchises and Toronto. Midwest: Both Chicago franchises, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Texas. West: Anaheim, Arizona, Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle."
It’s a stark contrast to the current setup. Personally, I can’t see MLB making such a drastic move right off the bat. It could possibly come to this down the road, but I think a more standard NFL-style format is more likely—at least initially.
By that, I mean sticking with the AL and NL while moving from six divisions of five teams to eight divisions of four teams. The AL West had four teams as recently as 2012, and the world somehow kept spinning during that time. For those worried about a team with a losing record winning a division title, it never happened during the almost 20 years of a four-team AL West. I’m not saying it would never happen, but it likely wouldn’t be an every year occurrence.
- AL Northeast: Baltimore, Boston, New York Yankees and Toronto
- AL Central: Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota
- AL Midwest: Colorado, Houston, Kansas City Royals and Texas
- AL West: Los Angeles Angels, Oakland, Portland and Seattle
- NL Northeast: Montreal, New York Mets, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
- NL Southeast: Atlanta, Miami, Tampa Bay and Washington
- NL Central: Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and St. Louis
- NL West: Arizona, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego and San Francisco
If it were up to me, I would put one expansion team in each league, while forcing just two current teams, Colorado and Tampa Bay—ironically, two of the franchises that came in the 1990s—to flop leagues.
A few of the divisions (AL Northeast, AL Central, NL Central and NL West) would remain unchanged—save for losing one team. Another two divisions (AL West and NL Southeast) would feature three teams from the same current divisions. That would leave just two hodge-podge divisions (AL Midwest and NL Northeast). That’s a lot less change than the four-division format.
The Kansas City Royals would face one the biggest changes, ditching division rivals Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota for Colorado, Houston and Texas. It’s one of the more spread-out proposed divisions, but it would keep the Kansas City Royals in the AL.
That leads to us looking at how the playoffs would look in both scenarios with 32 teams. Spoiler alert: The Kansas City Royals still wouldn’t have made the 2017 postseason.