So we all got together and tried to make a stand regarding this latest idea of realignment, in which there are two 15-team Leagues, with the Astros as the favorites for moving to the American League, no divisions, and the top five teams making the playoffs. Here's why we don't like it:
1. Even if this happens, and the Astros stay in the NL, it will be much harder for the Astros to make the playoffs (which is, admittedly, the idea). Over the last five years, the top five NL teams have averaged 90.4 wins. Under this system, the 2008 Astros, at 86-75 would have made the playoffs, or at least would have had to play that 162nd game to see if they finished ahead of the 86-76 Cardinals for third place in the NL Central, but 5th overall in the NL. The NL Central winner has averaged 89.4 wins over the past five years, one fewer than the top five teams in the League.
2. If this happens, and the Astros move to the American League, it gets harder. The top five AL teams have averaged 93.5 wins - 3.1 wins more than the top five NL teams. And if inter-league play is any indication, where the Astros have been 32-52 (.381 Win%), it's not going to get any easier.
3. To say it's not fair to Jim Crane is a little much - he did, after all, offer to pay more for the Rangers than Nolan Ryan did. He could have purchased an AL team. But he bought the Astros, decidedly an NL team. I'm okay with The Jim Crane Conglomerate getting upset about the news that their approval could be tied to whether or not they'll accept the move. That's an extenuating circumstance, one that The Apparatus has no control over.
It's similar to purchasing a company that makes potato chips. You have an agreement, you've had a press conference, and you're waiting on approval. Then the FDA comes in and says, "We'll approve you, but you have to make your chips out of whole grains." Okay, it's not a great analogy, and you would likely agree to it, but it still pretty much freaking sucks.
4. Have you enjoyed the rivalry between the Rangers and Astros? Good, because it's going to be crammed down your throat 18 times a year! Do you hate the Cardinals, the Cubs, and the Reds? Good, because you'll never really have to see them again! (Though, to be fair, the attendance bump that comes with the Yankees and Red Sox coming to town will be nice for Crane - but don't think you'll be in the majority, Astros fan, for the three-game set at Minute Maid against the Red Sox.) Much has been made about the Houston/Dallas rivalry possibilities, but what about the established rivalries with St. Louis and Chicago?
Consider this a running list, but we're curious about your thoughts...