Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why We Hate The Idea Of Realignment

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...


gwd7727 said...

I hate the idea. I love National League baseball and hate American League baseball. I can't stand the intra league play, except when it is in Minute Maid Park and love watching AL pitchers trying to figure out what to do with a bat and what to do if they happen to hit the ball. And I love the NL games that are done in 2 hr and 15 minutes. And the manager counts in the NL. Must I go on. Please, please, do not move the Astro's to the AL.

Andrew said...

First of all I cant stand the idea of having to get used to the jr leagues jr style of baseball. But, if we get switched to the AL we instantly become the worst team for the next 10+ years as we have to completely revamp our scouting and player development system to fit the AL style of play.

Did anyone see Jim Bowden's proposed realignment? Basically threw everything out of the window (including the DH) and made divisions based on geographic relationships (although he stuck Seattle in our division). If it had to happen I would be ok with his proposal but it makes too much sense so it probably wouldn't happen.

Kevin said...

I hate the idea too, but I'm not sure you're answering this question the right way: for the Astros' playoff chances, what matters is not how many games the top five teams win, but just how many games the fifth-place team wins (since that's what you need to beat to get into the playoffs).

Under the current system, the Astros need to beat either the Central champion or the wild card winner. Over the last five years, the Central/Wild Card team with the lower record has averaged 88 wins, while the team with the fifth-best record has averaged 87.6 wins.

The only year in which the current system would have favored the Astros' playoff hopes was 2007, when the Cubs won the division with the league's sixth-best record.

Moving the Astros to the AL would, of course, hurt their competitiveness terribly.

Jayne said...

Don't forget all the 9:00 and 9:30 games we'd be playing on the west coast. I work for a living. Those are hard when you get up at 5:30.