For my question on the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB) roundtable discussion, I asked the panel:
“Bud Selig’s special 14 man MLB committee has discussed a variety of topics that could improve the game. The topic that grabbed the most attention the past couple of days, is the controversial “floating realignment plan.” In this realignment, teams would not be fixed to a division, but free to change divisions from year-to-year based on geography, payroll and their plans to contend or not. To read Tom Verducci’s article on the matter, click the link http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/tom_verducci/03/09/floating-realignment/index.html
Would you be in favor of such an alignment? Why or Why not? “
The responses? Not one person in the ten responses I received was in favor of the realignment. That was what I expected when I sent out the question, though it should be noted that the results of this poll might have been different if this was the United Blue Jay or United Orioles Bloggers group. There were some really good responses to the question, with some of the more interesting ones listed below.
-Daniel Shoptaw of cardinal70.com-“Asking “Who’s going to win the NL Central?” and getting back “Well, who’s playing in it this year?” is not exactly the best way to bring in the casual fans.”
-Nick at Pitchers Hit Eighth-“I should make clear that I really appreciate the direction of the committee. They should be thinking out of the box, just like this suggestion. This is no doubt something on the minds of upper management around the league as the gap between haves and have-nots widens. The answer, however, does not lie in allowing those teams to continue to mismanage their assets. Hire smarter, draft better, spend more wisely. It’s been done, teams have won consistently with less.”
-Michael Riehn at whiteyball.com-“My solution is to change the revenue sharing system to where teams in the divisions with the higher payrolls get a bigger cut of the revenue pie. It makes sense even in a free market system when you consider that these teams play more games against the higher revenue teams (thus, it can be argued that they should get a bigger share of the revenue from these teams).”
Matthew Phillip at fungoes- ” The ridiculous idea of floating realignment is a reminder of the dangers of groupthink, and of relying on a cadre so-called experts to make decisions that are best handled by those who are more in touch with the ramifications of those decisions. Like many of Bug Selig’s changes to the game, floating realignment is a solution with unwelcome unintended consequences and that unnecessarily complicates where a simpler solution is available.”
-Justin Adams of intangibal.com- “The only thing about this that makes sense to me is the fact that teams need one another in order to compete, and therefore to entertain us. Baseball is beautiful and pulls at our heartstrings from a number of angles, but it’s also a lucrative business. I can understand a philanthropic desire save the Royals and Pirates from themselves, but then I look at the Marlins who have MLB’s lowest revenues…purchased in 2002 by Jeff Loria for $158 mil and now worth closer to $300 mil. Even as Mr. Loria pockets a $30 mil revenue-sharing check each year as opposed to reinvesting in his roster. His business model is his own, but the Marlins are just one example of why alignment is not necessary. Even more impressive when you consider their success within a division that the Braves had dominated as no other team in sports had ever before.”
Overall I thought the answers were very interesting and thorough. I am also against the idea of “radical realignment,” but I also appreciate that Major League Baseball is putting forth an effort to continually improve its product. As far as addressing competitive balance goes, if baseball really wants to make things fair to teams like the Blue Jays and Orioles, and I am not sure they should, but if they were to make some changes I think upping the luxury tax with some combination of forcing the teams to invest a higher percentage of their revenues into player payroll or the draft would be a better idea than something like a salary cap. There are countless solutions to put teams on a more equal playing field if MLB wanted to, such as taking away draft picks/position from a team that crosses a certain salary threshold. As a Cardinal fan, I hope things stay as they are in baseball, as the Cardinals have been quite successful with the current system in place.