The American League made additional changes within a few years, but the National League alignments remained the same for 24 years, through the season. In , the American League expanded again, going from 12 teams to 14 teams. A new franchise, named the Mariners, was also awarded to Seattle to replace the ill-fated Pilots. With the expansion, the existing East and West divisional structure was maintained.
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Each division was increased from 6 to 7 teams: Toronto was added to the East Division, while Seattle joined the West Division. This alignment was maintained for 17 years, through the season. Despite the AL expansion in , the National League remained at 12 teams until , when it added 2 new franchises, the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins.
Both of these teams represented forays into new, formerly untapped markets: The Rockies, based in Denver, were marketed to the vast Mountain States area between Kansas City and California. For the season, the league retained its existing divisional structure, adding Florida to the East Division and Colorado to the West. With 14 teams in each league, both leagues switched to a three-division format in , adding a Central Division in each league and realigning the East and West Divisions.
MLB also created a new playoff structure, adding a wild-card playoff berth for the non-divisional winner with the best overall record, and a new playoff round, the Division Series, to determine the two teams that would advance to play for the league pennant. The final round of expansion to date occurred in , when each league added one new team. The D-backs had early success, winning the World Series in , just their fourth year. The Rays were less successful initially, but they did win the AL pennant in and were back in the playoffs in and The expansion to 30 teams, with an odd number of teams 15 in each league, created potential scheduling problems.
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The Milwaukee Brewers agreed to transfer. But the unbalanced league alignment was maintained through the season. The move resulted in balanced divisions for the first time since , with 5 teams in each division. Since each league now has 15 teams, the new alignment requires additional interleague play. MLB also added a second wild card team in each league in , with a single "play-in" game between the two wild cards to determine which team will advance to the Division Series.
The new format creates an additional incentive for teams to win their division. Speculation arises periodically about whether Major League Baseball will expand again, or whether smaller market teams will relocate. Expanding from the current 30 teams to 32 or more would bring baseball to additional markets. On the other hand, opponents of further expansion argue that Major League talent is already diluted. Which cities or metropolitan areas would be likely candidates for expansion? Considerations generally include population, income, media penetration, and baseball tradition. Currently, 25 of the 30 teams are located in 21 of the 22 most populous U.
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Five other U. Another 9 areas, including Las Vegas, Nevada, and Nashville, Tennessee, are more populous than the Milwaukee area, which is currently the smallest market in Major League Baseball. Would any of these areas be strong candidates for a new MLB franchise? With 7 billion people now on the planet, potential new fans are being born every minute. My guess is due to rivalry. I'm guessing that the Reds and Braves owners liked playing the Dodgers and Giants, but I'm only guessing.
That's a very interesting question, and a good guess. I don't know the answer either, but I do suspect that existing rivalries were behind it. It's possible that the Reds and Braves drove the decision, but it could also have been the Cubs and Cardinals. The Braves have been the only true Southeastern team since I think Charlotte would be a great choice in terms of population and location, although I think it may be more of a football town than a baseball town. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.
Alan Merrett: OK, I see. Actually the divisions are currently of equal size - six divisions with five teams each since But I guess my table showing the divisions may be a little confusing.
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I used one table to show this six-division lineup, but it probably would have been clearer to include a separate table for each realignment within the six divisions, or at least to use a second one to show the equal divisions as of I may have to revise the article to make that change. Thanks again for your comments. Vacancies just a word to describe where teams could be placed to bring up divisions of equal size.
Alan Merrett: Thanks for your comment. I don't quite understand what you mean by three "vacancies. Nashville should take the vacancy in the NL east. Portland and maybe San Antonio for the AL vacancies. There are plenty of teams around California, so a franchise in Texas would be more likely to find it profitable than another one in California.
This is assuming that that there are requests for a franchise that necessitate a team moving from one league to another,like Houston did. I just hope there is strict control of names and nicknames of franchises. People outside the USA can easily identify and locate a city on a map. The other one would be strict control of the nickname. You don't want some of the nicknames that you find in the PCL or IL like "isotopes" or "stripers" or worst of all "baby cakes". They sound like something from a cartoon. I agree with all you say, except I think the expansion teams will be Vegas and Charlotte.
Thanks for your comment.
Admittedly that's a personal preference due to my location and my rooting interest, but I also think it makes sense for MLB. Align1's plan is spot on! The addition of Portland and Montreal make a ton of sense. If Portland does not work for some reason, substitute Las Vegas is its place and leave the rest of Align1's plan in place. First of Portland, Oregon has already been mentioned in the past. There are 8 cities I think MLB will look at for one of the 2 expansion spots if they are interested:. I would prefer plan A, both because I like the idea of smaller divisions and because I'd like to maintain the integrity of the existing two leagues.
My only qualm with the proposed assignment of the teams is personal: I admit that geographically the plan makes sense, but as a transplanted NY Mets fan in the Washington DC area, I like the fact that the Mets and Nats are in the same division, because it means the Mets visit DC relatively often. Atlantic Div: Boston, N. Mets, Philadelphia, Washington.
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Louis, Kansas City, Texas, Houston. Dodgers, L. Angels, San Diego, Arizona. Comments: 4 of 5 rival teams grouped most closely together from previous Central Division.
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Tampa Bay closer to Houston than it is to Baltimore. Comments: N. Expansion Montreal a nice fit here. Pittsburgh a natural fit with cross-state rival Philadelphia.