Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why Reds' World Series Path Just Got Easier


Major League Baseball announced some major realignment news on Thursday -- most of which will make the Reds' path to both the postseason and World Series a bit easier (read ESPN's coverage of the news here).

Among the moves that will ultimately impact the Reds is the decision to move current NL Central foe Houston to the AL West beginning in the 2013 season. Although the Astros finished with the worst record in all of baseball last year (56-106), eliminating them from the division will mathematically raise Cincinnati's chances of winning the division from roughly 16% to 20%.

Another move announced today that will positively impact not only the Redlegs, but all MLB teams is the approval by Commissioner Bud Selig to add one additional playoff spot for each league via the Wild Card. This means that 33% of teams will automatically advance beyond the regular season instead of 27%. While it's still TBD on when the new playoff format will start, all indications are they could begin as soon as next season.

Personally, I love these moves by MLB and it's not just because they are favorable to the Reds.

My take on the Astros impending move to the AL West:
I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner. I'll never understand the fairness or logic in having six teams compete for a division crown (NL Central)while only four are competing for a crown in another (AL West). The two leagues have been unbalanced for years and it's about time they went to the obvious six division, five-team alignment to even them out. Of course, this is only possible from a scheduling standpoint if more interleague games are played, which I am also heavily in favor of.

My take on the two additional playoff slots:
It allows more teams and fanbases to experience the magic of October baseball, but at the same time doesn't water down the accomplishment of making the playoffs -- unlike the NBA where a team who doesn't advance past the regular season is actually in the minority (16 of 30 make playoffs). It's a win-win scenario.

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