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So just how tough is the AL East?

Posted: 7/12/2013 10:04 PM

So just how tough is the AL East? 


Entering the last weekend of baseball before the All Star break I thought I would do a little digging. Its common knowledge that the AL East is the toughest division in baseball (and many believe the toughest in all of sports). But what say the facts.

As of right now the AL East teams have combined for 256 wins. The next best division is the NL Central with a combined 239 wins.  So if you combine wins and did the standings based on total wins the AL East is 8 1/2 games of the NL Central. Given the unbalanced schedule that baseball uses its pretty remarkable for one division to be so far ahead of everybody else.
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Posted: 7/12/2013 10:53 PM

RE: So just how tough is the AL East? 


And in the NL West, the leader is barely over .500!! Dodgers suddenly in 2nd place...but under .500.
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Posted: 7/12/2013 11:20 PM

RE: So just how tough is the AL East? 


This is precisely why the unbalanced schedule is dumb.

The balanced schedule would compensate for being in an overpowered division.Now you play totally different teams that a wild card competitor does, and  early half you games against yojr super strong division.
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Posted: 7/13/2013 9:39 AM

RE: So just how tough is the AL East? 


National League
A's
Giants
Dodgers
Padres
Dbacks
Mariners
Rockies
Rangers
Astros
Reds
Cardinals
Twins
Royals
White Sox
Cubs

American League
Reds
Indians
Jays
Tigers
Brewers
Pirates
Phillies
Braves
Marlins
Rays
Yankees
Mets
Red Sox
Nationals
Orioles

All NL teams are west of Chicago; all AL teams are east of Milwaukee. It's pretty much as close as I could get to making the leagues based on geographical location.

Top 5 teams in each league make the playoffs. The teams in 4th and 5th in each league have a one game play-in.

Once the play-in is done and all teams are decided, the 8 remaining teams are re-seeded and it's a 1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 4v5 5-7-7 playoff.

I'm not sure if these leagues are more fair/balanced than the current state of things but it's at least something....

Last edited 7/13/2013 1:36 PM by ripken4prez

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Posted: 7/13/2013 10:21 AM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 


A north/south split might be more equitable still, but it doesn't address the east/west travel issues...

I just wish we didn't play the East as much and spread those games out over the rest of the American League.  Take two, three game series away from the AL East teams and spread them out over the West and Central.  But I'm just being selfish... I like seeing the variety of teams outside the AL East.
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Posted: 7/13/2013 11:02 AM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 


There really is no reason not to do away with the divisions. 15 teams  in each league and you play each team in your league 11 times for a  154 game schedule. Do away with interleague games since they don't play by the same rules anyway.

Then I don't care that MLB doesn't have a salary cap because you don't get burdened by having the two richest teams in the same division the way it is now.

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Posted: 7/13/2013 2:50 PM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 


- More Expansion

- 16 Teams Per League

- 4 Divisions Of 4 In Each League

- The 4 Division Winners And 2 Wild Cards Make The Playoffs
I dream of 1966, 1970, and 1983. I would also take 1969, 1971, and 1979. But 1973, 1974, 1996, 1997, and 2012 were okay. Toss in 1960, 1968, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1989, and 1994 too.
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Posted: 7/13/2013 10:44 PM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 



LanceLancaster wrote: - More Expansion

- 16 Teams Per League

- 4 Divisions Of 4 In Each League

- The 4 Division Winners And 2 Wild Cards Make The Playoffs
Lance are you advocating a balanced schedule with these four divisions or a schedule along the lines that it is now?  As long as you have imbalanced schedules there is no way to ensure that the best X teams over the course of the schedule make the playoffs. And I assume you are suggesting to leave the schedules imbalanced because if you have a balanced schedule then divisions are meaningless. Just take the top X teams to the playoffs.
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Posted: 7/14/2013 8:41 AM

RE: So just how tough is the AL East? 


Some good thoughts, I would also like to see a move to do away with divisions and just have the top teams in each league make the playoffs.


Last edited 7/14/2013 8:42 AM by sheaitisnotso

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Posted: 7/14/2013 9:07 AM

RE: So just how tough is the AL East? 


Of course you know that ship has sailed. Its all about money now...and the more teams that make the playoffs, the more exciting the races become down the stretch; the more games get televised...etc etc.
I think the current wild card play-in game needs to be modified though. You play 162 games and then you get bounced in one game? Its not like the NFL where they are used to one and done playoffs.
I don't mind the number of teams that make post-season but I do advocate a return to the 154 game schedule (even --gasp--Sunday double-headers again)so that post season doesn't drag on into November...and it would allow for an extra game or two to replace the current wild card thing.

Two things baseball MUST change: the 'area play' at second base. Possibly the most stupid thing in pro sports. It makes no sense. Get rid of it yesterday. To get an out, you have to be on the bag. Period.
And, reduce the time of an AB by making the hitter stay in the box and enforcing the number of seconds for a pitcher to actually make a pitch. People who complain about how boring baseball is, or how long the games are would have an argument there. It never used to be that way. It shouldn't be now either.
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Posted: 7/14/2013 9:29 AM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 


I like the idea of the 4 Divisions, but I'm not really an advocate of completely doing away with the current system.  Heck, I liked the two division system of my youth.  It never failed that the top two to four teams in the league were in the East.  Some Western Division team would generally run away with it and then blow it to the East team... at least that's how I recall it.

Anyway, the four divisions sounds good and I like the expanded Playoff scenario.  Problem is that with that many Playoff teams, the season would have to be shortened to accommodate all those additional Playoff games... but I like the balanced idea. 

I hate that we play the East teams as much as we do.  While I think there's an argument to be made about it regarding the "heat" that rivalries bring, I enjoy the variety of seeing all the American League teams more often.  I like Interleague play too for the same reason, but I'd give it up for the 4 division system mentioned with the balanced schedule.
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Posted: 7/14/2013 4:22 PM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 


I can see them with 90 wins and missing the playoffs

Houston is padding some win totals in the West for sure
...and don't call me Shirley
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Posted: 7/15/2013 6:20 AM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 



ifsteve wrote: Lance are you advocating a balanced schedule with these four divisions or a schedule along the lines that it is now?  As long as you have imbalanced schedules there is no way to ensure that the best X teams over the course of the schedule make the playoffs. And I assume you are suggesting to leave the schedules imbalanced because if you have a balanced schedule then divisions are meaningless. Just take the top X teams to the playoffs.
I worked this out before, but I don't remember the details anymore, so here's my best reconstruction. The unbalanced schedule would stay, meaning 54 games against the division (18 games vs. each of the other 3 teams), and 72 games against the rest of the league (6 games vs. each of the other 12 teams).

Interleague play would be against a designated division each year and rotate over the course of four seasons (AL East vs. NL East in Year 1, NL South in Year 2, NL Central in Year 3, NL West in Year 4, and then start over). There would be 24 rotating divisional contests (6 games vs. each of the other 4 teams).

In addition to rotating Interleague play, there would also be 6 permanent games against each team's designated crossover rival (Orioles vs. Gnats, Yankees vs. Mets, etc.), 3 at home and 3 on the road. This means, however, that when the AL East faces the NL East, the Orioles would play the Gnats 12 times, not 6.

54 = ORIOLES vs. AL EAST (18 games vs. 3 teams)
72 = ORIOLES vs. OTHER 12 AL TEAMS (6 games vs. 12 teams)
24 = ORIOLES vs. NL DIVISION FOR THAT YEAR (6 games vs. 4 teams)
_6 = ORIOLES vs. GNATS (6 games vs. 1 team)

156 GAMES

The regular season would be cut back by a week to make room for playoff expansion. This also brings the schedule closer to the old 154, which has the benefit of making any new records more comparable to the old days, rather than having people complain that today's players have 8 more games to accomplish things.

For those who don't like the unbalanced schedule, play around with the numbers I posted, such as 30 contests against the division (10 games vs. 3 teams), and 96 contests against the rest of the league (8 games vs. 12 teams), while leaving Interleague play exactly the same as I came up with for the sake of fairness.

Adopting this model is the closest I can come to balanced since switching to 9 games against the entire league would cut down on Interleague play. The other idea that I came up with is 42 contests against the division (14 games vs. 3 teams) and 84 contests against the rest of the league (7 games vs. 12 teams).
I dream of 1966, 1970, and 1983. I would also take 1969, 1971, and 1979. But 1973, 1974, 1996, 1997, and 2012 were okay. Toss in 1960, 1968, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1989, and 1994 too.
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Posted: 7/15/2013 10:08 AM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 


Lance, I could live with a four division lineup and the lower amount of games against teams in your own division. That is closer to a more "fair" system and keeps interleague play in tact. Perhaps the fans wanting interleague play is strong enough to warrant keeping it?

But for me I would drop interrleague play and go to a totally balance schedule. Still end up shortening the regular season so you can add playoff games (one and done for the two wild card teams is a joke).

And since we are just BSing anyway I would also change the format for the playoffs. The way it is now there are too many days off during the playoffs. What this means is that the team that earned its way into the playoffs is not the same team that wins in the playoffs. During the 162 game season most all teams now must rely on a 5 man SP rotation. Not so in the playoffs. In a 7 game series we have seen numerous times where a teams #1 gets 3 starts. That's nonsense. That is not the same game as during the regular season.
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Posted: 7/15/2013 12:28 PM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 


Even back decades ago, teams only used their best 3 starters for the most part. Consider 1968 for example when Gibson, Lolich and McLain all made 3 starts. those guys could go on short rest too.
but it does seem strange that after playing pretty much everyday for 6 months...suddenly you need all this time off. Growing up, the World Series was pretty basic...2 games, travel day, 3 games, travel day if needed for the final 2 games. That was it. And of course all games were played during the day...which made them very exciting for school kids, who were sneaking transistors into class....or teachers who would discreetly close the door of the room and allow a bit of 'listening'!
This may not mean very much to this generation that has personal phone/computers and can get just about everything, anytime, anywhere. But back then, we had to be clever to listen to the games.

Just for the memories: Lolich started games 2,5, 7  game 5 was played on Oct 7th in Detroit and game 7 was played on the 10th in StLouis ..so he pitched there on 2 days rest.

McLain pitched games 1,4,6. game 4 was played on Oct 6th and game 6 on the 9th...again, on 2 days rest.

Gibson pitched games 1,4,7 -game 1 on Oct 2, game 4 on the 6th, and game 7 on the 10th. So Gib got 3 days rest between starts. He was outdueled by Lolich in game 7 4-1. Jim Northrup had the key hit that many still feel Curt Flood misplayed and cost them the series.

McLain won 31 games that year and Gibson had that insane ERA of 1.12, yet Lolich was the star of the Series, winning all 3 starts, while mcLain went 1-2 and Gibson 2-1.  It was a fun series to watch.

Last edited 7/15/2013 12:42 PM by insagt1

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Posted: 7/16/2013 1:25 PM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 


If we play with my numbers above, this is as close as a schedule can come to balanced while still having the divisions mean something, 12 games against divisional opponents and 8 games against the rest of the American League. Set the Interleague games at 30 so each division plays each other home and away every four years and there are extra rivalry games once every four years as well.

36 = ORIOLES vs. AL EAST (12 games vs. 3 teams)
96 = ORIOLES vs. OTHER 12 AL TEAMS (8 games vs. 12 teams)
24 = ORIOLES vs. NL DIVISION FOR THAT YEAR (6 games vs. 4 teams)
_6 = ORIOLES vs. GNATS (6 games vs. 1 team)

162 GAMES

The downside is that the schedule has to remain at 162 games to do this, but I honestly doubt the owners are inclined to cut back to even 156 as previously posted anyway, so the postseason would probably need to extend into November to be fair. The first round would simply have to expand to at least three games, if not five, since two division champions would be playing two wild cards.
I dream of 1966, 1970, and 1983. I would also take 1969, 1971, and 1979. But 1973, 1974, 1996, 1997, and 2012 were okay. Toss in 1960, 1968, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1989, and 1994 too.
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Posted: 7/22/2013 10:05 AM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 


So as of this morning the Yankees are in fourth in the AL East and 6 games OVER .500.  The best fourth place team in any other division is 6 games UNDER .500. 

Dear MLB,

Please put either a REAL salary cap in place (and a salary minimum) or go to a balanced schedule.

Regards,

A Lifelong Fan
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Posted: 7/22/2013 10:41 AM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 



ifsteve wrote: So as of this morning the Yankees are in fourth in the AL East and 6 games OVER .500.  The best fourth place team in any other division is 6 games UNDER .500. 

Dear MLB,

Please put either a REAL salary cap in place (and a salary minimum) or go to a balanced schedule.

Regards,

A Lifelong Fan
agreed.gif and I think the balance schedule stands a better chance of happening from what I've read, at least while Selig is Commissioner.




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Posted: 7/22/2013 12:04 PM

RE: So just how tough is the AL East? 


Will a balanced sked sort of ruin division rivalries or make division races less relevant? Just throwing that out there. I think if they do that (along with all the interleague games) they have to adjust the wildcard play-in for post season. One and done followed by a 3 of 5 series just doesn't seem right. As almost all of us have said at one time...why not reduce the regular season to at least 154 games, which would make room for additional post season games (always more exciting) and still not play into November
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Posted: 7/22/2013 1:27 PM

Re: So just how tough is the AL East? 


The division rivalries would still exist, and in my opinion, to the same level they do today. The Red Sox and Yankees will always hate each other it will just happen fewer times in a given season. And actually that may fuel them to be even more intense.

Interleague play can still continue with a balanced schedule but obviously it "unbalances" the schedule somewhat because every AL team can't play the same NL teams.

I just don't see any disadvantages to going to a balanced schedule. It does away with much of the problem with no salary cap. Division races don't really mean anything anyway. Its really the races for a playoff spot which are still in play with a balanced schedule. And clearly everybody HATES the one game playoff game and most dislike how many days off they get in the playoffs compared to the regular season.
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