Two Leagues. No Divisions. Make It Happen

Two Leagues. No Divisions. Make It Happen

Major League Baseball hasn’t been afraid recently to change things up in order to make the game more appealing for fans. 


That’s unusual to see in a sport that prides itself on protecting and projecting its history. It’s also necessary as the sports landscape gets more and more crowded. Beyond that, our attention is as divided as ever with the multitude of multimedia outlets at our disposal.


So what does any of that have to do with baseball?


Well, there’s another change that could have a dramatic impact on the game, maintain interest, and also reflect baseball’s past.


In 1969, expansion resulted in the creation of Eastern and Western divisions in each league and the invention of the League Championship Series. Since then the wild card (1994), the divisional series (1995), the wild card game (2012), have brought us to where we are today…a system that works, but could be better.


The Proposal


It’s time to go back to the future. 


Let’s keep the two-league format. There’s no need to get rid of that. It works. There’s no discussion about realignment.


What baseball needs to do is get rid of divisions. And shorten the season. Slightly.


The divisional format and the unbalanced schedule are both no longer needed and don’t help determine the best teams in either league. 


If baseball decided to go to a format where the teams in each league played eight games against intraleague opponents (112 total games) and three games against all 15 interleague opponents (45 total games) which would create a 157-game regular season schedule. 


Baseball could still maintain the one-game tiebreaker, if necessary. 


Intraleague games would be broken into two, four-game, home and away series. The interleague opponents would alternate hosting their home series each year.


The top six teams from each league would then make the playoffs, allowing for the top two teams to receive a bye.


There would be a four-team, three-game, wild card round. That would be followed by a seven-game divisional series, a seven-game championship series, and ultimately the World Series.


The Reasoning


This modest proposal improves baseball’s regular season by protecting it from the fluctuations within divisions.


Teams wouldn’t fatten themselves up against weaker divisional opponents or have to face losing out on a playoff spot simply because a division champion has to go to the postseason.


It’s more fair. It’s impossible to completely level the playing field in sports, but making the schedule more uniform is one way of doing that (It could also make assessing award winners a bit easier, but that’s a side benefit).


The six best teams from each making the playoffs. No debate. No discussion.


We live in a world where divisional banners don’t mean anything at all. Coaches don’t keep their jobs for winning the division. Fans don’t buy tickets in the hopes of winning the division. The storied franchises in sports don’t even hang division banners.


The culture of American sport is centered on championships. For better or for worse. Embracing that would allow baseball to continue its connection to the past while improving the sport for the future.


Two Leagues. No Divisions. Make It Happen

Making The Case For Mookie Betts As National League MVP

Since coming to the National League in 2020, Mookie Betts’ impact has been undeniable. He’s a three-time All-Star, Golden Glove, and Silver Slugger award winner. It’s time we give credit where credit is due. Betts’ performance this season has been nothing short of remarkable, making a strong case for him to be named the National League MVP.


That would make him just the second player in Major League Baseball history to accomplish that feat, joining the late Frank Robinson in that exclusive club.


With him in the lineup, the Los Angeles Dodgers are 82-51 (.617). Without him just 5-4 (.555). Betts has brought his play to a new level of excitement and skill this season. His offensive dominance, stellar defensive skills, and base-running prowess have all contributed to the Dodgers holding a comfortable 13-game lead in the National League West. 



It’s not just his individual statistics that set him apart; it’s the way he elevates the game for everyone around him.


Betts’ batting average and on-base percentage speak for themselves. He consistently finds ways to get on base, putting pressure on opposing teams and creating opportunities for his teammates. His ability to hit for average and get on base sets him apart from his peers as a weapon at the top of L.A.’s lineup.


Betts’ power at the plate cannot be overlooked either. He has delivered a career-high 38 home runs and is approaching 80 total extra-base hits and 100 RBI, showing his ability to both produce runs and drive in his teammates. His power combined with his ability to get on base makes him a force to be reckoned with in the batter’s box.


He ranks in the top five in the NL in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS and runs scored. 


So, not only does Betts excel at getting on base and hitting for power, but he’s also really, really good at driving in runs and scoring them himself. He can quite literally do any and everything with the bat in his hands or on the basepaths.


His versatility extends to the defensive side of the field too. He’s played 8 games at shortstop, 26 games at second base, 63 in right field, and 36 with some combination of the three.


Betts’ defensive skills in the outfield are unparalleled. He consistently makes highlight-reel catches, diving to make crucial plays and robbing opponents of hits.


He covers ground effortlessly, making difficult plays look routine. Additionally, his arm discourages opponents from taking extra bases and can make the throws from the warning track or deep in the hole.



Whatever the stats, Mookie is going to be near the top or standing alone at the summit. 


Mookie Betts is the total package, and one of the most recognizable faces in the game today. 


His work ethic and dedication to the game set the tone for his teammates. Betts’ relentless pursuit of perfection inspires others to push themselves harder and strive for greatness.


Yes, there are other players having their own great seasons. But when you combine the statistical dominance with his overall impact on a first place team, it becomes clear that he should be the 2023 National League Most Valuable Player.

Two Leagues. No Divisions. Make It Happen

Kenny Williams Helped Put the Second City Back In First Place | Black Baseball Executives As Rare As They Were 30 Years Ago

After more than a quarter century with the franchise as a player, scout, and executive, Kenny Williams was fired as Executive Vice President of the Chicago White Sox last week.




With the White Sox preparing for their 12th losing season in the last 19 years some may try to diminish his legacy, but Williams’ role in building one of the most successful runs in White Sox history cannot be forgotten.



Kenny Williams Is A Baseball Pioneer 


Williams takes his place among pioneers like Bill Lucas, Bob Watson, and Bill White in baseball history and remains one of only two Black general managers to assemble a World Series champion.


Kenny Williams held every job imaginable as he climbed the leadership ladder with Chicago. Following a less than notable career as a player that ended in 1991, Williams rejoined the White Sox as a scout in 1992 before becoming a special assistant to the team’s chairman, Jerry Reinsdorf, in 1994.



He showed a talent for identifying players, and in 1997 he was promoted to vice-president of player development. 


Kenny Williams Builds Chicago White Sox World Series Winner


In 2000, Williams replaced Ron Scheuler as general manager of the Sox following the team’s first playoff appearance in seven years. With Frank Thomas’ career winding down, Williams made the choice to hire another White Sox legend to push the team over the hump.


By bringing in the fiery personality of Ozzie Guillen, and committing to aggressive moves in acquiring talent, Williams was able to completely rebuild the lineup in just over two years. 


In 2005, his vision would be realized.

The White Sox finished 99-63, capturing the AL Central title before defeating the defending champion Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, and Houston Astros to win the World Series for the first time in 88 years.


Over the next seven years, Chicago would remain competitive but failed to match the success of that magical run of ‘05. However, Williams’ loyalty and success were rewarded by Reinsdorf as he was promoted to Executive Vice President.


And now, that historic tenure has come to an end. 


Ken Williams endured and won during his two decades in charge of the White Sox. He dealt with racism, low expectations, and the notoriously tight budget of Reinsdorf over the years.


He accomplished what few have in his sport. Making the successful transition from the field to the front office has been rare enough, but even more rare for Black players.


History will not forget Kenny Williams, and as long as that World Series banner flies his legacy lives on the Southside.

Two Leagues. No Divisions. Make It Happen

Stanton Doesn’t Deliver | The MLBbro Has Become A Symbol Of Yankees Recent Playoff Failure

Injuries have been as much of a part of Giancarlo Stanton’s career as towering home runs, maybe even moreso.


That wasn’t a problem when Stanton was toiling in anonymity for the Miami Marlins. However, since he arrived in The Bronx in 2018, Giancarlo Stanton’s health, or lack thereof, has been what has defined his career with the New York Yankees.


This season, everything has bottomed out for Stanton. His batting average has dropped below .200. He’s struck out to end almost 30 percent of his at-bats. His career-low on-base percentage would be a solid batting average (.282), but that’s about it.


Yankee fans seem to have lost their patience with Stanton as well. The patience for Stanton actually was never really there from his first game in pinstripes. 



In Saturday’s loss to the hated Boston Red Sox, Stanton struck out three times. When he did reach base on a walk, he was picked off on a routine pop up. The faithful showed their displeasure by raining boos down upon the towering slugger.


Giancarlo Stanton Struggling 


Over his past seven games, all Yankee losses, Giancarlo Stanton is 2-for-21 with 12 strikeouts and one RBI. This season, he only has 13 multi-hit games compared to 23 games with at least two strikeouts.


What exactly is Stanton’s future in New York? On the surface, it seems as cloudy as the rest of the franchises.


Yankees Out Of Playoff Contention?


After being considered one of the favorites to win both the American League and the World Series, the Yankees season seems to be essentially over with less than 40 games to play and New York currently holding down fifth place in the AL East.


Should the Yankees finish below .500, it would be the first time that’s happened in three decades. They haven’t finished in last place in the division since the AL changed formats in 1994.


While all of this isn’t entirely the fault of Giancarlo Stanton, he’s become a symbol of the Yankees’ inability to get back to the World Series or capture that elusive 28th World Series trophy.


He’s only driven in 100 RBI once for the Yankees and appeared in more than 130 games twice.


500 Homer Club 


It wasn’t that long ago that Giancarlo Stanton seemed like a lock to become a member of the 500-home run club, with the potential of joining the greatest power hitters in Major League Baseball’s history.




At 33 years of age, with four years and $118 million left on his contact ($20M to be paid by the Marlins), it’s hard to imagine Stanton’s health improving or his production returning to the MVP-levels of 2017. There’s no trade partner out there to take on the bloated contact of an aging and declining slugger. 


He also doesn’t add value as a fielder or baserunner.


It’s been an incredible fall from grace for a former five-time All-Star, All-Star Game MVP, and National League MVP.


So, it appears that the Yankees and Stanton are stuck with each other with only the hope that Giancarlo Stanton can stay healthy and start hitting again.


Even with all evidence pointing to the contrary.


Two Leagues. No Divisions. Make It Happen

Dusty Baker Just Keeps Rolling Along | His Managerial MasterClass Is A Sight Of Beauty

The biggest change for the Houston Astros has been the return of their offense.


Since the All-Star break, Houston has been sending balls into orbit with regularity and sending runners around the basepaths. They lead the AL in runs and RBI, are second in home runs and walks, and rank third in batting average and OPS.


Guiding the team through all of this has been Dusty Baker.


On May 1st, the Houston Astros were just 16-13, with the sixth-best record in the American League. One month later the Astros were 10 games above .500 but had fallen further behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West standings, trailing by 2.5 games.


June was brutal, as Houston suffered four-game and five-game losing skids, but they closed that month by winning four of their last five.


Houston Astros 5th In Standings On July 1 


The defending American League champs were still sitting fifth in the standings on July 1st. The World Series let down talk was rampant.


However, since then, the Astros are 23-12. Over their last 20 games prior to Sunday’s loss to the Angels, Houston had been tied with the Baltimore Orioles for the best record in the AL with 13 wins during that stretch.


And yet, there are consistent calls and even petitions to have Baker fired. Those who would like to see Dusty go, can point to the team’s lackluster records in close games and overall losing mark against winning teams.


Houston’s pitching staff has been mediocre at best, carried by the offense. 


Baker Has Achieved Unprecedented Success Since Joining Astros 


Still, since Baker took over as manager prior to the start of the 2020 season the Astros have been to the American League Championship Series three times, advanced to the World Series twice, and won it all last year.


They’ve experienced only two months with a losing record under Baker, and have won almost 61 percent of their regular season games in August, September, and October since the start of the 2021 season. 


In the postseason the Astros are 28-14 with Baker in the dugout, posting an impressive .667 winning percentage. Both marks outpace his overall regular season (.591) standards and surpass his overall postseason percentage as well (.526).


Dusty Baker Can Bring Back Two Things For The Houston Astros This Postseason…A Championship and Respect



Let’s not forget how Dusty single-handedly navigated the Astros through the aftereffects of the “cheating scandal” under former manager AJ Hinch. Dusty’s presence at the helm softened the venom from opposing fans and media because of the respect and reverence he’s acquired since he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 26th round of the 1967 MLB Draft.


Dusty Baker Has Houston Sitting Pretty 


A baseball season is a marathon. It is a battle of endurance. As the cliche’ says, “you want to be playing your best baseball at the end of the year.”


Looking at the American League landscape, Houston is where it wants to be. The schedule down the stretch isn’t easy, but the Astros only face four teams with winning records away from Minute Maid Park the rest of the way.


Perhaps the Astros haven’t reached their peak this season. But based on Baker’s record, any panic at this stage is unwarranted.


Come late October, you have the expect that the Houston Astros will be in the mix for another world championship. 


Win or lose, Baker’s legacy is cemented. If he is leaving the launching pad in Houston, he’ll be touching down for a landing in Cooperstown very soon.