LAA, Oak, Sea switch with Fla, Hou, Was to produce:
ALE: Bal, Bos, Fla, NY, TB, Tor, Was
ALC: Chi, Cle, Det, Hou, KC, Min, Tex
NLE: Atl, Chi, Cin, Mil, NY, Phi, Pit, StL
NLW: Ari, Col, LAA, LAD, Oak, SD, SF, Sea
1) Traditional NL teams that balked at joining the AL (Pit, Cin, Atl, NY) in '98 get to stay in the NL.
2) Geographically remote teams (the Texas, Florida, and all West Coast teams) are in the same divisions as their in-state (or West Coast) rivals, cutting down travel.
3) Would go to 2 wild cards per league without having to expand the playoff field, thus throwing a lifeline to Bal, Tor, and TB while preserving the integrity of the season. (OK, TB's great now, but in the long run they will be crushed by NY and Bos.)
4) NLE would be identical to the NL of 1953-57 except Atlanta replaces Brooklyn. Pretty cool.
5) Every team plays every other team every year, and gets to every park every other year.
6) All West Coast teams being in the NL would NOT mean the NL has coast-to-coast travel while the AL does not. Schedule gives the same number of road games against NL West teams to all teams in the ALE, ALC, and NLE divisions: 12, which could be played in one 4-series trip.
7) AL teams would play only 3-game series, NL teams would have to play 12 4-game series, or some combination of 2-game series, but they would all be within their division. As follows:
72 division games (12x6 teams)
42 games against other AL division (6x7 teams)
48 games against NL (3x16 teams)
First place teams and 2 wild cards in playoffs.
96 division games (13x2 teams, 14x5)
24 games against other NL division (3x8 teams)
42 games against AL (3x14 teams)
Because of the massively unbalanced schedule I'm proposing in the NL, taking the top 2 in each division would make more sense than having a wild card race, but the owners would probably want a unified front and use wild cards in the NL too. I can live with that.
I can't think of any team that would complain. Maybe SF because of Oak in their league, but that's nothing that a cash payoff and/or old fashioned political strongarming can't handle!
So, yeah, this is my new "best" plan.