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What do you think of this? (re the Devil Rays' situation)

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  • What do you think of this? (re the Devil Rays' situation)

    I read the article below on ESPN.com.

    Indeed the Devil Rays are in a sorry situation. But I doubt if this will be the solution.

    What do you think?


    Rotating realignment?

    By all indications, Tampa Bay's new ownership is working like crazy to build a base of support for baseball's most beat up franchise. But let's face it -- all the effort being made to reach out to the fan base and to area businesses will ultimately be squandered unless the Devil Rays have some success in the standings, and in this, they are already waist-deep in disadvantage.
    First, they inhabit the same division as the financial monster most commonly known as the Yankees, as well as the second-most flush team, the Red Sox.

    A pivotal part of the competitive equation for the Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays is to catch the Red Sox or Yankees in a down year. If Boston or New York are operated properly and aren't completely wrecked by injuries, the odds of a team with a $75 million payroll beating a team with a $200 million payroll are probably something close to what you might expect: Not good.

    It could be that the Devil Rays will develop some pitching to go along with those great position prospects they have, and maybe in 2008 or 2009, they could be a factor. The odds of them actually beating out both the Yankees or Red Sox, however, are probably nonexistent, unless pure incompetence overruns both franchises at the same time.

    Tampa Bay is stuck in a classic Catch-22. The Rays can't ever have a chance to be competitive until they make a lot more money, and they're not going to make a lot more money until they get more competitive. In Oakland, Minnesota, even in Kansas City, the teams are competing at a financial disadvantage, but nothing like what Tampa Bay must contend with.

    Maybe it's because I've watched too much televised poker, but to me, there seems to be one very obvious disadvantage for the teams in the AL East (or AL Central or NL Central, for that matter). They have more teams contending for the division title.

    In pure mathematical terms, the D-Rays start out every season with a 20 percent chance of winning their five-team division. Oakland, Texas, the Angels and Seattle start out with a 25 percent chance. It's like constantly starting out with a king against somebody else's ace.

    Somehow, Major League Baseball needs to figure out a way to give the D-Rays better odds than they have, or in a decade, there might not be any teams in Florida. The best possible solution might be to go back to the old pre-1969 standard, without divisions. Stack all 14 AL teams and all 16 NL teams in the same league, and have a league champion and three wild-card teams advance to the postseason.

    But the division format helps to foster rivalries and feeds into the schedule-making, so let's assume there will always be divisions. Here's another thought: Shift the composition of the divisions from year to year. In 2007, for example, move the Devil Rays out of the American League East, and schedule a rotation involving a handful of teams to give everybody a fair shot at the playoffs.

    There are some rivalries you can't break up, some teams you won't rotate in the divisions. The Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles should always be in the AL East, and the Angels, Athletics and Mariners should always be in the AL West; the White Sox, Twins and Indians could be the base members of the AL Central.

    That would leave the Jays, Rays, Rangers, Royals and Tigers as the floating five, and from year to year, each division would get a turn at having four members.

    For argument's sake, maybe you could have this rotation, starting in 2007 (and I'm riffing here, so this is certainly not perfect).

    AL East: Boston, Baltimore, N.Y. Yankees, Toronto, Detroit
    AL Central: Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland, Tampa Bay
    AL West: Oakland, L.A. Angels, Seattle, Texas, Kansas City

    And in 2008:

    AL East: Boston, Baltimore, N.Y. Yankees, Toronto
    AL Central: Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Detroit
    AL West: Oakland, L.A. Angels, Seattle, Texas, Kansas City

    2009:

    AL East: Boston, Baltimore, N.Y. Yankees, Tampa Bay, Toronto
    AL Central: Chicago, Minnesota, Cleveland, Texas, Kansas City
    AL West: Oakland, L.A. Angels, Seattle, Detroit

    And so on, with different teams getting chances at being part of four-team divisions annually, and with the weaker franchises rotating out of the AL East.

    A shift out of the AL East would not necessarily be an easy move for the Rays, because a large portion of their attendance comes from the home crowds they draw when they host the Yankees or Red Sox; Tropicana Field is taken over by the fans of those rivals.

    But at some stage in their history -- if the D-Rays are to last -- they need to establish their own identity, and they need to win. Relying on fans of the Yankees and Red Sox to help prop up their franchise as much as they do now is not a solution.

    Maybe the rotating divisions aren't a solution, either. But something needs to be done, and relatively soon, as the new ownership in Tampa Bay makes this push. Or the Rays are destined to fade away.

  • #2
    It's a lousy Idea, but if one has to rotate, they all have to rotate.
    "I think about baseball when I wake up in the morning. I think about it all day and I dream about it at night. The only time I don't think about it is when I'm playing it."
    Carl Yastrzemski

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    • #3
      Originally posted by runningshoes53
      It's a lousy Idea, but if one has to rotate, they all have to rotate.
      You are right. If they have to rotate, they all have.

      Maybe a realignment into Northern, Central and Southern leagues would solve some problems.

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      • #4
        Meh. Florida doesn't support the Marlins that well either, maybe it's just not the best state for professional baseball.

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        • #5
          THis could be the wackiest thread I've ever seen.
          I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a Hell of an Engineer!

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          • #6
            Maybe MLB should put Tampa Bay in their own division, so they are guaranteed to finish first every year!
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            • #7
              Originally posted by STLCards2
              Maybe MLB should put Tampa Bay in their own division, so they are guaranteed to finish first every year!
              And they would still find a way to finish last!
              I like cranberry sauce.

              "The Babe was a great ballplayer, sure, but Ty Cobb was even greater. Babe could knock your brains out, but Cobb would drive you crazy." - Tris Speaker

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              • #8
                Originally posted by sschirmer
                THis could be the wackiest thread I've ever seen.
                Originally posted by STLCards2
                Maybe MLB should put Tampa Bay in their own division, so they are guaranteed to finish first every year!
                Originally posted by Twisted Wicker
                And they would still find a way to finish last!
                With these kind of posts it WILL be the wackiest thread you've ever seen.

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