White Sox could be playing crosstown rival Cubs in same division if MLB expands to 32 teams, realigns divisions with longer postseason included.
Are you ready to see the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs battle each other in the same division? Well, that could happen with the MLB expanding to 32 teams and possibly realigning divisions according to Tracy Ringolsby at Baseball America.
MLB could be moving to a 32-team configuration as there is a growing consensus that believes this will happen according to Ringolsby. MLB commissioner Robert Manfred mentioned the city of Portland, Ore. as a potential location for an expansion team this past September when he spoke in Seattle. Another city that could get an expansion team would be Montreal.
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If MLB does expand to 32 teams, not only would divisions be realigned, but there could be a shorter regular season and longer postseason. According to Ringolsby, the regular season could be shortened to 156 games while the postseason would be extended to include play-in games with the eight remaining teams with the best records after division winners.
Expansion to 32 teams would realign MLB into just four divisions: East, North, Midwest and West. Each division would have eight teams, and the four division winners would face the four wild card winners in the Division Series.
The new divisions would put both teams from New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in the same divisions. The schedule would include 12 games against each of the seven divisional opponents according to Ringolsby. The potential realigned divisions are listed below.
East: Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadephia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington
North: Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Montreal, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Toronto
Midwest: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Texas
West: Arizona, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle
There may be purists who believe MLB realigning divisions due to expansion could hurt rivalries that have developed between American League and National League teams. If MLB does indeed realign its divisions, and do away with having two separate leagues, that could present an interesting challenge. No longer would there be one league with a designated hitter. The DH spot would be required for all teams, not just half of the ballclubs.
Many Sox fans might not like the idea of their favorite team playing the Cubs 12 times a year. This could also diminish the hopes of fans seeing both teams face each other in a World Series. However, with a realignment of divisions, travel costs for many teams could be reduced especially for organizations like the Mariners.
Expansion won’t be a bad thing for MLB. The sport is growing and is getting increasingly popular throughout the United States. Having the Sox and Cubs as division rivals could be interesting and it would certainly be great for fans of both teams. If MLB does realign divisions, expect a wealth of new rivalries to emerge.