I might be a tad bit obsessive compulsive. I’d look into it more, but I’m afraid it’d consume me. Anyway, I’ve been mulling over how I would fix sports. You know, if someone would create the job, and then hand the job over to me. I’ve been thinking about this since I decided that championships are basically BS.
The first thing that I realized is, the regular season is a mess too. They are far from fair. Teams don’t play the same opponents the same amount of times. Which lead me to questioning the logic behind leagues, divisions or conferences. Like the post season, they’re based on providing drama and entertainment. Rivalries are developed over years, often starting with geographic location. They are absolutely a positive aspect for the fans. I’d hate to see the end of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry for example.
(I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of all of this, and I know I’ve read bits and pieces of my ideas in other places. I simply don’t remember where or when, so I can’t give proper credit)
So with that said, the first thing I’d do is get rid of the American and National Leagues. It’s Major League Baseball, that’s the league, also, no more divisions. Don’t stop reading just yet. Now it comes down to deciding what to do about the Designated Hitter, and I like to consider myself a purist, so I’d love to see it erased. But because I’d also contract by two teams (which results in a more competitive league, since there would be 50 less roster spots available) I’ve decided to keep the DH, taking it league wide.
Now there are 28 teams competing for 12 playoff spots. I decided to keep the wildcard games, because hell, I like money too. The two teams that I’m closing the doors on are the San Diego Padres (don’t worry, I’m moving the Angels to San Diego) and the Florida Marlins (don’t worry; I’m moving the Rays down to Miami and the new stadium). I told you the league would be more competitive, right? Well look at the names that would be available in the contraction draft: Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton, Javier Vasquez, Anibal Sanchez, Mat Latos, Tim Stauffer, Health Bell to name a few.
To address the scheduling issue I mentioned before, every team would play every other team. That’s six games against each team, three on the road and three at home. That doesn’t take the rivalry games away from us, it amplifies them. The Sox and Yankees only meet six times? All the passion gets condensed into two weekends.
Now the regular season means even more. Teams aren’t just jockeying for a spot in their division now, every opponent is a road block.
As for my new playoff system: the top 12 teams make the playoffs, with the top four getting byes the first round. For example (based on 2011, which I realize has an unbalanced schedule) the Philllies Yankees, Rangers and Brewers are 1-4. Seedings would change with each round, so that the best teams always have the advantage. If the Phillies lost to the Red Sox in the second round, the Yankees would then take over the #1 seed.
You can’t tell me the team that finishes the year with the best record, with this set up, isn’t the best team. But we’ll still have the post-season, only I’m changing the stakes. A trophy isn’t all they’re playing for. The players get cash, a 10% bonus.
Then I’m doing almost the same thing in the NBA. I’m taking out the divisions, as well as two teams. Sorry Toronto and Sacramento. To even out the schedule, each team plays three against every other team. But to keep things fair, it’s one game at home and one on the road. Then one at a neutral location. Some of those would be NBA cities, for example the Lakers and Celtics would play their third game in Denver. With a good amount of those games would be played in cities without teams; Kansas City, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Toronto, and Memphis for example. I haven’t figured out the split yet, or how that’s determined. But I’d like to see arenas get 30 games a year (rather than 41 that they get now)
This part I don’t like, but sometimes it’s all about the Benjamins. I’d expand the playoffs to 16 teams. Follow the idea I explained in the baseball section, with the playoffs being re-seeded after each round (if a higher ranked team Is upset) and to help make up for the lost revenue from the 10 lost home games, I’d expand the playoffs so that every round is a best of seven.
I haven’t yet figured out how to improve the NFL, other than following the trend of getting rid of divisions and seeding the post season based on the best 12 or 14 teams from the regular seasons. No longer will winning a horrible division with a 7-9 or 8-8 record, earn a team a trip to the post season. I just can’t figure out how to improve the schedule, since you can’t play every team once, let alone twice.