Cubs: Realignment would radically change Chicago baseball
As MLB is reportedly considering realignment, the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox could become divisional rivals. Is this good for baseball?
As MLB is making its plans to resume play, one proposal that has reportedly been discussed a lot is a radical realignment into three, ten-team divisions based on geography. This particular plan would combine the AL and NL Central divisions, except the Pittsburgh Pirates would be swapped out for the Atlanta Braves.
This plan would blur the long-standing lines between the American and National Leagues. This would, of course, mean that the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox would become division rivals. Yet this plan may not just be for the shortened 2020 season. There has been speculation that this could lead to the long-term realignment that would eliminate the traditional leagues.
It’s not a surprise that this would be discussed. It has been off and on for years, but the unusual circumstances of this season may help the idea gain momentum. After all, we’ve eliminated league offices and no longer have “AL” and “NL” umpires, plus we’ve had interleague play for over 20 years. As we move further away from the days when the two leagues were bitter rivals, permanent realignment, to some fans, makes more and more sense.
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This presents a particular dilemma for fans in cities with multiple teams, like Chicago. On the one hand, putting the Cubs and White Sox in the same division — especially now, when both of them are expected to be contenders — could really be fun. Imagine a pennant race between these two teams that goes late into the season to be decided by head-to-head matchups. Baseball fans on both the north and south side would go crazy.
On the other hand, one could argue that having them play 18 to 19 times a year, as opposed to the three to six that takes place now, would make the head-to-head games less special. And there will still be many fans who would lament the breakup of the traditional leagues, breaking with well over a century of history.
It’s a tough call, one that I’m struggling with myself (not that I have the power to make any decisions). I can see a lot of merit in both arguments. What I hope for, above all else, is that those who are making the decisions carefully weigh both sides, to determine which route would be the best for the long-term health of the game.
What do you think? Would you like to see the Cubs and White Sox in the same division? Or does the tradition of the American and National Leagues mean more to you?