Major League Baseball released its tentative 2012 schedule today, and with it, questions as to whether the Houston Astros might be jumping to the American League West were raised. With the changes – for at least next season and possibly further – the Astros will be in the National League Central as sources indicate it would be too difficult at this point to change the schedule for all clubs based upon realignment.
The aspect of the Astros not moving plays against two different issues before the league.
For one, it’s been reported by some that prospective Astros owner Jim Crane was not being approved as the new owner of the club by the leagues owners due to not wishing to jump leagues. That issue has now been resolved, although as of today, no vote to approve Crane is scheduled.
As part of that, it begs the question as to whether expanded playoffs are now off the table. In speaking with sources close the matter, it is possible that expanded playoffs could still occur and that league realignment would take place for 2013.
The difficulty in implementing expanded playoffs with MLB still unbalanced with 16 in the NL and 14 in the AL is that there would be interleague almost, if not everyday of the week.
It’s a solution, but not a graceful one. If there are critics of Interleague play now, will having it occur daily dilute Interleague’s luster for other fans? It’s certainly possible.
Bottom line, Astros fans that were fighting for the club to stay in the National League can breath a sigh of relief for 2013 season. And, when you think about it, moving them after doesn’t exactly get any easier. In fact, it may be more difficult as the Astros will be that much further along with their new regional sports network being created with the Houston Rockets.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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