For Pete's Sake

This realignment proposal would put Royals in division with Cardinals, Cubs

Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio scored before the throw to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina during a game this season.
Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio scored before the throw to St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina during a game this season. jsleezer@kcstar.com

When Major League Baseball expanded prior to the 1998 season, the Royals had a choice: move to the National League or stay in the American League.

The Royals passed on the chance to join the Cubs, Cardinals and the rest of the NL Central, and the Brewers made the move instead.

This mini-history lesson is important to note because Baseball America reported “that there seems to be a building consensus that baseball will soon be headed to a 32-team configuration.” That would then lead to a realignment of divisions.

That story says one proposal would create four eight-team divisions, with the Royals being joined in a Midwest Division by the White Sox, Cubs, Astros, Rangers, Cardinals, Rockies and Brewers. The Twins, Tigers and Indians would go to a North Division.

The Baseball America story notes that Portland and Montreal seem like the logical choices to join Major League Baseball at some point, and that would lead to realignment based on geography.

A 32-team league would allow for 12 teams to make the playoffs (4 division champions and eight wild-card teams), and the proposal would cut the number of games each team would play during the season. Under the proposal, the Royals would play every team in Major League Baseball but not necessarily all of them at home.

Nothing is imminent regarding expansion, but at the All-Star Game in July, commissioner Rob Manfred did say that he has potential cities in mind if two were to join the league.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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