Thursday, December 30, 2004

Realignment

Nothing says late December like a fluff piece. My fluff of choice: realignment, in this case realigning major league baseball by team name. What would baseball look like in 2004 with this sort of realignment? Here's the standings I've arranged, using third-order (competition-adjusted) wins from Baseball Prospectus:

NL
Animal Division
Cubs, 93-68
Orioles, 85-76
Tigers, 80-82
Marlins, 80-81
Blues Jays, 71-89
Diamondbacks, 61-100

Career Division
Rangers, 83-79
Brewers, 77-84
Mariners, 75-87
Pirates, 72-89
Royals, 60-102

Geograph Division
Yankees, 91-70
Astros, 87-94
Indians, 78-82
Metropolitans, 76-86
Rockies, 70-91

AL
Virtue Divison
Cardinals, 98-63
Braves, 88-73
Angels, 87-74
Padres, 83-79
Devil Rays, 73-88

Sportswear Division
Red Sox, 103-58
Athletics, 90-71
White Sox, 79-83
Reds, 67-94

Abstraction Division
Dodgers, 86-75
Giants, 86-75
Twins, 84-76
Phillies, 83-78
Expos/Nationals, 69-93

Since the team with more third order wins won six of the seven postseason series (the Astros beat the Braves despite finishing 1.1 games behind in third order wins), let's use them to predict the postseason:

Cubs over Astros
Yankees over Rangers
Red Sox over Dodgers
Cardinals over A's

Cubs over Yankees
Red Sox over Cardinals

Red Sox over Cubs

Nothing could derail the Red Sox march to glory, but the realignment would have aided the Cubbies in breaking their "curse." Other benefactors include the Rangers and A's, while the Braves, the Angels, and the Twins are the most harmed. The Dodgers and Giants went down to the very end over a division title once again, with the Dodgers coming out a half game ahead. The Virtue and Sportswear Divisions are stacked, while the Abstraction Division had a down-year due to the flop of the heavily-favored Phillies. And why do so many small market franchises name their teams after careers?

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