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Which MLB changes are best and worst?

Split the difference

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

The realities of making changes are a million miles away from just throwing things down on paper, as fans want to do. You can't move a team without its approval, and the outcry in Houston against switching to the American League shows why it is rare for a team to agree to a move, as Milwaukee did when the Brewers went to the NL.

Houston is switching leagues because the players union strongly pushed to

get 15 teams in each league, and the sale of the team to Jim Crane gave MLB leverage to make a change a condition of the transaction. The 15-15 makes sense, but I never minded 16-14 and am leery of the year-round interleague play it creates.

A one-game wild-card playoff, on the other hand, is a great idea because it restores value to winning a division.

progers@tribune.com

Realignment overdue

Steve Gould

Baltimore Sun

I'm not wild about having interleague games every day of the season, but if that's necessary to have two leagues with the same number of teams, then so be it.

It has never made sense to have one league with 14 teams and the other with 16. If the World Series is meant to determine the best team in baseball by pitting two league champions against each other, those two leagues should be the same size. The 15-15 realignment is long overdue.

I don't like the addition of an extra wild card in each league, however. Baseball not only is watering down its postseason, it's allowing what in the past would've been a non-playoff team to potentially advance to the divisional round simply by getting lucky.

sgould@tribune.com

Level playing field

Bill Shaikin

Los Angeles Times

How can you say every team has a fair shot at the playoffs when the American League West has four teams and the National League Central six? That inequity will be remedied when the Astros' move leaves every division with five teams.

And teams should be rewarded for winning their division, so the one-game playoff between two wild-card teams is fair.

Year-round interleague play? Whatever. Baseball shamelessly has pumped interleague attendance by putting NL vs. AL matchups on prime June weekends rather than cold April weeknights. Now the truth will be out for all to see: Other than geographical rivalries and visits by the Yankees and Red Sox to the NL, interleague play is of little interest to fans and almost no interest to players.

wshaikin@tribune.com

Odds are uneven mess

Mandy Housenick

The Morning Call

Let's get the obvious out of the way. Moving the Astros to the American League to give each league 15 teams is a no-brainer.

Wish me luck on choosing which other change is worse. Yes, they're both that bad.

With an odd number of teams in each league, there will be more interleague play. At least one AL vs. NL matchup will take place on days every team is active. One source is reporting there could be as many as 30 interleague games per team. There should be zero.

Adding a wild-card team is just as bad. The season already is long, not to mention the change would eliminate all the fantastic drama that accompanied the final day of the 2011 regular season.

ahousenick@tribune.com

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