Expansion, Realignment and Other Fun Baseball Stuff…108 Style!

Friends, it’s your buddy BeefLoaf….as we sit here today there are tons of rumors and articles and blog posts about the potential goings on of MLB, whether it be expansion from 30 to 32 teams or realignment of those teams into more geographically pleasing divisions……universal usage of the DH, etc.  I have seen tons and tons of takes on this and none of them are really geared towards YOU and ME, the passionate White Sox fans that will be going out to Sox Park and enjoying the NEW MLB once the changes are made, so I had to get down on digital paper to speak to the 108 family.

MLB: World Series-Kansas City Royals at San Francisco Giants

I have heard the usual suspects floated out there for Expansion…..everyone wants a team in Montreal for sentimental reasons, I have heard Charlotte, Portland, San Antonio, etc.  For the casual fan, none of this means much of anything, at least the way the usual pundits roll it out there.  Here are the actual concerns for a true White Sox fan and the 108ers……which expansion cities will be the absolute BEST to visit when the White Sox are there……my choices for expansion cities…..
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – Who wouldn’t want to jet down to the DR for a long weekend (or midweek) to catch their favorite team at night and lounge at gorgeous beaches during the day.  You wouldn’t believe it, but most of the resorts down in the DR have drink packages that make the #108ing somewhat affordable.  Also, 87% of the league is actually from the DR, so the players would fucking love it!!  The only issues are….I think the best baseball fields in the DR would need a slight upgrade in order to be considered major league baseball stadiums.  Also, last I checked, they have a bit of a roads / drunk driving problem in the DR.  That could be an issue for fans and players.  Maybe MLB can litter the town with self driving cars and we are back on track again!!!  Oh and a good chunk of the MLB schedule would be during hurricane season.  But other than that, it should be a done deal.  I can’t wait to sit beach side with a Pina Colada during the day and then in the evening, watch our White Sox battle the Punta Cana Chinga Tu Madre.
Las Vegas, Nevada – Now, the 108ers used to hit Vegas A LOT back in the day.  Now we don’t go as often, but we would go more if the White Sox were making annual trips there to battle an LV MLB team.  I know what you are going to say, Vegas already has a AAA team…..I’m aware, the Mets have been sending Michael Conforto down there for large swaths of the previous few seasons, much to their detriment.  Think about it though, LV has the population, and they have the tourists coming in so its a location people like to visit, why not catch a ballgame there.  I think there have even been whispers about a Vegas MLB club, so much so that the MGM Grand has roped off several banks of slots in hopes of being able to build the Las Vegas MLB clubs stadium right there on their casino floor.  Imagine how terrific that would be, you could probably even getting a pass to leave the stadium in between innings to play a little 21.  I just don’t know how this could get better.  Plus, it will prepare the City of Las Vegas for when their team gets contracted and the White Sox move there at the end of Jerry’s state sponsored lease at Sox Park.
Mexico City, Mexico – This isn’t necessarily following the model above, I mean, I am sure this place is fun to visit, but this place would also just be FUN.  You know how Coors Field is basically a launching pad, well, Mexico City is Denver on steroids when it comes to hitting environment.  Who wouldn’t want to watch another ballpark that players absolutely destroy baseballs into the horizon?  Plus, I also envision this team sourcing some of its talent from washed out old major leaguers for some reason.  I totally see a Freddy Garcia and an Esteban Loaiza in the rotation for the inaugural season……possibly even Fernando Valenzuela, who would hit cleanup and play LF.
Again, who gives a fuck about Realignment, other than, I want some soft ass, candy-ass, low payroll franchises in the White Sox division, so we can stomp them with regularity and get into the post season.  I understand geographical concerns and wanting to put the goddamn Cubs in our division because of it, but that’s not gonna work.  The trust-fund baby Tom Ricketts can spend and spend and spend (even when he isn’t trying to override local government to line his own pocket).  Jerry on the other hand, despite getting the State to pay for his stadium and then basically getting the State to pay for his rent at that stadium, really isn’t interested in spending any money (unless you buy enough $9.75 Modelos), so the Cubs in the same division as the White Sox just won’t work.  Here’s the White Sox division, filled with teams that won’t spend any money to get better that we can clobber with regularity.
White Sox
That division would be sweet, it would make Jerry look like he actually gives a fuck about the White Sox, given how little the rest of those owners will spend on their teams.
Also, I see A LOT of people who talk about how interleague play is a fad and how they don’t need / want it anymore.  From the perspective of folks who have their asses in the seat all the time, we LOVE INTERLEAGUE PLAY!  Those that know us, Friday night is usually trivia night..it’s much more fun to look up trivia related to a seldom seen opponent then tryna figure out some “New” trivia for the Royals after they’ve been through town for the thousandth homestand.  Plus, its nice to get a chance to see the very special players from the other league.  I know tons of folks came out to Sox Park this year to see Kershaw pitch.  So the non-interleague folks can go piss in the wind.
We are all for this.  Watching Pitchers hit is not very fun.  It used to be fun when we were kids to see if the pitcher could hit at all, but then you realize these are grown men and its fucking embarrassing.  I don’t want to watch them hit anymore, lets get an actual hitter up there.  I know the NL purists will scoff at this, but fuck them, we are going for the most entertaining game experience.
I for one, don’t want Robot Umps….I don’t want the perfectly enforced strike zone.  I sort of like the idea that the way a catcher receives a ball, or the way the catcher smells or the way the umpire feels that day or if the pitcher is a total jerk off, can affect the strike zone.  I like the idea of baseball being a people game and an exploitable game.  Truth be told, when you sit in the 108, you don’t know wtf is a strike or not, we just can’t tell from our angle…..I mean, it doesn’t stop us from booing if the call doesn’t go our way, but still.  Two changes I would make to the umpires.  #1 – Only umps with near perfect vision can be behind the plate (and they should be compensated more for this), I don’t want some 60 year old guy that can’t see 4 feet in front of his face judging whether a 100 MPH fastball with tail caught the outside corner of the plate, at that point it is just guessing.  Maybe this already happens, i dunno.  #2 – We’ll probably need the egg heads at Google to develop this, but given they have self driving cars, this should be no problem.  We need the umps behind homeplate to be given Google Glasses that allow them to see the path of the ball, sort of like a heat map…..remember the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger classic “Predator”??  Yes!!! That is what I am thinking, vision like the monster in that movie.  This would also likely help in detecting if there are any substances on the ball, but that is just a side effect.  The ump could quickly review the heat path of the ball to HELP determine if it was a strike or not…..see how I did that?  Basically robot help without the robots.
Replay is a whole other story.  This is where we could use some robots to help the cause, because there is no reason replay should take 4 mins when they are only looking at a swipe tag…..20 seconds max and the umpires don’t need to go sit on the phone while everyone in the stadium watches this trainwreck.
You have already heard my thoughts on expanded playoffs, I am for an additional wild card team, but I want this thing settled a little differently than now.  It would give the division winners an extra day or two for rest and would tax the shit out of the wild card winners, which would add some advantage to the top division winner.
Got thoughts on all this shizzz….hit us up on the Twitters or on Facebook and we’d be happy to converse.
– BeefLoaf

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