Peter Gammons tweeted this afternoon that the Houston Astros sale to Jim Crane is expected to go through in mid-November, and with it the club will be moving to the American League. When Bud Selig began kicking around realignment ideas a couple of years ago, the big impetus behind it was baseball’s ridiculous league structure that sees a 16-team league and a 14-team league and within those leagues, four five-team divisions, a six-team division, and a four-team division. It’s dumb to pretend that it’s fair that NL Central teams have to fight through six teams to make the playoffs while the AL West only has four.
It’s not clear if the move would happen in 2012. The schedules, which have already been released, would have to be completely re-written and there will have to be a huge change in how interleague play is handled with the two leagues home to an odd-number of teams. I’m all for this: the uneven divisions are dumb and treating interleague play like it’s some kind of “event” when 90% of the games are Pirate/Royals crapfests.
In the long term, I bet this ramps up some serious contraction speculation with the Rays and a second team, plus some much larger realignment plans to go back to even-numbered leagues. That’s probably a ways off, though, and for now I’ll be plenty happy with a five-team NL Central and no one pretending that I’m supposed to be excited about interleague play.