The Propositions Impossible Series is a list of ideas that could never happen. Whether too absurd or too perfect, these are not serious suggestions as much as thought experiments. Food for thought that’s probably gone bad.
This installment of Propositions Impossible: In which we respond to a recent Men in Blazers podcast that wondered aloud how fantastic an FA Cup for baseball would be by asking, “Why the fuck not?” So we give you The Babe Ruth Cup©: an elimination cup tournament that runs concurrently with the baseball regular season.
Here’s how it would pan out for the regular season: each Major League team would play 3-game home-and-home series with every team in their league. So the A’s play 3 games against the Yankees in Oakland and 3 games in New York. No interleague play – leave that for the pre and postseason. With 15 teams in each league, one team would play 14 series at home, 14 on the road. At 3 games each, that’s an 84-game regular season schedule. At the end, the top team in each league would then play for the World Series. No wild cards, no automatic division-winner berths. Only the two best teams, just like it was in the beginning. The best is the team with the most wins; with a bevy of tie-breakers – most series wins, run differential, most runs, most away wins/runs, whatever. Point being, every game in the regular season matters when determining the best team, and the slate is not wiped clean by any playoffs.
And here’s how the Babe Ruth Cup© would pan out: Um yeah, someone should do some real research on how many Single A-, Double A-, and Triple A-ballteams there are out there, but the essence is to have an initial draw where the Singles and Doubles have a knock-out phase, then another draw start to play the big boys. [Ed. - There are 30 Triple-A teams, one for each MLB team. There are 32 Double-A teams and 30 Class A teams. Plenty of room for group play, round of 16, then on down to 2.] Initial series would be group play, with the top teams advancing, then on to elimination rounds. Again, every series is 3 games, only they’re knock-out series – you lose you’re done – so this would essentially be a bracket at this point. Any team can play any other team, regardless of affiliation or league, so you’d get some interesting interleague and intraorganization match-ups. Yes, certain teams would get knocked out early, meaning fewer games and fewer gates for less successful teams. Sorry communists, but that’s how the real world works.
Keep in mind the Major League regular season and Babe Ruth Cup© would occur simultaneously: MLB would get the prime weekend series: Friday, Saturday, Sunday. BRC© would get mid-week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday depending on travel. Doubleheaders for weather makeup games, as per usual. I imagine this would be another 80-90 games, meaning the entire season would take place over the same length of time. After the MLB regular season and BRC© bracket play, the BRC© final is a 7-game series the two weeks of October, and the World Series is another 7-game series over the last 2 weeks of October.
(Other people have proposed relegation/promotion models for baseball, and if you want to add those to this structure, that’s cool, but not necessary.)
There you have it. Simple, concise, every game counts without screwing around with the format too much. You’re welcome, baseball – you just got way more exciting.