The Houston Astros will be moving to the American League West as Major League Baseball tackles the issue of realignment, according to a report from Fox Sports Arizona.
Jack Magruder, a very reliable reporter, is writing that two sources told him the Arizona Diamondbacks would not be asked to move from the National League West to the American League West because the Astros were making the move, although probably not until the 2013 season. Realignment is a hot topics as Commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB staff works on a new collective bargaining agreement; the current one expires in December. Magruder is also reporting MLB is imposing a move as a condition of the sale of the team to a group headed by Jim Crane.
Really, a move of the Astros makes the most sense if your goal is two-15-team leagues with three five-team divisions. It takes the Astros out of the six-team National League Central and into the four-team American League West. It also sets up a natural rivalry with the Texas Rangers.
There will be more elements to realignment, as it means continual interleague play. This will require some imagination: while in general interleague games draw better than average games (indeed, this season’s final interleague games drew an average of 36,578 fans per game, the highest average since the 2008 season), the luck of the schedule (the record-breaking weekend had the White Sox/Cubs and Athletics/Giants) had as much to do as anything else and there’s a real danger of extended interleague play could suffer from overexposure.
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