MLB Realignment: Push To Move Pirates To American League

The Pittsburgh Pirates have taken up residence in the National League for 125 years, a streak that makes the club's 18 straight losing seasons look like nothing. Despite that, some are now pushing for the Bucs, rather than the Astros, to move to the American League in the rumored Major League Baseball realignment. This group includes Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Joe Starkey, who cites plans from the Boston Globe and former Reds GM Jim Bowden to support his argument before saying a move to the AL Central would be a good idea. 

↵
↵

Fresh start. New league. Instant rivalry. That would be with the Cleveland Indians, obviously, but the Detroit Tigers are a natural, too. If I'm not mistaken, the Pittsburgh and Detroit fan bases are fairly well-acquainted.

↵

...

↵

Coonelly, understandably, is not a fan of a move to the AL.

↵

"We like it in the National League," he said. "We have a long history there."

↵

Long as in 125 years. That kind of tenure means something. But people adapt. The first time the Indians come to town, nobody would be pining for an Astros series.

↵
↵

He's right. No one would miss the Astros. They'd miss the Cubs and Brewers, two clubs fans have built a serious distaste for since the Pirates move to the NL Central in 1994, not to mention older rivals like the Reds, Phillies and Mets, who the Pirates would also be leaving behind in the NL.

↵

The Pirates have no history with the Indians or Tigers. They've met relatively frequently in interleague play, and little approaching a rivalry has developed with either team. In fact, Pirates fans have come to like the Tigers in recent years as they've been managed former Pirate great Jim Leyland.

↵
Starkey appears to have decided that geographic proximity and rivalries in other sports are more important than any kind of on-field history or personalities. He's relying on lazy, slippery-slope arguments to support rocking 125 years of tradition, and that's just plain foolish.
↵

↵
Almost as foolish as the designated hitter.
↵

↵
UPDATE by Charlie Wilmoth: Coonelly is also talking here about moving the Pirates to the N.L. East, which I also don't agree with but which at least makes some sense due to potential rivalries with the Phillies and Mets. To move there, though, they'd have to play tougher competition, and they'd probably still be in the only six-team division in baseball.
↵
↵
On the other hand, maybe the NL keeps all 16 teams and the Pirates are simply added to the NL East. As Coonelly says, "If one National League division has to have six teams, nothing says it has to be the Central."
↵
↵
True, but maybe the Pirates could try to quit being in the division that has six teams all the time? That's a clear disadvantage for them.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SB Nation Pittsburgh

You must be a member of SB Nation Pittsburgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Pittsburgh. You should read them.

Join SB Nation Pittsburgh

You must be a member of SB Nation Pittsburgh to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation Pittsburgh. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.