MLB Divisions and Teams – Baseball Basics


Hey guys! Welcome to 90 Feet From Home
Baseball Basics. This one’s going to be a little bit different. Instead of talking
about stats, we’re going to talk a little bit about the structure of baseball. So,
most of you know that baseball is divided into two leagues, but if you
didn’t that’s what this episode’s about. If you already know all the leagues and the
league structure, this won’t be terribly exciting for you. For anybody new to
baseball, here is a quick rundown of differences between the National and
American Leagues. The National League was actually founded first, in 1876. Later
there was another league that was kind of a rough-and-tumble, serving alcohol,
kind of fun league, known as the American Association. The American Association
petered out, but in 1901 was kind of reimagined as the American League. There
was a third league, known as the National Association, but for our current needs,
we’re not going to focus on that at all because the National Association
obviously no longer exists. Now, the National League and the American League
still remain to this day. There are 15 teams in each league, and each league is
divided into three divisions. Really, at this point, the only key difference
between the National League and the American League — and not for much longer —
is the designated hitter, or the DH. The DH basically takes the place of the
pitcher in the batting order. So in the National League, they don’t have a DH.
The pitcher always takes bats and as a result the National League kind of needs
to play things differently. A lot of people think that there’s a bit more
nuance in deciding when to pull a pitcher, when to move to a relief pitcher,
because those at bats need to be considered. In the case of the American
League, they do have the designated hitter. The designated hitter then takes
the place of the pitcher throughout the game. So it’s a little bit easier to play
through your regular batting order that way because you’re not having to take
the pitcher themselves into consideration. Now, the designated hitter
is a huge point of contention between fans of the American League in the
National League. And as of this recording in 2019, it does sound like MLB is going
to be moving towards a universal designated hitter within the next two
years. National League fans are very, very upset about this, because they do like
that nuanced approach to double switches, to removing the pitcher, to doing those
sorts of things. So, aside from the designated hitter
there aren’t any real rule differences between the National League in the
American League. The teams will play each other regularly during the season in
what is referred to as interleague play. And they abide by the rules of the home
team stadium. So if an American League team is playing a National League team
at a National League team stadium, the designated hitter would not be allowed
in the game. An American League team would then need to use their pitcher as
a batter, and that can be kind of fun to watch. Because if you’re an American
League fan, you don’t typically get to see those pitchers take at bats. So it is
a bit of an added entertainment when you get to see an ace pitcher from an
American League team try to get their first hit. So let’s talk about leagues
and their divisions. In each league there are three divisions. There’s the east, the
central, and the west. So in the American League, teams that play in the American
League or AL East are the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, the Baltimore
Orioles, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Toronto Blue Jays. In the AL Central, it’s
the Chicago White Sox — now be very careful here. There are two teams in both
New York and Chicago. So the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians, the
Detroit Tigers, the Kansas City Royals, and the Minnesota Twins. In the AL West
you have the Houston Astros — who are actually the most recent team to switch
leagues. Previously the Astros were a National League team, and they made the
move to the American League which actually evened things out, giving each of
the leagues 15 teams. Which allowed for an even five teams per division breakdown.
It’s actually made things quite a bit easier for scheduling. So you have the
Houston Astros, the Oakland Athletics, the Seattle Mariners, the Texas Rangers, and
the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which is a name that changes so constantly, I’m
just giving you the whole thing. Los Angeles Angels is fine. Anaheim
Angels is the previous name. Over in the National League East, you have the Atlanta
Braves, the Miami Marlins — who used to be the Florida Marlins. Actually, Florida
teams have a bit of a trend of renaming their teams, as Tampa Bay Rays were
previously known as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. And frequently wear their throwback
jerseys for that. But they are now simply known as the Tampa Bay Rays and their logo
has changed from being an actual ray to being a ray of light.
Anyway, the Florida Marlins became the Miami Marlins, and they also just
rebranded this year with a new look. You also have the New York Mets, the
Philadelphia Phillies, and the Washington Nationals. In the NL Central you have the
other Chicago team, the Chicago Cubs. You have the Cincinnati Reds, the Milwaukee
Brewers, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis? St. Louis?
St. Louie? You have the Cardinals. In the NL West, you have the Arizona
Diamondbacks, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Colorado Rockies, the San Francisco
Giants, and the San Diego Padres. Now, we’ll get into at a later date a lot more
on each of these teams and we’ll do individual team histories. That kind of
gives you a breakdown of the National League and American League teams and
divisions. They meet once a year with a best-of-the best showdown in the
All-Star Game, which occurs in mid-July. The World Series determines which team
was the best throughout the entire season. So what happens is each one of
the leagues has a division winner which has the best record of that division,
plus a winning wild-card team. And between those four you have what is
known as the Division Series, where the best of the divisions go against each
other in the NLDS or the ALDS. And then you have what is considered the
championship series. So the two winning teams of the Division Series face off
against each other in a championship series, giving you the best team from
each of the leagues. And those two teams then go on to play in the World Series
which is a best-of-seven matchup. The Division Series —
ALDS or NLDS — is a best-of-five. The wild card games are a one-off best-of. And the
championship series NLCS or ALCS, are also a best-of-seven. And that’s how a
World Series champion is chosen. It’s kind of a misnomer to call it a World
Series, since all of the teams do play in either the US or Canada. There’s only one
Canadian team — the Toronto Blue Jays. But it does have that name regardless. I hope
this has helped you learn a little bit more about the leagues, the divisions, the
teams. Remember, if you have any questions at all, please leave a comment below.
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