MLS: One League, One Table

Discussion in 'MLS: General' started by OBartleby, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. OBartleby

    OBartleby New Member

    Aug 28, 2001
    Kansas City, MO
    As should be apparent to anyone who's been following the MLS standings and the "play off" table, MLS needs to continue their slow yet steady process of getting in line with much of the rest of the world when it comes to league tables. Emulating traditional American sports with fragmenting the league into divisions is not the way to go.

    The divisions have been an eye-sore this season, considering the inequities of the two. Seeing the #1 Eastern conference team in the #2 position on the playoff table for the better part of the last couple of months now is especially awkward given that all of the Western teams have been ahead in points for nearly all that period. And despite the attempts at "parity," the league has been following the natural order of things: some teams will do well (SJ), and some teams will suck (DCU, NE).

    Instead of having divisions and making some teams play each other more times than others, just put the league in one table and let the chips fall where they may. Let the divisional play phenomena fade into the past along with the Shootout and the backward clock.

  2. ToddP25

    ToddP25 Member

    Apr 19, 1999
    Richmond, VA
    What an original idea........we should discuss this....

  3. soccer4ever

    soccer4ever New Member

    Jun 1, 2001
    Divisions are keeping travel costs down.
  4. OBartleby

    OBartleby New Member

    Aug 28, 2001
    Kansas City, MO
    Not a valid reason – Is KC saving any money by flying to LA and SJ more than other teams?

    The official reason for the divisions in the first place was to foster regional rivalries. In a nation as large as ours, with the teams so spread out, this idea is absurd -- especially when you consider the history of the teams which have been placed in divisions based less on geography than pure arbitrariness.
  5. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Just because you're in the middle of nowhere and have no nearby rival, doesn't mean that Chicago-Columbus isn't a big deal to those fans, or that DCU-Scum isn't a big deal to them.

    I'll tell you what is absurd...the notion that proximity has no effect on fostering rivalries.
  6. OBartleby

    OBartleby New Member

    Aug 28, 2001
    Kansas City, MO
    Rivalries foster themselves. Artificially gerrymandered divisions have little (at best) or nothing (at worst) to do with fostering rivalries.

    I think you are misunderstanding me -- I never said that "proximity has no effect on fostering rivalries." What I'm saying is that it's absurd for the league to say "regionial divisions are there to promote rivalries," when the divisions do not reflect clear-cut geographical regions. KC playing against LA and SJ more often than KC playing CHI and C'bus does NOT reflect a desire to have stronger regional rivalries. I'm not sure what it reflects other than some form of psychosis.

    However, that was only a side issue of the original post.

    Do away with the divisions and have each team play each other an equal number of times, and keep one table for tallying the points. Get rid of any talk of "weak" or "strong" divisions. Let the chips fall.
  7. seraph

    seraph New Member

    Apr 1, 2002
    The playoff structure is obviously flawed. If a team like Colorado (who has played some of the most entertaining games this season) is left out for any of the eastern teams, it would be a travesty.

    PS - WTF New England??? They should use your defense for the All Star game...
  8. usbfc

    usbfc New Member

    Sep 8, 2000
    New York City
    History fosters rivalries...


    MLS shoudn't try and rush them. They will come if MLS can survive.
  9. SoFla Metro

    SoFla Metro Member

    Jul 21, 2000
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    Re: Re: MLS: One League, One Table

    It's not nice to call the Revs scum ;)
  10. Charlie Armstrong

    Mar 7, 2001
    South Jersey
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    MLS is a league with only 10 teams. Of course a single table makes sense. Still, you need to watch out for creeping eurosnobbery. Just because England has 20 teams in a single table, that doesn't mean that it's a good idea. They get away with it because they have pro/rel and competition for Euro slots to maintain interest across the breadth of the table.

    We don't have those enticements in the U.S. and probably never will have. The American way to deal with the mid-table blahs is with playoffs and championship games, and there's no reason MLS can't use this effectively. They just haven't done so thus far.

    Personally, I agree with you. At least for the time being, a single table makes the most sense However, assuming the league expands, as early as 12 teams and no later than 16 teams the league should have some sort of division and playoff system.

    Charlie in South Jersey
  11. lufty

    lufty Member

    Aug 21, 2000
    The Lakers and Celtics are not rivals. It just seems that way
  12. Charlie Armstrong

    Mar 7, 2001
    South Jersey
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think you're kind of off base on this whole rivalry thing. The best rivalries are actually created within divisions--gerrymandered or no. Proximity of the teams doesn't mean as much.

    In this day of air travel the distance between teams doesn't alway mean that much, but it is tough to have a rival you never play. That's why in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys' biggest rival is the Washington Redskins, not some team closer to home. That's why some of the fire went out of the competition between the Dallas Burn and the Chicago Fire this year.

    If you want to build strong rivalries in MLS, you need relatively small divisions where the teams play each other a lot.

    Charlie in South Jersey
  13. spejic

    spejic Cautionary example

    Mar 1, 1999
    San Rafael, CA
    San Jose Earthquakes
    But San Jose and LA are real rivals, and any single table will mean they will play each other less.

    Just because KC is in the middle of the country does not mean that, overall, there isn't a large savings in travel costs by having divisions. California alone is almost twice the size of England. Divisions make sense in large nations like ours or Mexico.
  14. photar74

    photar74 New Member

    Jun 25, 2002
    West Philly
    Re: Re: Re: MLS: One League, One Table

  15. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    no, but i'll bet you new england would rather fly to SJ once per season rather than twice.

    but yeah, this year it's really confusing. if Columbus (2nd in division, 8th in league) wins one game, they'll pole-vault to the 2nd playoff spot.

    So there's arguments for going bothways, but it's staying in two divisions.

    The reason why England has one division is because it's really really really really small compared to the US.
  16. McGinty

    McGinty Member

    Aug 29, 2001
    Sporting Kansas City
    Re: Re: MLS: One League, One Table

    When driving 4 hours to an away match is a really long trip, then you know you're in a relatively small country. :)

    And again, proximity alone rarely makes rivalries in the US. The Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians never had a rivalry despite the fact they are similar types of cities in a fairly close proximity. The fact is that they've never been competitive at the same time.
  17. Lucid

    Lucid Member

    May 17, 1999
    San Francisco, CA
    Sporting Kansas City
    God, I can't believe I'm actually responding to this thread.

    Rivalries are created by history, proximity can help, but the best rivalries tend to not be close to each other (Chiefs-Raider, Cowboys-Redskins, Avs-Redwings, etc...)

    Divisions are neccesary to cut down travel expenses. Someone said "Not a valid reason – Is KC saving any money by flying to LA and SJ more than other teams?" Yeah geniusm pick the team in the middle of the country for your arguement. The western conference is more scattered than the eastern. DC saves a lot of money by playing NE, NY, C-bus, and Chicago, rather than flying to the west coast more. But as of now there's not a lot of money that is saved for the whole league on travel, but when the league grows there will be a lot of money to be saved when KC is in a division with St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Milwuakee, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, etc...

    But creating rivalries shouldn't be any of our concerns, if you want a true rivalry, it just happens. We shouldn't do anything solely to encourage them or discourage them, just let them happen while creating our league to be the best it can be in America. Rivalries shouldn't even be an issue in this discussion. And want to know something else that doesn't even belong in this discussion? Europe.

    Single Table is boring, and as I always say, just because Europe does it doesn't mean that it's the correct way to do it. I cringe every time I see "We should be like Europe. They do this, they do that. Soccer flourishes there so copy they're system." Bulls**t. Should we have more in common with Europe because we are a soccer league and soccer is more popular over there, or should we have more in common with the other american sports leagues because we are an AMERICAN sports league and we should do what works best over here.

    Why should the MLS adapt to the Euro sports league system more than any other american sports league? NFL Europe uses single table, which is the Europe norm, just like MLS uses divisions, which is the American norm.
  18. Peakite

    Peakite Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    Halifax Town
    At the top level maybe. Regionalisation does occur lower down the pyramid to cut down on travel costs, and there have been proposals to raise the level at which this split occurs. Same pretty much anywhere else, happens higher up pretty much everywhere else due to a larger country (Italy, Germany and Spain only have two national divisions, France three and England five). As for distance involved, smaller clubs towards the edges of a region/country are heard to complain more about travelling than those more conveniently placed.

    To be fair though, surely having two divisions of three really would be daft, especially they'd presumably all play each other the same number of times. If they doubled the number of teams surely it'd be expected that they'd divide up.
  19. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not helping...

    Single-table has helped WUSA tremendously.

    But if MLS had a single table, maybe they could try promotion and....ah, screw it.
  20. Tea Men Tom

    Tea Men Tom Member

    Feb 14, 2001
    I Don't Get It

    Teams have trouble drawing during the playoffs, especially for the weeknight games. That means they lose money. Interest is on the wane because baseball has their playoffs, the NFL and College Football are getting started and NHL and NBA are getting ready for their seasons.

    So why are there so many playoff rounds?

    Why have 8 of your 10 teams qualify? Why not just call the regular season the "exhibition season", disqualify the Revs and pick one other team out of the hat to sit out and just play a 3 week season with the 8 teams?

    It's totally moronic. Just because all the other sports have diluted the importance of their regular seasons doesn't mean MLS has to follow the crowd.

    C'mon guys, wake up. Have your regular season mean something. The top two teams make the post season, that's it. And it's just one game for the Championship at the home field of the first place team.

    If you're concerned about too few games, lengthen the regular season. You'll make more money because you can add them to your season ticket package.

    If the playoffs were profitable it would be one thing, but they're not, no one knows they're going on and none of the games are on regular TV so no one's going to know what's going on.

    Are we sure the Revs management isn't really running this league?
  21. GPK

    GPK BigSoccer Supporter

    Aug 5, 1999
    San Diego, CA
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I hope you are kidding. I wasn't even alive, but I know that it all started in the 60's.....The balloons are still in the rafters......

    They changed the league setup to accomodate those who liked the single table. The East or West winner is likely to have done well against the other teams in their division.

    As Hala's weekly post shows, it is basically a single table league. The problem is the 8 out of 10 in the playoffs.
  22. Native Aztexan

    Jan 27, 2002
    Austin, Texas
    Austin Aztex
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    2002 MLS Standings (as of August 1, 2002)

    1 San Jose 21 12 02 07 34 20 38 +14
    2 Kansas City 21 08 07 06 31 30 31 +01
    3 Dallas 20 08 07 05 28 27 31 +01
    4 Los Angeles 19 09 03 07 27 26 30 +01
    5 Colorado 21 09 03 09 31 36 30 -05
    6 Metrostars 21 09 02 10 35 34 29 +01
    7 Chicago 20 08 04 08 30 25 28 +05
    8 Columbus 21 08 04 09 30 33 28 -03
    9 New England 20 07 01 12 35 42 22 -07
    10 DC 20 06 03 11 19 27 21 -08

    (Or how the West has won.) ;)
    Now why would the Eastern Confernece Champs (e.g. Metros) be the second seed instead of the second place team (e.g. Kansas City)? This I don't get.
  23. snowfx2

    snowfx2 New Member

    Jul 28, 2001
    so cal
    Some rivalries in this country have developed because of how good the teams are and because of their closeness.

    Oregon/Oregon State college fball rivalry is huge and these teams sucked big time before the past few years, but college sports is where most of the regional rivalries occur.

    And any No Cal team vs. So Cal team is a big rivalry regardless of how good the teams are
  24. GreatZar

    GreatZar Member

    Colorado Rapids
    United States
    Mar 29, 1999
    Denver, CO, USA
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Don't you guys GET IT?!?!? If we just change to a single table, MLS will be profitable.

    Surely there are more pressing issues...
  25. Charlie Armstrong

    Mar 7, 2001
    South Jersey
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Probably. Check the other threads. Maybe someone is talking about more pressing issues in one of them.

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