Thursday, July 13, 2006

Baseball Expansion

In a recent post I outlined a scheme for realigning major league baseball. The scheme includes an expansion of the number of major league teams by 2 from the present number of 30. "Aaagh," yell the knee-jerk purists (as opposed to the thoughtful purists, like me), "expansion dilutes the quality of the game."

That's true only in the sense that the quality of the game wouldn't be what it could be in the absence of expansion. But expansion doesn't dilute the quality of the game if expansion keeps pace with population growth. (I take population as a reasonable index of the number of persons who are able to play baseball at a given level of skill, given that 32 teams would require only 800 players, out of a population of 300,000,000 -- and growing.)

The population of the United States in 2006 is about twice the population of the United States in 1950. There were 16 major league teams in 1950. Twice 16 is 32. Q.E.D.