Following are the final 2012 standings for my proposed baseball realignment, essentially based on the European soccer league concept. The basic idea is explained here. This year's initial post is here.
Photo via The Beltway Sports Blog
11. White Sox
15. Red Sox
8. Blue Jays
Here is how the year would shake out in my alternate universe. The top eight teams in the first division (in red) would make the playoffs. The bottom three (in blue) would be relegated to the second division for the following season. The Phillies and Diamondbacks finished with identical records but the Phillies won the head-to-head series between the clubs, 4-2. So, Philadelphia gets to stay in the top flight.
It's been an exciting year in the second division. As the top two teams (in green), the Nationals and A's are automatically promoted for the 2013 season. The next four (in purple) would enter a playoff for the last spot. We'll give the Orioles the benefit of the doubt and bump them up. This isn't just my personal bias. The O's were 14 wins better than the Pirates this season - not exactly a close call.
As I've said before, I will declare my concept a failure if one of my second division teams wins the real-universe World Series. Let me be very clear: I want this to happen. I want to be convinced that any given team can win the Championship in every given year. In three seasons, it hasn't happened. With three of my second division teams in the real world playoffs, this could be the year. Obviously, the Orioles are my club and my first choice to win it all. My DC-area roots would make the Nats my second choice. I can claim a bit of a home team connection with the A's, too, as they are the parent club for the Vermont Lake Monsters.