The Instigator
Senatus
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TN05
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Baseball should have a promotion/relegation system

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
TN05
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/26/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,791 times Debate No: 46823
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

Senatus

Pro

Baseball is one of America's favorite sports, but I'm willing to argue that it should introduce a system of promotion and relegation, as found in many European football leagues. I will argue as Pro, saying that MLB and minor baseball leagues that currently include MLB farm teams would be better off with a promotion/relegation system, while Con will argue the opposite.

Definitions:
Promotion Relegation: In sports leagues, promotion and relegation is a process where teams are transferred between two divisions based on their performance for the completed season.
Baseball-MLB and all associated minor leagues


First round is for acceptance.
TN05

Con

I'll take this debate. I'm a strong advocate of the American sports league model, so this will be fun to take the con position on.
Debate Round No. 1
Senatus

Pro

Arguments:


The Draft and the End of Competition

Every year, the baseball rookie draft gives teams a chance to draft young prospects. Teams that didn't do well the year before get more chances to draft players, and teams that did do well get fewer picks. Teams that are out of the playoffs at the end of the season don't have any motivation to do well at the end of the season. Come October, teams that do badly have nothing to play for.

Steroids

As many baseball fans know, steroids are a problem for the world of baseball (along with all sports). So far, there hasn't really been all that much punishment for cheating. Baseball needs a solution, or else it will continue to jeopardize the integrity of the game.

Minor League Teams

Some teams do badly year after year. Other times, minor league teams do well, but they always lose their good players to their major league affiliate. This doesn't allow for continuity for the minor leagues, while it might supply major league teams that do badly with players.

The Connection to P/R

What connects these problems? They could all be solved with a P/R system. A struggling team would have to worry about relegation. A bad finish would mean relegation, not more draft picks. Also, a steroid problem could result in relegation for a team. That would be a no nonsense punishment for an offending team. It would likely put a quick end to the steroid problem. Lastly, minor league teams would have a chance to succeed. They could get a chance to play in the big leagues by doing well one season. Good minor league teams could make it to the playoffs and eventually win in the World Series. Minor league teams that go major might attract more tourists to a needy city, helping the economy. A P/R system would be very beneficial.
TN05

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for creating this debate. I'm not a huge fan of baseball, but I believe the US system of sports league is vastly superior than the European model and I will attempt to prove so in this debate. Due to character limits I will only be giving my own arguments this round.

Promotion and relegation encourages stagnation
Given how closely related sports are to culture, it is truly fascinating that Europe - a world strong point for socialists and the left - has a system that more closely resembles capitalism than in the United States, where league membership is closed, revenues are shared, and the weaker teams are given opportunities to advance. However, there is good reason for this - the American model results in a more interesting product.

To compare, let's look at the English Premier League -the most-watched soccer league in the world[1] and perhaps the best example of this model. Since its foundation in 1992, only five different teams have won the league's title, with a whopping 13 of the 21 titles going to Manchester United.[2] Six seasons have resulted in repeat champions.[3]

Over this same period, ten different MLB teams have won the World Series title; the most successful team over that period was the New York Yankees, who won five titles out of twenty.[3] Additionally, only three MLB seasons have resulted in a repeat champion over that period.[4] In other words, the MLB has had twice as many teams become champions, less dominance by one team, and had half as many seasons with repeat champions.

Differences between lower levels
Even if we disregard the idea that having more champions is exciting, the fact of the matter is the systems in England and America are vastly different. In England, minor leagues (including professional, semi-pro, and amateur leagues) are connected via a pyramid, with over 140 leagues participating. Teams advance up and down the pyramid based on performance, but all teams are independent and fully competitive.[5] In contrast, the minor league system in American baseball is essentially a "farm system" - that is, rather than functioning as a purely competitive enterprise, they are used by major league teams to develop future talent for them or send down struggling players to gain experience.[6] This is essentially promotion and relegation for players. Almost all minor league teams are independent entities that sign Player Development Contracts (PDCs) with Major League teams. These result in MLB teams paying salaries for "uniformed personnel" and equipment (ie. bats and balls).[7] There are indeed groupings for minor leagues, but instead of a pyramid, it's basically a different level where all leagues in that level are roughly equal.[8] Simply put, the minor league system is not designed to handle a promotion and relegation system.

Costs
Design leads to another problem - costs. In the English system, the average EPL team makes 55 million pounds in TV revenue as compared to the second-tier Championship teams making an average of only 2 million pounds.[9] Newly-promoted teams often find it difficult to compete due to this, and often drop back down the year after their promotion. Only two out of the twenty-one EPL seasons have resulted in all promoted teams avoiding relegation. The league has tried to offer money to help teams cope with the loss of revenue, but this has backfired, resulting in a situation where teams just 'bounce' back and forth between the leagues - good enough to dominate the Championship, but not good enough to compete in the EPL. Some unlucky teams have been unable to cope with the lack of revenue, even with these payments, resulting in them going into administration or even being liquidated.[10] Given these financial issues, it is almost certain the unprepared minor league baseball teams would face a similar problem.

Distance
Given that MLB teams play 162 games per season, travel costs are a major concern, especially for poorer teams. The longest distance is from Seattle to Miami - roughly 2,734 mi (4,399 km). This is well more than most European countries, including England, which only has a distance of 646 m (1,040 km). Minor leagues extend to Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Columbia, making potential costs that much worse.[6]

References:
1. http://www.premierleague.com...
2. https://en.wikipedia.org...
3. https://en.wikipedia.org...
4. https://en.wikipedia.org...
5. https://en.wikipedia.org...
6. https://en.wikipedia.org...
7. https://en.wikipedia.org...
8. https://en.wikipedia.org...
9. https://en.wikipedia.org...
10. https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Senatus

Pro

I will use this round for rebuttals

Rebuttals:

Promotion and relegation encourages stagnation

You argued that the reason why the Barclay's Premier League has had few winners is because of the P/R system. That is not true. England has no playoff for their champions[1]. If you win all 38 games, you've won. In MLB, you win all of your games, you have a playoff. You get several games to prove yourself. The short playoffs are therefore less statistically accurate than the BPL standing would be, according to the Law of Large Numbers[2]. The more games that are played, the more likely that the best team will come out on top. However, America doesn't want the best team to win. They want to be surprised. In England, you would have to have a miracle to win and not be the best team. In the US, you can win by pulling through in only a few games. That's why England has so few champions compared to the US.

Differences between lower levels

You've noticed that MLB and the BPL have different league structures. That is part of the point of the debate. I did know that MiLB is a farm system for the most part[3], which is why I'm arguing for P/R. Many of the teams in MiLB are affiliates[4]. They don't need to stay with their club forever. There are some teams that participate in leagues without affiliation at all. A promotion relegation might move us away from the problems of minor leagues, like uneven classes and players who wait in AAA for injured major leaguers[5]. The farm system could remain, with each team having one or two reserve teams, like in the Spanish football leagues[6]. Affiliates could stay as reserve teams, or try their luck to win. The farm system would likely be somewhat changed if a P/R system was created.

Cost

The MLB postseason has 10 teams overall, or 1/3 of the league[7]. Also, Hull City is in 12th in the BPL[8]. Hull City was promoted last year. MLB has three divisions per league, and to qualify for the playoffs, you could be in 11th place. Hull City could be on the fringe for the playoffs. It might not be enough to qualify, but it shows that promoted teams can do well in a new league. Minor league teams could do well in the Majors.

Distance

A P/R system would not always increase travel distances. If, let's say, the Phillies got relegated, we would not put them in the California League. The International League would be a better choice for them. Likewise, the Padres would not be in the Texas League, but they would be in the California League. The teams in Venezuela are the biggest problem, because it would be unreasonable for any team to travel there. They would not be able to be part of the P/R system because of their location. Teams in the Caribbean and Central America, could be allowed, because MLB teams could afford to travel there. Lower level teams would be able to go to the Mexican League, and leagues centered closer to the Caribbean. This would mean combining the A tiers of MiLB. However, this would be a small price to pay for a P/R system. The last cost issue is teams that get promoted to MLB. MLB could easily prop them up to allow them to travel. MLB lowest valued team is worth 451 million dollars[10]. They could easily tax the teams, or offer rewards like draft picks in exchange for money.

Thanks to my opponent for participating in this debate.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[8]http://www.premierleague.com...
[9]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[10]http://www.forbes.com...
TN05

Con

In round 1, my opponent first argues that promotion and relegation is superior because it would abolish the draft. He argues that adding promotion and relegation would encourage bad teams to try and win. However, my opponent severely overstates the importance of the MLB draft. Draftees are not forced into a starting lineup, instead being assigned to the minor leagues. and many drafted players never play a single MLB game.[1] Further, the draft doesn't apply to players from outside the US or Canada,[2] which immediately decreases its value due to the increasing number of foreign baseball players. While promotion and relegation may indeed give bottom-feeders a bit more to play for, it has a similar problem - a team can effectively clinch a championship early, devaluing the entire rest of the season.

My opponent's second argument relates to steroids, saying teams that have players doping could be relegated. This argument is interesting, but it hardly seems fair to force a team down because a player did something stupid. My opponent's third argument is that minor league teams that do well often have players recalled to their affiliate team. With all due respect, the only reason the players are on a minor league team in the first place is because they were sent there. That's the entire point of the minor leagues - to develop players while having them play in real baseball games. Minor league baseball would not exist if it weren't for this. I highly doubt that, even in a promotion and relegation system, players would want to play for a minor league team instead of one of the 30 established and far more wealthy MLB teams. And even if a minor league team somehow did make it to the top level, I've already established they'd have a difficult time adjusting.

In round 3, my opponent attempts to rebut my arguments: stagnation, differences between levels, costs, and travel. Rather than directly rebut my argument, he attempts to justify the unexciting Premier League by arguing the best team wins all the time and playoffs are bad. Unfortunately, he neglects an important point: what defines the best team? If Manchester United, the 2012 Premier League champions, were the best team in English soccer, why weren't they able to beat third-place Chelsea over two attempts in the FA Cup knockout tournament?[3] If an MLB team is indeed the best, why shouldn't they be able to beat a supposedly inferior team over a five or seven-game series?[4] The MLB has the right idea here, and reverting to the inferior promotion and relegation model would bring the boring situation of having the same team win every year because they have more money.

My opponent also argues that minor league farm teams could easily convert to full-fledged teams. I do not agree with this - presently, their entire rosters and staff are paid for by an MLB team. Could these minor-league teams, many of whom play in small cities and small stadiums, be able to afford to pay for all of these on their own? I doubt it. Without the support of a major-league team, willing to take a possible financial loss in return for giving their young players experience, many of these minor league teams would fold. Even more confusingly, my opponent argues each MLB team could replace these minor-league teams by fielding one or two reserve teams. In this, my opponent inherently recognizes the value of the farm league model, but still suggests that we should abolish the current minor league system. That seems like a whole lot of money to waste to bring in a system that simply wouldn't work.

Thirdly, my opponent ignores almost all of my arguments relating to cost and instead tries to argue based on one example (Hull City) that a newer team can compete. Unfortunately, the EPL has only 20 teams - 10 less than the MLB. Adjusting and MLB playoff model for EPL size would mean there would be six playoff teams, and Hull City would be pretty far (18 points) out of contention. Further, Hull City has lost more games then they have won and are 33 points from the lead, as compared to only 6 points from relegation.[5] To say they are doing well is a bit of an exaggeration. Finally, my opponent argues that travel wouldn't be an issue, but Venezuela would not be allowed to compete. That seems a bit picky given you want to convert the minors, but having a league (either MLB or lower level) potentially stretch from Seattle to Columbia to the Dominican Republic simply would not work over a 162 game season - or any season length, really. Although my opponent argues the lowest-valued MLB team is worth a lot, what's to say a newly-promoted team would be worth that? That simply doesn't make sense.

References:
1. https://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://mlb.mlb.com...
3. https://en.wikipedia.org...
4. https://en.wikipedia.org....
5. http://www.premierleague.com...
Debate Round No. 3
Senatus

Pro

Senatus forfeited this round.
TN05

Con

I extend all of my arguments to round 4. Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by TN05 2 years ago
TN05
I understand, I've gotten close to having that happen. That's why I prefer to get arguments up as quickly as possible... but that's just me. Good debate. :)
Posted by Senatus 2 years ago
Senatus
Sorry for forfeiting; I was planning on writing the argument today, but I must have gotten the time remaining wrong.
Posted by MeinFrankenmind 2 years ago
MeinFrankenmind
I wouldn't simply on principle. Nothing against the idea at all and if that's the way they decide to go I probably won't mind one bit, it's just that I wouldn't be one to incorporate a European element into a traditionally American game.
Posted by macaztec 2 years ago
macaztec
That it is. I'm sorry. I was just being a pain. I was in that mood. I hate baseball. But this debate intrigues me.
Posted by Senatus 2 years ago
Senatus
Baseball is still the national pastime. I changed it anyway.
Posted by macaztec 2 years ago
macaztec
Pro football has held the number one spot on favorite sports in America for over 30 years.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Actionsspeak 2 years ago
Actionsspeak
SenatusTN05Tied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had stronger rebuttals and Pro forfeited a round.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
SenatusTN05Tied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Too far outside my area of expertise to grade arguments, however a missed round is a significant deterrent to conduct.