I have four goals (or “pipe dreams” as they are sometimes called) for this league. They are:

  • Goal #1: transferring two teams from the NBL to the AABC circa 1949-1950 (so both leagues will have 10 teams and identical 162-game schedules).
  • Goal #2: relocating one team from the NBL East to a Midwestern city, preferably Kansas City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Milwaukee, or Dallas, concurrently with Goal #1 above
  • Goal #3: expanding by four teams (to 24 total, 12 in each league) by the mid-to late 1950's, to include whichever three of the above four cities are still vacant, plus Washington, D.C.
  • Goal #4: expanding by four more teams (to 28 total, 24 in each league) by the mid-to-late 1960's, to include Atlanta, Denver, San Diego, and a second team in Los Angeles.

Concurrently with some or all of the above goals some divisional realignment will occur, and additional league-switching may also be necessary.

By the conclusion of Goal #4 both Western Divisions will have:

  • at least two teams on the West Coast
  • a team in Chicago
  • no teams east of Chicago

Both Eastern Divisions will have:

  • no teams west of Cincinnati

There are countless different paths we could take towards meeting these goals, and many decisions to be made along the way.

I am partial to:

  • Teams switching leagues only as much as is needed to attain the desired geographic alignment. Switching back and forth should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
  • The most historically successful NBL teams staying in the NBL, and only those teams that have not been particularly successful consider switching leagues. So Brooklyn, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis would most likely be “non-movers”, while Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit would be “possible movers”.
  • Boston moving to the AABC. New York and Boston, of course, are natural regional rivals, but if there is also a Brooklyn team in the same division, like in our current NBL East, that sort of makes Boston the odd rival out. Moving them to the AABC gives them a chance to establish a divisional rivalry with the other New York team, the Empires.
  • Buffalo moving to Kansas City, and (possibly) to the AABC. Does it have to be Buffalo? No. Does it have to be Kansas City? No. Kansas City is centrally-located and Buffalo is the NBL's smallest market, so to me it makes the most sense. But it's just one way we could possibly go.
  • Baltimore and Washington being in different leagues. When you have two teams less than an hour's drive away from each other, it's good if you can schedule them so that one is always at home when the other is on the road. You can't really do that unless they're in different leagues.

I am ambivalent about:

  • Keeping both Canadian teams in the AABC, or transferring one to the NBL so we have one in each league. I think there are valid arguments for doing it either way.
  • Same with Texas. I'm fine with having Dallas and Houston as divisional rivals, or with each league having a representative from the Lone Star State.
  • Whether Baltimore stays in the NBL and the AABC gets the expansion Washington team, or whether Baltimore switches leagues and the NBL gets the expansion team.

When it comes time to expand, we could also consider:

  • The relocate-and-expand trick, as the Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins did in 1961; the established team moved to the new market and the expansion team started up in the old market. We could use this trick in lieu of teams switching leagues; the NBL keeps the old team and gets the new city, while the AABC gets an expansion team in the old city.

Of course, all this expansion talk is for nought if we don't have people wanting to join the league. I have rarely been able to maintain a waiting list with more than one person on it. I don't know if that's something that might change as we get more established, or if it's just the way things go with larger online leagues. I'm okay with having one or two A.I.-run teams, but five or six is something I think I'd rather avoid.

So expansion might have to wait for a bit. But while we're waiting, anybody game for switching leagues? Anyone feel like packing up and heading to the Midwest?

Let me be clear: nobody is being pressured to change leagues or change cities. As I said, there are many different paths we could take towards hitting my goals, or hitting something similar to my goals. Anyone who chooses to move will be doing so entirely voluntarily.


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