Your IP: 34.204.191.31 United States Near: Houston, Texas, United States

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For other uses, see Realignment (disambiguation). This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2009) This article is an orphan, as few or no other articles link to it. Please introduce links to this page from related articles; suggestions may be available. (February 2009) In North American sports, realignment occurs in sports when a league decides to change which teams are in which divisions, usually by creating new divisions. In all of the four major North American sports leagues, all of the teams are grouped into one of two conferences (or leagues (not to be confused with the usage of leagues in "North American Sports Leagues" )in baseball, which function in the exact same manner as the conferences listed before), while each conference/league is further subdivided into divisions, the top team from a division is always guaranteed a playoff spot and guaranteed a higher seeding in the playoffs. A main reason for having more divisions is that having more division champions can lead to better playoff matchups. Also, since teams generally play more games against teams in their own division, division rivalries can be more intense. If the divisions and/or conferences are based on geography, this also leads to decreased travel, as teams in the East will play most of their games against other eastern teams, and teams in the West will play most of their games against teams based in the west, saving money for the teams. Baseball's Texas Rangers are an exception to this; realignment has grouped them together with three teams on the West Coast, though not putting the Rangers in the AL West would result in the division having just three teams and the AL West with 4 teams is already the smallest division while 4 other divisons have 5 teams and one other has 6. Another reason for realignment might be to create divisions that are more equal in size, as the NBA did in the 2004–05 season. MLB realignment, however, has mainly been for creating extra playoff teams, as in 1969 and 1994 (see also: wild card). Realignment often happens after a league expands: the 1969 baseball realignment coincided with the addition of four teams; MLB's 1994 realignment (creating a third division in both the AL and the NL) came a year after the league added the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins; the National Football League realigned to its current eight-division format when the Houston Texans joined the league in 2002; and the National Hockey League realigned after the league expanded to 30 teams in 2000.