News – Fulhams great escape makes case for relegation in American soccer

From the page: “The story of Fulham’s great escape from the threat of relegation from the top league in English football, the Premier League, is a lesson in the miracles that can happen when a team never quits pursuing every point and every goal with the proverbial “it ain’t over ’til its over” attitude. It is also a great example of how the existence of relegation in a league structure can pump fan passions to a fever pitch, even when their team is not at the top of the rankings, a level of passion seen rarely in American soccer.

True relegation is an unknown aspect of league structure in MLS, and in major American sports – period. Americans have a characteristic singular focus on the top prize, the winner, the championship. But what if, as in English football, teams at the bottom of the standings weren’t rewarded with higher draft picks, but actually booted from the league to a lower division to make room for champions from that lower division? The corresponding threat to revenues, loss of star players, less TV coverage, and sheer pride would no doubt fill the seats of the half empty stadiums we see in America towards the end of a season when all hopes of reaching the playoffs have been lost. Instead of giving up and saying “we’ll get ’em next year,” fans would be locked in what English football calls a “relegation battle” that often contains far more drama than the crowning of single champion.”

I like the salary cap, the draft and many aspects of American sports, but my issue with it, despite my love of MLB, is this very fact. The bottom club in a division should be relegated – perhaps one from each league via a play off – and the best from the league below promoted.