Because we are not fools, we can all agree that there are two major problems currently plaguing, to various degrees, the four major sports leagues in North America: tanking and games that start way too damn late. I can fix this.
The first thing that must be done is to institute a relegation system in every league. We’ll take the 10 teams at the bottom of the standings in every league, and we’ll banish them to a second division. At the end of each season, the best five teams from the second division will be promoted back up to the first division, and their places will be taken by the first division’s worst five teams. The threat of being banished to a shitty, 10-team league for a season or perhaps even all of eternity should be enough to stop clown-ass organizations from ever having any reason to not field the most competitive team possible. (We’re also getting rid of all amateur drafts in this plan, because they are immoral.)
Now you are surely sitting in your chair, smugly, dismissing what you have read so far as the kind of warmed-over idea you’ve heard 1,000 times. “Oh, very original!” you sneer. “Just copy the European soccer model. Cool. Also, didn’t you say something about this idea also preventing games from starting too late? What happened to that part, smart guy?”
Allow me to introduce the concept of the Badlands. The Badlands shall encompass any piece of land within the Pacific and Mountain time zones, and it is where all relegated sports teams will be forced to play while they are in the second division. Yes, relegated teams will be forced to physically move from their home cities and into a new one within the Badlands, and their vacated arenas will be reoccupied by the promoted teams exiting the Badlands each season.
This frees those of us who live in the Central and Eastern time zones—an area we’ll call the Land of Light—from any obligation to pander to the sick freaks who willingly live in the Badlands and have long demanded that sports contests played there start at times most convenient for locals, even though the vast majority of sports-enjoying Americans do not live there. Under this system, all first-division games will be played exclusively in the Land of Light, and will start at reasonable times. Meanwhile, the relegated scrubs can duke it out with each other in the Badlands, on Badlands time, while being rightfully ignored by most of the country.
Only a moron could find fault in this system. Imagine how nice it would be to watch Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, fresh off leading their team out of the Badlands and relocating to Philadelphia, play baseball before 10:30 p.m. Think of how satisfying it would be to see the bum-ass Atlanta Hawks banished to Portland, or perhaps even Tacoma, just to really rub it in. Don’t you want to live in a world where every game of the NBA Finals between the Houston Rockets and the Charlotte Warriors starts at 7:00 p.m.?
As for the clownish citizens of the Badlands who still want to watch sports, let them find whatever solace they can in easy access to the most wretched teams American sports has to offer. Many of them have already spent years rooting for the Sacramento Kings and Oakland Athletics, so they should be used to it.