Imagine if professional sports leagues had decided back in 1910 that it had all the teams they needed, and from that point on, Americans could enjoy sports with only 16 baseball teams – 8 for the National League and 8 for the American league, and only 5 teams for the National Football League. No matter how much the country grew, those are the teams we’ve got.
Certainly, under these conditions baseball could still function as a professional sport, but it would look very different from the sport as we know it. The limited number of teams would mean more reach and influence of each team, and fans would have to follow teams in distant cities. There would be fewer professional players, and the competition to get into the major leagues would be intense, requiring exceptional training and skills, and exceptional backing by agents and those with financial interests in players. For the fans, ever seeing a live game would probably be out of the question as travel would probably be needed and ticket prices would skyrocket. Fans in large areas of the country with no near-by team might lose interest altogether, while other fans might become truly die-hard, willing to go to great lengths to see their teams in action.
Wisely, Major League Baseball decided to expand as the country grew. They have maintained a workable balance between the number of fans and the teams, increasing the number of teams from 16 to 30. Unfortunately, our House of Representatives in Congress has not been so wise. It chose in 1910 to limit the number of its members. A hundred years on, we see the consequences of this in the growing dysfunction of Congress. It is time to end this experiment and return to a level of representation that provides for a stronger, more direct democracy.