Playoff expansion possible

This is faulty logic:

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig appears to be increasingly in favor of proposing more playoff teams during collective bargaining with the union next year, which will determine the postseason format for 2012 and beyond.

We have less teams than any other sport,” he said last month. “We certainly haven’t abused anything.”

Great, let’s compare ourselves to basketball (“we’re so top-heavy that letting the crappy teams in doesn’t make a big deal, just mo’ money“), hockey (“everyone gets in“) and football (“look, we allow mediocre .500 or worse teams a chance in a one-and-done scenario“).  Mr. Selig, I implore you not to follow what those other league are doing and have faith in the quality of your own product. Don’t be a slave to the ratings game. Your business has survived the recession with ever-increasing revenues.  You will top $7 billion in 2010, in all likelihood.  Do not water down the post-season tournament! Seriously, I am begging.

This is not the NCAA Hoops tourney. Look at these brackets below. Do we want this for MLB?  Hell no.

Oh, and that cute idea about moving back to a 154 game season… ain’t gonna happen.  In fact, Michael Weiner’s new phrase might cause me to change the name of this blog:

“Certainly some of the players have said either we should shorten the regular season because the regular season’s too long, or we should shorten the regular season to accommodate expanded postseason,” [Union leader Michael] Weiner said, adding that would have “revenue implications for the industry.”

It’s About The Revenue Implications, Stupid.

My mantra has been: You can’t complain unless you offer an alternative. So here’s my alternative if I have to adopt a second WC team, though I will say that I prefer the current setup with a seven game LDS:

  • The two wildcard teams play IMMEDIATELY after the season ends in a best-of-three, Monday*/Tuesday/Wednesday. Tough tooties on the travel problems. You want in, it’s gonna be tough. Best record gets home field, head-to-head first tiebreaker. *If a play-in is required, that game is Monday and the three game WC series begins on Tuesday.
  • Winner faces the #1 team in each league, regardless of the division.  If the winner of the three game series comes out of the AL East and the AL’s best record also resides in the AL East, so be it.
  • The LDS starts on Friday. No extra travel days. No need to penalize the divisional winners with too much time off. Wildcard winner will be good and tired. Tough tooties, again. The Divisional winner will have time to set their rotation.
  • Best of seven LDS, Friday/Saturday/Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday. Travel days as needed.
  • Winners of the LDS series get reseeded based upon overall record. If the WC manages to advance but has a better record than the divisional winner, WC gets HFA. Better team gets the advantage. Divisional titles are good for getting in, but mean nothing after that.
  • Best of seven LCS, beginning on Monday. Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Monday/Tuesday.
  • And because I hate the days between series, the following award schedule will be in effect:
    • Rookie of the Year: Announced the Thursday before the LDS series
    • Manager of the Year: Announced the Sunday before the LCS series
    • Cy Young: Announced the Wednesday after the LCS series
    • MVP: Announced the Thursday after the LCS series

You got a better idea?  Let’s hear it.

About @Jason_IIATMS

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

4 thoughts on “Playoff expansion possible

  1. Make Monday after the season either an off day or the play-in game date. WC round goes TuWTh. No scheduled off day- LDS goes FSa, MTu, W. One off day, then LCS goes FSa, MTuW, FSa. Two off days, then WS. Gives a real incentive to win division. WC teams have hellacious travel, unable to set up pitching. No built in off days for WC teams unless they earn them by ending their series' early.

  2. I really despise the idea of a 2nd wildcard for a reason that was brought up by (I think) Dave Cameron. A second wildcard creates circumstances which could favor the weaker of the two wildcard seeds in the following scenario which is not at all far-fetched and would possibly even be commonplace in the event of another wildcard being instated:

    1) Two teams in one division battle down to the wire and screw up their rotation badly in an attempt to win the division and avoid being the 1st wildcard seed.
    2) Meanwhile, the 2nd wildcard seed clinches their spot in the playoffs days earlier and since they don't have a shot at being the 1st wildcard team, they spend the last few games of the season resting their starters and setting up their rotation.

    This scenario penalizes the "better" of the two wildcard teams, which just seems awful to me. I really hope (probably in vein, since I expect the drive for increased revenues to win out) that we DON'T adopt another wildcard. I am a huge fan of expanding the LDS to 7 games though, that's just something that should have happened from the beginning.

  3. The best "expansion" of the playoffs I've read about would be to add 1 WC to each league and have a 1 game Playoff "Game 163" to decide the 4th playoff team. That way the WC entrants 'burn' their top starter for the LDS (still best of 5 games).

    Love the idea to announce the awards schedule during the playoffs…but it'll never happen.

  4. I don’t think you have to offer any alternative if you think the status quo is perfect, and here I do, with respect to the number of teams in the postseason. I am with Jason 100% on that. Eight teams is the PERFECT number. It lets enough teams in to keep a high number of fanbases engaged while being discriminating enough to maintain baseball’s status as the sport with the most meaningful regular season.

    One of the biggest reasons I’ve never gotten into the NHL or (especially) the NBA is that they offer very little reason to care about the regular season, and then, once the playoffs roll around, how are you supposed to have developed enough attachment to your team to feel invested in the playoffs? I am happy to join Jason in BEGGING Bud Selig not to expand the baseball playoffs. It would punish serious fans to draw in casual fans.

    I am in favor of expanding the LDSes to 7 games. It still irks me that a team can win its division and then be swept out of the postseason in the equivalent of nothing more than being swept in a weekend series. And if you’re the team without home-field advantage, you can be eliminated after playing just ONE home game. A fanbase that has given its heart and soul to a team all year deserves better than that.

    I actually kind of like the rule that prevents the Wild Card team from playing a team in its own division in the first round. I suspect I’m probably in a minority on that one, but I think it makes the storylines better for the fans. And the classic Yankees-Red Sox ALCSes it can provide are worth it.