Should baseball expand the postseason?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from YOU-KILL-US20. Show YOU-KILL-US20's posts

    Should baseball expand the postseason?

    by Bobomojo on in Opinion

     

    Over the past few days, one of the biggest storylines in baseball has been Bud Selig's (premature?) announcement that MLB would likely expand the playoffs by two teams in 2012, adding an additional Wild Card in both leagues.  While we did have a brief discussion on this topic in FanPosts, I thought given yesterday's rainout, it might be a good day to open up discussion on this fairly controversial topic.

    According to media reports, the new playoff format would have the two Wild Cards in each league face off in a one or three-game series.  Presumably, the winner would then take the role of the current Wild Card winner, facing the league's first or second seed for a chance to play in the Championship Series.

    Personally, I enter any conversation about expanding the baseball playoffs with a heavy dose of skepticism.  For me, the primary issue is maintaining the integrity and importance of the regular season.  Compare Major League Baseball to the NBA and NHL.  In baseball, the regular season is used to weed out three-quarters of teams, leaving the top quarter of teams to compete for the championship.  In the NBA and NHL, on the other hand, more than half of all teams make the playoffs.  This system cheapens the regular season; the net result of months of regular season play is reducing to simply removing below-average teams from the postseason tournament.

    Star-divide

    Of course, the expanded playoff system works for many NBA and NHL fans, who wait all year for their sport's "second season."  This would not be an easy transition for baseball fans, however.  Maintaining interest throughout baseball's 162-game season would become infinitely more difficult if the importance of those games were diminished by dramatically increasing the number of teams granted spots in the playoffs. 

    But, of course, no one is talking about dramatically increasing the size of the playoffs.  Adding an additional Wild Card in both leagues would bump up the percentage of teams making the playoffs from 27% to 33%, still substantially less than any of the other major sports (the NFL would be closest at 38%).  It doesn't seem likely that such a small net increase would have much effect on the importance we place on the regular season.

    In fact, as skeptical as I am of any plan to expand the playoffs, I have to admit that I do see some considerable value in creating a Wild Card round.  Despite the Twins inability to ever beat the Yankees in the postseason, I am a believer that the baseball playoffs are largely a crapshoot.  Given baseball's current format, with the Wild Card team automatically playing in the divisional series, teams have little incentive to compete for division titles if they already know they have secured a spot in the playoffs via the Wild Card.  We've seen this scenario play out several times since the advent of the Wild Card, and it's robbed us of many compelling end-of-season division battles.

    By forcing Wild Card teams to face an additional round in the playoffs, the incentive to compete for division titles would grow exponentially.  In many ways, creating a Wild Card round in the postseason could actually strengthen the end of baseball's regular season, a goal all fans can get behind.

    Of course, there is more to this story than I've touched on here: the length of the postseason, the pros and cons of a one-game Wild Card playoff versus a three-game series, and, perhaps most interestingly, the scenario raised by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, suggesting the idea that a one-game Wild Card round could actually penalize better teams heading into the playoffs.  One could also make a fairly compelling slippery slope argument here: at what point does the allure of new postseason revenue lead to MLB adopting a playoff system not dissimilar to the free-for-alls seen in the NHL and NBA?

    I have to admit that even though I'm generally against the idea of expanding baseball's playoffs, I am intrigued by the utility of creating a true Wild Card round, and providing teams heightened incentives for competing for the division crown.  The fear of a slippery slope aside, I find myself seeing the creation of a Wild Card round actually improving September baseball, rather than cheapening it.  Throw in concerns about the length of the postseason schedule, and I'm actually warming to the idea of a two-team Wild Card system with a one-game Wild Card round.

    But, boy, am I not 100% convinced.  At the end of the day, a one-game Wild Card round feels gimmicky, despite the annual excitement it would inevitably bring.

    This is why I'm so interested in hearing the thoughts of the TwinkieTown community.  Am I too easily dismissing the implications of bringing more teams into the postseason?  Does lengthening the postseason just invite too many weather-related complications? Is their a different playoff scenario MLB should be considering?  Or should we just stick with the status-quo, a system that has led baseball into one of its most prosperous eras in history?

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from ampoule. Show ampoule's posts

    Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?


    I think baseball should decrease the number of teams, eliminate 'wild-card', eliminate the DH and only have a world series between the American and National leagues.

    Baseball is so diluted now, that players in the majors today would still be in the middle minors a few years back.

    I vote for less players, but more quality players.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?

    The only thing that's not diluted is the amount of money everyone (owners, players,coaches , umpires) is making.

    That's why you'll never see a proposal that is based on common sense.

    Every new proposal is based on making rich people richer.

    See: NFL labor dispute. A similar fate awaits baseball someday.

    Fans don't count, hasn't anyone figured this out yet?

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from DirtyWaterLover. Show DirtyWaterLover's posts

    Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?

    Only if the two wild card teams can come from the same division.  NY, Boston, and Tampa/Toronto.

    Imagine having the second best record in the AL and having to play a team with the 5th best record who gets lucky and wins the first 2 games of the series. 

    If they want to expand the post season expand it to 8 teams in each league and make them all play in the first round.  Byes are terrible in Baseball and a 3 game series is too short.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from YOU-KILL-US20. Show YOU-KILL-US20's posts

    Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?

    In Response to Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?:
    The only thing that's not diluted is the amount of money everyone (owners, players,coaches , umpires) is making. That's why you'll never see a proposal that is based on common sense. Every new proposal is based on making rich people richer. See: NFL labor dispute. A similar fate awaits baseball someday. Fans don't count, hasn't anyone figured this out yet?
    Posted by ZILLAGOD


    got that 100% correct. everything is basically being considered for ratings and extra games to fill stadiums.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from YOU-KILL-US20. Show YOU-KILL-US20's posts

    Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?

    In Response to Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?:
    Only if the two wild card teams can come from the same division.  NY, Boston, and Tampa/Toronto. Imagine having the second best record in the AL and having to play a team with the 5th best record who gets lucky and wins the first 2 games of the series.  If they want to expand the post season expand it to 8 teams in each league and make them all play in the first round.  Byes are terrible in Baseball and a 3 game series is too short.
    Posted by DirtyWaterLover


    i think over a 162gm season teams work really hard to get to the post season. point blank
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from S5. Show S5's posts

    Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?

    I can't get behind the idea of the explanded playoffs.  For me the negatives outweigh the positives.

    A one game wild-card playoff is way too fraught with problems for me.  Baseball isn't football, hockey or basketball. Baseball is different.  Unlike the other three sports, the winner of a baseball game depends much more on one player - the pitcher - and he only plays every five days.  The winner of a one game WC playoff game may depend entirely on which team has the wild card wrapped up with a week to go in the regular season and which team can have their ace more rested going into the game. 
    Even in that scenario the winner of the WC game may have used their ace and this team's #2 pitcher will have to go up against the ace of a team that won their division. 
    Nope, not a good idea.

    A three game playoff is a better idea, but not much better.  A three game playoff will magnify the pitching issues I mention in the previous paragraph as well as extend the WS into November. 

    I'd like to see MLB shorten the regular season to around 150 or so games and rework the "unbalanced schedule" so teams play more games against teams in other divisions and fewer games withing their own division.  This business of one team playing two three game series against one another, one home and one away, is ridiculous.  Six dates could be freed up by doing away with interleague play and those six dates could be used to further "balance" the schedule.  And of course the whole scheduling thing is hamstrung by having one divison with only four teams in it so nothing comes out "even".

    MY solution (FWIW) is to divide the AL into two seven team divisions.  Each team would play every team within their own divison 15 times and every team in the other division nine times for a total of 153 games.  At the end of the season there would be two wild-card teams, possibly from the same division.  The team with the best record plays the non-divisonal winner with the worst record, the other two teams play, and the the winners go on to the ALCS. 

    The same principle would apply in the NL which would be divided into two eight team leagues only the regular season scheduling would be different - as it is now. 

    I know this is a fantasy because, as Zilla said, this isn't about the fans or what makes sense, it's about money.  Ugh.


     
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from DirtyWaterLover. Show DirtyWaterLover's posts

    Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?

    The expansion of the post season to 2 wild card teams is not to increase revenue by 2 or 3 games.  It's to increase interest in the race to the post season.

    The AL wild card almost always comes from the AL East.  If the AL Central and AL West division races are sewn up early, then the interest in the second and third place teams wans early.  But if 2 or 3 teams that would normally out of the post season hunt with a single wild card suddenly are involved in a race for the 2nd wild card spot, then more games at the end of the season become meaningful.

    No, it's not revenue from the extra 2 or 3 games driving this.  It's the revenue from increased attendance and TV/Radio ratings for the last part of the season for multiple teams that's the driving this.

    There's another impact to this - it makes the ability to acquire players late in the season harder.  More teams will be looking to get help to make the post season and fewer teams will be looking to unload players.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from chain-reaction. Show chain-reaction's posts

    Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?

    If they are going to expand the post-season, I propose expanding the American League by two teams, reducing the regular season to 90 games, and then having a post-season with all 32 teams.  That way, all the fans of all the teams will be happy because their team made the post-season.  

    Selig's new 5-team post-season format will give the mediocre team with 2 or 3 good or hot pitchers much to great a chance of winning the World Series.  If I were re-arranging the post-season, I'd have no wild card and a day game for all games on the last day in a city and no off days, making teams use their entire pitching staffs like they have to in the regular season.  Of course, my way wouldn't necessarily be good for TV ratings, TV money, or money as a whole, so it has a zero chance of happening.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from fivekatz. Show fivekatz's posts

    Re: Should baseball expand the postseason?

    The one thing the author wrote which to me makes no sense is:

    Maintaining interest throughout baseball's 162-game season would become infinitely more difficult if the importance of those games were diminished by dramatically increasing the number of teams granted spots in the playoffs.

    IMO just the opposite has happened because of the addition of one Wild Card team and the more teams in a regular season race for the a post season appearances, the more relevant August and September games are to fans in those markets.

    That aside playing I am not a fan of ost season appearances in baseball being 1 or 3 game series. 

     
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