A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

It’s Time MLB to Change Postseason

Every year I question why on earth the season has to be so long. There are obviously many reasons for it; some are understandable, others not so much. People enjoy baseball a lot and are willing to pay to go to every game.

Then you have the higher-ups who just want as much money as possible with television contracts and ticket revenues.

The logic of a 162-game season and just an eight-team postseason doesn’t make sense. In the other major sports, more teams have the opportunity.

The NFL allows 12 teams out of 32 into the playoffs; the NHL allows 16 teams out of 30; the NBA 16 out of 30.

Now obviously for baseball purists, having that many games and so few postseason participants is what makes the game special and unique. I can’t argue with that. It’s a great game.

But I can’t help but wonder how teams with 90+ wins don’t get in simply because there’s not enough room.

And what’s the incentive for bad teams to continue competing past July?

“Hey guys, it’s not looking good for us 82 games in. But it’s almost over—oh wait, we have 82 more games to play. Damn.”

I enjoy parity and while baseball has gotten better with parity, it could use a more consistent format to bring it more to fruition.

This may seem like a crazy idea, but rock ‘n’ roll seemed like the dumbest idea ever at one point too.

This also comes on the heels of talks of having an amoeba-like division system; smaller market teams have a chance to switch divisions because they can’t compete with teams like the Yankees who fork out money like it’s cheese samples.

I’m not sure about that idea, but a new postseason debate needs to be started.

So, submitted for your difficult-to-get approval, here are some options for a new format:

1. Shorten the season by about 30 games (a month) and add two teams from each league to the postseason. This would take on an NFL-type format with the top two teams receiving byes. That doesn’t sound like baseball, but it does give two extra teams a chance.

2. Shorten the season by 30 games and add four teams from each league. This is the NHL and NBA style of doing things. The early series would have to be five games to keep things short.

3. Shorten the season by 30 games and keep the existing four-team postseason, but allow the division series to be seven games. Hopefully, this way November games would disappear, if not be few and far between. It also allows for more intense division and wild card races, with the shorter season.

4. Shorten the season by 15 games and allow five or six teams from each league in the playoffs. Then, execute a round robin format and have each team play the others four-five times. It’s the most radical suggestion so far, but have to throw everything out there, right?

5. Keep it as is.

There’s probably some variations of those options you can do to make it unique to baseball. I’m guessing I’ll see 95% opposition to this, but go ahead and let me know what you think in the comments — if it should be changed, any options you like, options of your own.

Let’s get the debate going.


April 8, 2010 Posted by | Baseball | , , , | Leave a comment