Proposed Expansion of MLB Playoffs: Proceed With Caution

There's a lot of buzz going around about the proposed rule changes to the current MLB playoff system.  The skinny - MLB would add one Wild Card team per league, expanding the current playoff pool from 8 teams (out of 30) to 10.  The major "TBD" in this matter is whether the two Wild Card teams from each league would play each other in a one game play in or a three game series.  In case you haven't seen or heard about this, check out Peter Gammons' take below:

FBJ discussed the proposed changes and although we vary slightly in our opinion, the general concensus is that expansion could work, if done properly.  Here are some of our thoughts:


If they have them play a one game playoff, I'm for it.  If not, I don't want to see them playing the World Series on Thanksgiving.  Mike Greenberg (of Mike & Mike) suggested a neutral playing field with the game played the Monday after the last game of the season; both leagues have their teams play at that field, just like the NCAA tournament.  That could be very exciting and it would make winning the division much more important because you wouldn't have to play that game. 


I can see both sides of the issue.  I agree with Hersh that baseball goes on too long as is already.  The Fall Classic is really turning into a Winter Classic.  Maybe a shorter series would help mitigate that.

On the other hand, if you have a really good division where teams aren't making the playoffs that have better records than other division winners, there's a case to be made.  Let's say the Central has 3 teams that have better records than the division leader in the West.  Doesn't seem fair that the # 3 in the Central doesn't make the playoffs.


Knee-jerk: it ain't broke and doesn't need to be fixed BUT I do concede that a mandatory one-game play in would be really exciting.  There is nothing like win or go home and, unfortunately, it doesn't always come down to that in baseball.  Some of the most exciting games in recent memory have been game 163 (see Twins/Tigers in '09 and '11). 

Also, Wild Card teams have been very successful since the inception of the current format in 1994.  Over that span, half of the World Series' have contained a Wild Card team (and 4 out of 16 winners have been Wild Card teams). 

Adding another layer would sway the balance towards the division winners (who could set their rotation a little better and rest while the Wild Card teams were playing).  I like giving the regular season winners an extra advantage but I'm not sure that it's good for MLB. 

In the end, there is nothing worse than a baseball game that is delayed because of a snow storm so if this takes hold, I hope that they do something to ensure that we're not watching baseball on Thanksgiving (which I believe is what what Bud Selig would really love to do... he can almost smell the dollar bills).


  1. OCP,
    I'm a little late on this sorry but wanted to weigh in. I think they should play a 3 game series to decide the wild card winner, as one game is really a crapshoot. There is plenty of time to fit a three game series without extending the post season. They spread the games out so much, it's almost unusual to players used to playing every day. One day in between sites for travel is all that is necessary, but they schedule many more gaps, and lord help you if you win a series early. As we saw last year there was a 5 day lag in some cases. Just tighten up the schedule a bit, and there is plenty of time to let two teams battle out a 3 game series.

  2. Thanks for checking in Lefty...

    A few more scheduled day/night double headers could do the trick. I'm not entirely against an extra 3 game wild card series but I'm emphatically against prolonging the season and I think that a mandatory one game play in would be really exciting.

  3. I agree with OCP, make it a one game do or die would make winning the division more important.


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