Friday, November 19, 2010

Baseball moves to give the Cubs more chances to get swept out of the playoffs

It sounds like the GMs have given overwhelmingly support to a plan to increase the number of playoff teams from 8 to 10.

Most of you know I hate the wild card already, so it's obvious that I'm against this.

For me, adding more teams to the playoffs punishes those teams who have played consistently well all year long by putting wild card teams, who are often heading into the playoffs on a hot streak, up against them.

It's kind of a stupid argument, I know, but the baseball playoff are quite wonderful compared to other sports. There are games almost everyday and in the blink of an eye, they are over in less than a month...almost. Since the wild card and the Fox TV contract, the playoff schedule has become a bit more whacked. Expanding the playoffs make baseball just that much more like the other major sports leagues.

So what does an expanded wild card mean for baseball? Well, it all depends on how they want to implement it. I think the most obvious scenario would be to have a simple 3 game series between the two wild card teams and then expand the second round (currently called the division series) into a best of seven series. Based on how scheduling of the baseball playoffs has been in the past, this would add one full work the the post season. So the question must be asked at that point, would that push the playoffs too late into the year?

I really want to say yes, but based on how the playoffs have gone since 2000, I don't think it would affect things too much. Another option would be to start the regular season a week earlier into March. I think that would be worse. We've seen more bad weather in late March than we have in early November.

The other option, reduce the season by a week or knock it back down to 154 games. I highly doubt anyone would be on board for that. Asking 20 out of the 30 teams to take a revenue knock of that sort would never fly. Another option...adding scheduled double headers again. Traditional double headers have the same problem as reducing the schedule, and scheduling day-night double headers might satisfy the owners, but would never fly with the players union.

What will hopefully happen (and I know it won't because of baseball) is that this expanded playoff system will push MLB to start seriously looking at realignment and the making the regular season schedule more fair. On top of that, possibly even considering expansion to make a more even 32 teams (and 8 four team divisions???).

Regardless, unless something drastic were to happen in the next few months, baseball likely will not implement this until 2012 when, hopefully, the next collective bargaining agreement is completed. Everyone seems to be on board with this except me. So I guess I'll just cave.