February 11, 2020 at 10:44 am
Yesterday, February 10th of the year 2020, we all received a bit of news from the MLB on a potential new playoff format. The opinions, negative and positive rolled in very quickly. Let’s take a quick moment to review what was announced and then we will dig in deeper as to what our thoughts are on this. Let’s remember this is just a proposal and would not take effect until the 2022 season. Here are the bullet points that were announced:
Seven teams from each league would make the postseason
Teams with the best record in each league get wild card round byes
Two other division winners and top wild card team host all games of three-game series in the wild-card round
Two other division winners get to pick their wild-card round opponents (during a live broadcast) from three other wild card teams, the top wild card team plays the unpicked team
Three series winners and team with a bye advance to the divisional round
Yes, this is a lot to take in but let us take a look at what we could be seeing. First and foremost, we look at the expansion of a possible 14 teams total vs the current structure of 10 teams. Fans such as myself love the wild card 1 gameplay in structure and that would be abolished. The excitement of watching pitching ace vs pitching ace in a win or go home game would be no more. Instead, we would have 3 game series between the teams. Yes, it would be nice for the top seeds to get a bye, but we all know baseball is a game of momentum and imagine having your 104 win team, sit for a potential week and then have to play a team who just won a series and has all the momentum going forward.
Secondly, we look at the fact that a team gets to pick who they want to play? Yes, that may sound good to some, but for many fans, it just does not make any sense. Would it be cool that every team that makes the playoffs has a home game? Sure it would. At that same notion, it takes away from the excitement of the before mentioned 1 game playoff and could make the playoffs drag on even longer on top of a 162 game season that most people are already complaining about. Lastly here, does a live broadcast seem that exciting to watch a manager pick a team? Maybe it does and maybe it does not.
Not only would this format prolong an already long season, but it would have effects on the trade deadline as well. Many teams are in the hunt already as it is, now with 4 extra spots opening up, many teams would-be buyers at the trade deadline with a market of only a few sellers, again, to my point, taking away more excitement from the game. The trade deadline is one of the most fascinating times of the baseball season, similar to the offseason where record-breaking, blockbuster deals take place. Many of these deals would not happen if most of the league are buyers and not sellers.
As I mentioned before, a lot of reactions have poured in and most have not been in favor of the rules change. Cincinnati Reds pitcher and outspoken player Trevor Bauer tweeted the following yesterday:
“No idea who made this new playoff format proposal, but Rob is responsible for releasing it, so I’ll direct this to you, Rob Manfred,” Bauer tweeted Monday. “Your proposal is absurd for too many reasons to type on Twitter and proves you have absolutely no clue about baseball. You’re a joke.”
Newly signed Philadephia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius Tweeted the following:
“Why are we changing this lovable sport so much”
Many fans of the sport are asking MLB to focus on much larger opportunities in the game such as in-game instant replay, the pace of play and minor league players’ salaries rather than worry about an expansion of playoffs. The playoff expansion just does not make a ton of sense. In a league where we are dealing with cheating, scandals, and the integrity of the sport being compromised, why is this the focus of Rob Manfred?
To come to a conclusion on this, and this is solely opinion-based, the MLB commissioner should be focusing on getting his sport right, rather than changing the rules of every little aspect of the sport we all love. Why not just tell every team in the MLB, “Hey, play 162 meaningless games, and we can all make the playoffs.” This is a mess and it does not look to be improving anytime soon. As a lover of the sport, it really puts a cloud over the league when the focus is not on what is wrong with the sport, yet, on how we can make the sport more blurry. Players, writers, and fans all around have aligned that this is a disastrous proposal and as a fan of the game, I hope to see if not come to fruition. As with all my writings, I would love to hear your opinion on this, so please fire away and let’s talk about the sport we love so much.
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