First, congratulations to the Braves. Unlike Scott Boras, I know they won their title fair and square according to the rules as currently written.
My issue is that I’d like to tweet the format…but not in the way MLB reportedly wants to. Supposedly, one of the things the owners want from the next CBA is expanded playoffs a la last year. I was cool with the seven team format then because we had to have a severely shortened season…any additional baseball was good. As a regular thing, though, not so much. Just look at this year’s NL standings—would we really want teams like the Reds and Phillies, barely above .500 in the playoffs? Worse, we’ve seen losing teams make the playoffs in the other major pro sports—and I think that just shouldn’t even be possible. Allowing nearly half the league into the postseason, though, makes it nearly inevitable.
I prefer the current five teams, with a tweak I’ll go through in a little bit. A compromise between last year’s 7 teams per league and the current 5 would obviously be 6. That could be okay. It’d be few enough to prevent the possibility of a losing team qualifying. The format would be simple enough. The three teams with the best records not winning divisions would be wild cards. The worst of the three, the number 6 seed, would play the worst division winner. Seeds 4 and 5 would of course play each other. The winners then play the top two seeds in the division series.
Okay, the tweaks I actually prefer. First, replace the one and done, single elimination wild card games with a best of three series at the home stadium of the higher seed. (I did genuinely like that part of last year’s format.) Second, after the wildcard round, re-seed the playoff teams according to records (and disregarding whether the teams won their division or not). That wouldn’t have changed a thing in the AL this year, but this is how the NLDS would have set up (home field advantage team listed first):
Giants vs Braves
Dodgers vs Brewers
Yes, this would make being Cinderella harder. That’s part of the point.
One thought on “Postseason Pondering”
I agree with you 100%. It is ridiculous that in the NFL a team with a losing record can win their division and be the home team in the playoffs. That should never happen and I don’t want to see that in baseball. The teams in the playoffs should be deserving of being there.
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