Why I Don’t Like The Expanded Playoffs In The MLB
Yesterday the MLB announced that they will be expanding the current playoff system from eight teams to 10 teams. One extra wild card team will be allowed in from each league. Then, the two wild card winners in each league will play a sudden death one game playoff to see who makes it to the LDS. It allows one extra team to experience playoff baseball. If the new format had been in play in 2011, the Boston Redsox would have made the playoffs and went to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays in the sudden death game to determine who goes to the ALDS. Also, the Atlanta Braves would have survived too, and gone to St.Louis to take on the Cardinals in a sudden death game to see who goes to the NLDS. Since the new playoff format was not instituted in 2011, both the Braves and Redsox experienced epic September collapses and missed out on the playoffs, allowing both the Cardinals and Rays to sneak into the playoffs through the back door. St.Louis would go on to end up knocking the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies out of the NLDS in five games, and eliminating the division rival Milwaukee Brewers in six games in the NLCS to advance to the World Series against the AL Pennant winners, the Texas Rangers. That is where the Cardinals would shock the world and defeat the Rangers in seven games to win their second World Series in six years. If the new playoff format was in play, who knows if St.Louis beats Atlanta in the one game playoff to make the NLDS. Now that I recapped what would have happened in 2011 with the new format, I’ll explain why I do not like it now that it is in play for 2012 and beyond.
With the new playoff system, a second wild card team will be allowed into the playoffs. The two wild card teams in each league will then go on to play a sudden death one game playoff to see who advances to the LDS. The thing I do not like about all this is, is that it can mess up a team’s playoff rotation. A team will have to decide whether to throw out their ace in the sudden death game, or save him in hopes that another pitcher on the team can pitch them to the LDS. If a team does throw out their ace in the sudden death game, it can screw up their whole rotation for the LDS, if they were to make it. No one wants to see a teams ace not be available until game three of the LDS. Also, what if the second place wild card team wins the sudden death game? That means they have to travel to the first place wild card teams city, and if they prevail and win, they have to fly back home after one day and gear up for a best of five division series. Why have the overall wild card winner have to travel even more? Also, I know with two wild card winners playing a winner take all game to get into the LDS, that it puts so much more importance on winning the division, but now whats the point of coming in first place in the wild card anymore? Teams in hard divisions like the AL East and NL East can just focus on getting the second wild card slot and being able to sneak into the playoffs by winning the one game playoff. Why should they get that opportunity? You should have to win the wild card outright to make the LDS, but no instead of coming in first and advancing to the LDS, you have to play an extra game against the second place team and possibly get bounced out of the playoffs if you lose that first place vs second place wildcard game.
The least the MLB can do with this whole new format is make the first place vs second place wild card matchup a best two-out-of-three series, and not just a winner take all sudden death game. Allow division winners to get some rest, and allow the wild card teams to have to win two games to make the LDS. This was an idea brought up by Redsox DH David Ortiz, when asked about the changes to the playoff system. Also, the wild card teams can afford to throw out their ace in game one of the wild card series, cause then they can have him ready for game one of the LDS, if they are to make it. Ortiz would go on to say, “One game? That’s kind of crazy.” “You know how many things we’ve got to move around and pack for one game? It’d make more sense for two wild cards to play at least a two-out-of-three series while the other teams take a break for three days because they won their divisions.” I couldn’t agree more with “Big Papi”, why not make them play a best two-out-of-three series, make sure the best teams wins, and give the division winners a break for a few days since they did win their divisions.
Although I am NOT in favor of the new format because of all the reasons I stated in the second paragraph, the least MLB can do is go with David Ortiz’s idea and not pack everything into a sudden death one game win it all. Make it a best of three series, give division winners a break, and then whoever wins those wild card series, you go ahead and start up the LDS’. The only good thing I see coming out of this big decision is, is that it all adds a lot more excitement and drama at the end of the season for those two sudden death games. Anyway, that’s just my take on this new playoff format, what’s your opinion on it? Feel free to leave a comment and vote on the poll.