Major League Baseball is going to expand the playoffs to include a total of 10 teams. This is a good thing. Baseball needs the drama and excitement of the one-and-done game. The last few seasons we’ve seen this. The owners want it, the players want it, and I would suspect a number of fans want this. Not to mention, this is good for business. Yes, this will eliminate the drama of having a single game to determine who’s in the playoffs and who’s out. But, that drama isn’t guaranteed within the current structure. Expansion to an additional Wild Card round guarantees the excitement.
Play-off expansion gives smaller market teams an additional opportunity. The business of baseball benefits from this. Not to mention, this gives players something to actually play for. Rather than write their season off in mid-August, there is some added motivation. Players play, however we tend to hear rumblings of how some teams and players slack off when their playoff hopes appear to be slim. That second wild card slot will improve competition, especially towards the end of the season. I am not suggesting this is going to be the perfect playoff structure. There is an inherent lack of fairness if an entire 162 game season hinges on one game. However, professional sports need to evolve. The last change in 1994 worked, I think this will too.
Ten teams in the playoffs is enough. The NHL, NBA, and NFL all have similar ratios. The addition of a wild-card slot in baseball indicates another exciting possibility for baseball fans: the Commissioner and the owners are willing to try old and new ideas (insert regular season replay here.) They are willing to embrace some level of change. The players strike of 1994 did significant damage to the sport. Only the enhanced home run chase brought fans back to the game. Now that Major League Baseball’s fan base is watching again, the sport needs to keep current fans interested, and new ones tuning in. The next few seasons of baseball will at least be interesting, if not truly exciting for fans.