The Major League Baseball logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I will say this as simply as possible, adding a second wild card spot is the best thing Major League Baseball has done in a long time. When first announced, I believed this was a good idea and so far it proves to be. We have playoff baseball in late August and September. The star players now need to show up. The average players now have an opportunity to rise to the next level. What more could fans want?
The American League East
The AL East is one of the most competitive divisions in baseball. Typically this battle involves New York and Boston. This season however, the pesky Orioles under Buck Showalter are proving payroll means nothing. The Orioles don’t seem to care much about run differential either. Baltimore is forcing New York to stay aggressive. Thank you Major League Baseball.
The Oakland Athletics
Sitting only two games behind the Rangers in the AL West and in the lead for the Wild Card is impressive, at least to me. Oakland will be a tough team regardless how they get into the playoffs. With seven games remaining between Texas and Oakland, anything can happen. Thank you Major League Baseball.
The National League
Barring any highly improbable, complete apocalyptic collapses, (I’m not even sure if mathematically they could happen), the division leaders in the National League need not worry about their playoff chances. The Wild Card race is what fans need to watch. Going into Sunday’s games, the Braves, Dodgers, and Cardinals are tied for two wild card slots. My apologies to all the Pittsburgh Pirate fans, not this season.This is baseball at its best. Thank you Major League Baseball.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!
Image via Wikipedia
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.
Bud Selig, in his infinite wisdom, wants to expand the playoffs to 10 teams in 2012. Will this work? Is it good for baseball? Should baseball have a single elimination game immediately after the regular season? These are questions that need to be answered.
In recent seasons we’ve seen single-elimination playoff games. The drama surrounding these games has been exciting to say the least. The problem I have with a single elimination game, is you can have a rather successful season, and poof, you’re out. Baseball, like basketball and hockey use series for a reason. I think you need to have a series. A three game series is sufficient. Winner moves on. This eliminates any questions about who deserves to be in the playoffs or not. Teams won’t need to rely on their ace pitcher. A series allows better use of your rotation so the number one guy isn’t starting the regular playoffs on short rest.
From the fan’s perspective, playoff expansion may be good. Last season teams, such as the Yankees and Rays, who knew they were in the post-season lacked enthusiasm in September. An expansion of the playoffs would eliminate this. Hopefully.
A few more games to watch. More excitement because something is on the line. Who doesn’t like playoff baseball? I think this may be one of Bud’s better decisions.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!