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Friday, October 01, 2021

Rosenthal: This year’s races demonstrate the potential issues MLB would face if the playoffs were expanded to 14 teams

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With all due respect to fans of the Phillies, Reds and Padres, do any of those teams objectively deserve a postseason berth?

The answer is no. Yet, under Major League Baseball’s original plan for expanding the playoffs from 10 to 14 teams, two of those three clubs would qualify for wild cards. And in the American League, four of the five current wild-card contenders would be assured of playing in October.

Too many mediocre clubs. Not enough urgency. A plan too flawed to implement, at least in its initial, proposed form.

I’m not opposed on principle to more teams in the postseason. A larger field is inevitable once the league expands from 30 to 32 clubs, which should happen at some point this decade after, ahem, the A’s and Rays resolve the uncertainty with their ballparks.

In the interim, a well-conceived, 14-team format could make sense. But it likely would need to be introduced in combination with other changes that would incentivize competition, or else the Players Association, which must agree to any adjustment in format, would not approve.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 01, 2021 at 12:46 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: expanded playoffs

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   1. The Duke Posted: October 01, 2021 at 01:28 PM (#6042813)
Why play 162 games if everyone gets in? I’d prefer 8. Divisions plus one. Get rid of inter league play so the playing field is cleaner.

If you want 50% to get in, roll back season to 120-140 games or something like that.

   2. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: October 01, 2021 at 01:30 PM (#6042814)
I do like the second wild card as there should be some incentive for winning the division. Not having to play in a play-in game is a good one.
   3. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: October 01, 2021 at 01:36 PM (#6042818)
I think if you want to go back to four teams in each league then you need to add two teams and go to four divisions. Otherwise the current system is the best in the current format. It incentivizes the divisions appropriately.
   4. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: October 01, 2021 at 01:38 PM (#6042821)
The second wild card was a big improvement. Giants/Dodgers wouldn't have meant a thing in the old format. Of course, in the pre-95 world, it would be an epic race that captured widespread attention, but that isn't coming back. Just please hold it at 10 for another few decades...
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: October 01, 2021 at 01:45 PM (#6042826)
It incentivizes the divisions appropriately.

The second wild card was a big improvement.

Sometimes. In a year like this one, the Giants-Dodgers race is improved vs. the previous format because of the existence of the second wild card.

In 2019, the NL Central race was weaker than it previously would have been because of it (that would have been a winner-take-all race in the one wild card era instead of the loser gets a nifty consolation prize).

And sometimes you get a nice wildcard race with it. But the last week of 2011 would have been decidedly less memorable if all four of those teams were just jockeying for HFA in the one-gamers.
   6. Rally Posted: October 01, 2021 at 02:09 PM (#6042835)
The 1993 Giants have a soft spot in my heart - the last great team to miss the playoffs after losing a division race. Looking them up, I forgot that was Dusty Baker’s rookie season as manager.
   7. donlock Posted: October 01, 2021 at 04:44 PM (#6042869)
Let's not talk about expansion in order to have more teams in the playoffs. There are now 6-8 teams that can't draw 10,000 fans per game. There may be 4 100 game losers this year. Two or four expansion teams will really dilute the existing talent pool. If Oakland or Tampa moves, they would take one of the prime expansion cities (if there are any).The new expansion teams would be fighting with the old, bad teams to get players (without waiting for #1 in the draft).

Where are the players, particlulary pitchers, to come from to fill out the rosters? Just more cannon fodder for the 5 or so top, wealthy teams. Teams 25 games out by July. A mess that won't draw young fans away from NFL or NBA.
   8. Tony S Posted: October 01, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6042871)
The best way to incentivize division titles is to eliminate the wildcards altogether, though of course that horse left the barn decades ago.

A 14-team playoff. Yum. Well, it would give a third-place 79-83 team reason to fly a flag for its very special accomplishment!
   9. bfan Posted: October 01, 2021 at 06:17 PM (#6042894)
No guaranty but in a 32 team league 14 teams should be above .500.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: October 01, 2021 at 06:51 PM (#6042900)
A mess that won't draw young fans away from NFL or NBA.

Who have been sending about half their teams to the playoffs for at least a couple of decades now.

There are now 6-8 teams that can't draw 10,000 fans per game.

C'mon now, 2021 attendance was still hugely affected by covid -- lockdowns, attendance restrictions, etc. Not only did that limit crowd sizes early, all the uncertainty coming into the year meant that advance/season ticket sales were even further reduced, leaving most of it to day of game, spur of the moment purchases. And now that full attendance is back, there's the issue that (shocking) fans aren't that interested in turning up for a late Sept meaningless Cubs-Pirates game which has been true for time immemorial.**

The attendance behemoth Dodgers just drew about 150,000 for a 3-game mid-week series against the Padres. I think attendance is gonna be OK in the not too distant future (barring a nasty new variant) but obviously we won't know for a few years. Now if that 5-6 teams can't draw 20,000 per game is an issue, that's another matter but one that's been around for a long time.

Note, I agree it would be a bad time to expand, that there aren't any markets out there that actually look good, if anything I'd like to see contraction (never gonna happen). But teams drawing 10,000 in a pandemic season isn't part of the reason.

** The Cubs-Pirates just played 3 mid-week in Pitt, drew about 30,000. In 2019, the Cubs played 3 in Pitt in the last mid-week series and drew about 30,000.
   11. cookiedabookie Posted: October 03, 2021 at 02:36 PM (#6043245)
I think 12 teams is the perfect number. Then you can incentivize every playoff spot. Top two seeds get a buy, #3 vs. #6 and #4 vs #5. Third and fourth seeds play at home, only need one win to advance. Fifth and sixth seeds need two wins to advance. Then we go into the current structure, although I'd change the division series to a best of seven.

Also, I'd have a single elimination, neutral site tournament with the 8 worst teams, to compete for the top draft pick the following year. More baseball is always good. It gives those fanbases their own bit of "playoff" baseball, and gives teams a reason to not completely tank for a draft pick.
   12. we all water; we all 57i66135 Posted: October 03, 2021 at 02:58 PM (#6043249)
the real answer is that there should only be 2 playoff teams: the AL champion and the NL champion.

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