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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The New Playoff Format Would Disincentivize Competition | FanGraphs Baseball

Why even have divisions? They are meaningless with the proposed playoff system.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 11, 2020 at 05:39 PM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: playoffs

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   1. cardsfanboy Posted: February 11, 2020 at 08:02 PM (#5923717)
I'm hoping this is one of those Manfred's "I'll consider it" type of thing, as the actual proposal is insanely stupid. Nobody who watches baseball is asking for more teams in the playoffs, in fact a significant portion are asking for ways to reduce it. Ultimately based upon the number of teams we have, the current system is probably the best (with maybe a couple of minor tweaks)


This concept of a team selecting who they play is a powder-keg waiting to be lit. It'll fuel animosity into the competition. Some people might like to see that level of anger/hatred in the post season, but it's just asking for teams to act dickish when they are picked as the favorite to be taken on.


Add in that there doesn't seem to be any real reason to add the extra team except to introduce the bye week for one team. I get that the more teams in the post season tournament, more money, more fans are invested in the end of the regular season, but at some point... enough is enough... It might as well be we play the regular season so that we can use the standings to seed ALL teams in the tournament.
   2. Cblau Posted: February 11, 2020 at 09:47 PM (#5923735)
Why continue pretending there are two leagues?
   3. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 12, 2020 at 03:46 PM (#5923940)
The only people asking for fewer playoff teams are hoary traditionalists who've been trying to kill baseball for the last 60 years.

While this specific proposal sucks, baseball suffers from the massive number of meaningless late season games. Starting the playoffs earlier with more teams is one of the best possible solutions for that. My preference would be every team to have a post-season role.

First, regular season is reduced to 140 games. Playoffs start with double elimination among four wild-card teams in each league. They play three game elimination series (guaranteeing at least one home games for each teams fans) ending with a single wild card winner to play in the divisional round. Division winners get that week off.

Simultaneously, the non-playoff teams play an elimination tournament to decide the first four picks in the draft. Probably do a NCAA bracket style selection show to seed 1st through 16th, and again have three game series so fans always get at least one home game. First round 16 teams, second round 8 teams, third round is the money round. First pick goes to winner of fourth round, second to runner-up, the teams eliminated in third round play a series to determine third and fourth picks. After that picks are again determined by regular season record.

• No more tanking to rebuild. You have the worst record in the league? Fine, enjoy picking 5th unless your team can beat someone in the draft position playoffs.
• No more meaningless late season games. Anyone near .500 has a shot at the real playoffs, or being the top seed in the draft position playoffs.
   4. AndrewJ Posted: February 12, 2020 at 03:57 PM (#5923944)
The only people asking for fewer playoff teams are hoary traditionalists who've been trying to kill baseball for the last 60 years.

I'll take "Straw Men" for $1,200...
   5. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: February 12, 2020 at 04:09 PM (#5923956)
Simultaneously, the non-playoff teams play an elimination tournament to decide the first four picks in the draft.

Who is going to watch a loser league playoff tournament, much less actually attend in person, especially while the actual MLB playoffs are taking place?
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 12, 2020 at 04:17 PM (#5923959)
Who is going to watch a loser league playoff tournament, much less actually attend in person, especially while the actual MLB playoffs are taking place?

Even more so, who's going to play in it? Are you going to ask a FA pitcher to risk injury playing for draft picks? No way MLBPA signs off.
   7. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 12, 2020 at 04:48 PM (#5923970)
Who expects fans of a last place team to go see it play in August and September?

And players will play in it, because they will be required to by law. BY LAW I SEZ!

Seriously though, you think it will take more than two seconds for the MLBPA to sign off on a proposal that increases revenues while cutting 22 games off the regular season schedule?
   8. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: February 12, 2020 at 05:05 PM (#5923974)
The only people asking for fewer playoff teams are hoary traditionalists who've been trying to kill baseball for the last 60 years.


I'm 30, so I can promise you I haven't been trying to kill baseball for the last 60 years. At most, it's only been 10 or 15 years. Maybe I'm a hoary traditionalist, but four playoff teams per league was perfectly fine. There's a chance that two playoff teams per league is an improvement. I don't remember the pre-wild card era at all, so I can't say with any sort of certainty or first-hand experience. What I can say is that I will essentially watch zero innings of major league baseball if this moronic proposal comes to pass.
   9. bbmck Posted: February 12, 2020 at 05:18 PM (#5923975)
Next teams in the playoffs and win totals:

2019: 93 CLE, 84 BOS, 86 NYM, 85 ARI
2018: 90 TBR, 89 SEA, 88 STL, 1 of 82 ARI, PIT and WSN
2017: 2 of 80 KCR, LAA and TBR, 86 MIL, 83 STL
2016: 86 DET and SEA, 86 STL, 79 MIA

2015: 85 LAA, 83 MIN, 84 SFG, 83 WSN
2014: 87 SEA, 85 CLE, 82 MIL, 1 of 79 ATL and NYM
2013: 91 TEX, 86 KCR, 86 WSN, 81 ARI
2012: 90 TBR, 89 LAA, 86 LAD, 83 MIL

79-83 2014 Braves or Mets
79-82 2016 Marlins
80-82 2017 2 of Angels, Rays and Royals
81-81 2013 Diamondbacks

27 teams with winning records, 4 with 90+ wins.
   10. . Posted: February 12, 2020 at 05:21 PM (#5923977)
The most interesting thing about all of this is how major league baseball games have come to be seen as "meaningless" if there isn't some clear and obvious pennant race or playoff import. How did the sport ever get to the point where wide swaths of its inventory are perceived this way, and how did sports culture get to the point where it would perceive them this way? It's a big change in cultural perspective and those always interest me.

When, why, and how did this happen?
   11. KronicFatigue Posted: February 12, 2020 at 05:23 PM (#5923980)
The only people asking for fewer playoff teams are hoary traditionalists who've been trying to kill baseball for the last 60 years.


You know, most soccer clubs are doing just fine with a regular-season-take-all format*

*(yes, there are various tournaments as well. But the season champ is decided by playing everybody twice)
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 12, 2020 at 05:24 PM (#5923981)
Seriously though, you think it will take more than two seconds for the MLBPA to sign off on a proposal that increases revenues while cutting 22 games off the regular season schedule?

How are you going to increase revenues by cutting 22 games off the regular season? That's 330 games worth of tickets, concessions, parking, etc. 330 fewer games that the cable networks get to broadcast. Every regular season TV deal that MVP has in place would immediately be cut by 13.5%. Baseball on TV is a volume business. If the networks get to sell 13.5% fewer ads, they're going to pay 13.5% less.

Your basically cutting all local revenue 13.5% and hoping to make it up on an extra round of playoff games. That seems highly dubious.
   13. . Posted: February 12, 2020 at 05:29 PM (#5923984)
And the Diamondbacks/Phillies punting while still in contention for the playoffs at the 2019 trade deadline question has yet to be answered. Teams give up even when they're within striking distance now, when the obstacle course to a championship is far lower. Why are teams going to fight for the 6th and 7th seed under the new system? The direct evidence against that is literally like eight months old.
   14. AndrewJ Posted: February 12, 2020 at 06:51 PM (#5924005)
To paraphrase Monty Python's "Summarize Proust Competition" sketch, they could award the World Series trophy to the girl with the biggest breasts. I'd just like to see those who disagree with the Manfred proposal treated with a minimal amount of respect.
   15. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 12, 2020 at 09:30 PM (#5924032)
When, why, and how did this happen?


When average game length grew past 2 hours.

Your basically cutting all local revenue 13.5% and hoping to make it up on an extra round of playoff games. That seems highly dubious.


The wild card and draft position playoffs add back as many as 54 games. They will have much higher revenue per game. Now if that’s not enough, fine. Cut the schedule back to 154 games, you only need a week and a half for two rounds of wild card series, and the draft position playoffs will run concurrently anyways.
   16. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 12, 2020 at 09:35 PM (#5924035)
You know, most soccer clubs are doing just fine with a regular-season-take-all format*


The MLB isn’t going out if business due to its stagnation, it’s just attracting a smaller percentage of fans. Playoffs would make both better.

Baseball used to have a winner take all, it worked ok when there was only 8 teams a league, it would work terrible with 15. Times change, and baseball can always be improved.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 12, 2020 at 09:47 PM (#5924039)

The wild card and draft position playoffs add back as many as 54 games. They will have much higher revenue per game. Now if that’s not enough, fine. Cut the schedule back to 154 games, you only need a week and a half for two rounds of wild card series, and the draft position playoffs will run concurrently anyways.


No one is participating in, or watching draft playoff games. No sport does that.
   18. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 12, 2020 at 10:32 PM (#5924048)
No one is participating in, or watching draft playoff games. No sport does that.


That’s the very definition of an appeal to authority argument. Before there was a wildcard, no one had ever watched a wildcard game, yet somehow wildcard games are hugely popular. Obviously some fans will watch draft playoffs. Even Marlins fans will get excited enough to attend/watch if the Marlins start winning in the draft playoffs and look like they have a shot at the first pick.
   19. Baldrick Posted: February 12, 2020 at 11:05 PM (#5924054)
That’s the very definition of an appeal to authority argument

It's an appeal to a pretty damn compelling authority, whereas your argument that people would watch draft position playoff games has an extremely high bar to clear to be even remotely persuasive.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: February 12, 2020 at 11:07 PM (#5924056)
yet somehow wildcard games are hugely popular.


They are?

   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 13, 2020 at 12:28 AM (#5924063)
The regular season is integral to the appeal of Major League Baseball - the unique schedule works its way into the daily rhythm of the lives of its fans. Folks still attend ‘meaningless’ games in August & September. Some buy tickets way ahead, some go to see the opposing team, some just want to see MLB, and some are always able to find a silver lining justifying their presence. The Manfred Plan isn’t the end of the world, but diluting the regular season is a sin against baseball.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 13, 2020 at 09:28 AM (#5924110)
The regular season is integral to the appeal of Major League Baseball - the unique schedule works its way into the daily rhythm of the lives of its fans. Folks still attend ‘meaningless’ games in August & September. Some buy tickets way ahead, some go to see the opposing team, some just want to see MLB, and some are always able to find a silver lining justifying their presence. The Manfred Plan isn’t the end of the world, but diluting the regular season is a sin against baseball.

True.

Also, the idea than a 100-win Divisional Champion has to play a 3-game series against an 82-win 3rd place team is absurd. At least the current structure gives the divisional winners a huge leg up.
   23. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: February 13, 2020 at 09:37 AM (#5924119)
They are?


Yes, they are. For the same reason the NFL playoffs, NCAA basketball tournament, and any Game 7 are wildly popular: Americans love loser-goes-home elimination games.
   24. jmurph Posted: February 13, 2020 at 09:46 AM (#5924122)
Also, the idea than a 100-win Divisional Champion has to play a 3-game series against an 82-win 3rd place team is absurd.

Yeah when a better division winner lost to a worst division winner in a short series in the past that was also "unfair" in a sense, but at least you can say, well, the divisions are separate things, you have to sort it out somehow. But this really came to the forefront with the second WC. The 2015 Pirates finished in 2nd, one game ahead of the 3rd place Cubs, who then promptly beat them in the Wild Card game. In that case, the regular season was effectively meaningless for those two teams, wiped away with one game.

I guess you can take the stance that, screw em, if you want it easy then win your division, and I guess that's a fair stance. But this new proposal would make it all so much worse.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 13, 2020 at 09:48 AM (#5924123)
Yes, they are. For the same reason the NFL playoffs, NCAA basketball tournament, and any Game 7 are wildly popular: Americans love loser-goes-home elimination games.

MLB, not so much.

The NL WC game this year got a 2.9 rating, 4.7M viewers. In comparison the MLB on Fox regular season finale got a 1.3 with 2.0M viewers.

That WC rating is not "wildly popular" and it seems like MLB would be much better off with a bunch of extra regular season games. Lots of MLB teams have better regular season ratings than the playoffs.

I'm pretty sure a full 15-game slate of regular season games makes more TV money in total than a single playoff game.

https://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2019/10/nl-wild-card-ratings-decline-brewers-nationals/
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: February 13, 2020 at 10:06 AM (#5924132)
Yes, they are. For the same reason the NFL playoffs, NCAA basketball tournament, and any Game 7 are wildly popular: Americans love loser-goes-home elimination games.


You apparently have a much more liberal definition of "hugely" than I do.
   27. . Posted: February 13, 2020 at 12:02 PM (#5924183)
The NL WC game this year got a 2.9 rating, 4.7M viewers.


Those number not only don't show that the game was "hugely popular," they show that it's was pretty much "unpopular." It's significantly less viewers than the NFL draft, for example. It's less than the average rating of the seven Stanley Cup Finals games in the US, and less than each of games 4, 5, 6, and 7. Game 7 drew a 4.9. There's nothing whatever to indicate that an early-round MLB "elimination game" will be even popular, much less hugely popular. It's pure fantasy.
   28. craigamazing Posted: February 13, 2020 at 01:52 PM (#5924229)
The regular season is integral to the appeal of Major League Baseball - the unique schedule works its way into the daily rhythm of the lives of its fans. Folks still attend ‘meaningless’ games in August & September. Some buy tickets way ahead, some go to see the opposing team, some just want to see MLB, and some are always able to find a silver lining justifying their presence. The Manfred Plan isn’t the end of the world, but diluting the regular season is a sin against baseball.


Exactly. And what all of these geniuses don't understand is that every flop-sweat slathered attempt to infuse meaning into every single freaking regular season game on the entire schedule simultaneously drains double the meaning out of all of the subsequent postseason games.

I've enjoyed going to Blue Jay games this past couple of seasons in August and September. A chance for better, cheaper seats and just watching some baseball for the sake of watching baseball.

   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 13, 2020 at 02:34 PM (#5924242)
Exactly. And what all of these geniuses don't understand is that every flop-sweat slathered attempt to infuse meaning into every single freaking regular season game on the entire schedule simultaneously drains double the meaning out of all of the subsequent postseason games.

I've enjoyed going to Blue Jay games this past couple of seasons in August and September. A chance for better, cheaper seats and just watching some baseball for the sake of watching baseball.


There are very few must win games in baseball. I went to a September Yankee game with my nephews. The outcome wasn't important; the Yankees were going to the playoffs anyway. But baseball is fun.
   30. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 02:48 PM (#5924244)
The NL WC game had a similar number of viewers as the Texas Bowl featuring Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Hugely popular? It did outdraw the Camping World Bowl and the Outback Bowl.

   31. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: February 13, 2020 at 03:33 PM (#5924267)
I'm opposed to any post season on principle. But as long as we're discussing dumb ideas that will get more teams into the post season, here's one:

Even out divisions, five teams each.

First round of the post season:
5th place team plays 4th place team. 5th place team must win 2 in a row to advance, 4th place needs to win only one.
Winner plays the 3rd place team. The challenger needs to win 2 in a row to advance. The 3rd place team needs to win only one.
And so on.
Of the resulting division champions, the one with the worst regular season record plays the one with second worst regular season record. The team with the worse record needs to win 2 in a row to advance. The one with the better record needs to win only one. The team with the best regular season record gets a bye.

And have a regular LCS and WS.

This way every team gets a shot at the post season every year, but there are serious advantages to winning more games. It gives the Orioles and the Royals something to play for in September. (Not much, granted, but they don't deserve much, and it's more than they've got now.) It does mean that there's the possibility that a very bad team ends up as world champion, but (1) in order to do that they'll need to win 10 games in a row, plus the LCS, plus the WS, which is a long shot for a good team, much less a bad one, and (2) any post season format is going to allow some possibility that a better team will lose to a worse one, and (3) I said it's a dumb idea anyways.
   32. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: February 13, 2020 at 03:40 PM (#5924271)
If you're going to go for that particular dumb idea, you don't really need to make the inferior team win two games in a row to run an intradivisional ladder playoff. Play five games in five days: 5 at 4, winner at 3, winner at 2, winner at 1.

We're not really worried about doing wrong by the 4th place team, and every game after that is increasingly more difficult for the lesser seed to win; they're against a superior opponent that is at home and perfectly rested, starting its ace against a lesser pitcher of yours, and your bullpen is depleted.

The ladder will be won by the 1st or 2nd place finisher 85% of the time. Then you can have the real playoffs with the six division champions.

Having any playoffs at all in baseball is gimmicky as hell. If you're going to decide the champion with a gimmick, you might as well play it to the hilt.
   33. PreservedFish Posted: February 13, 2020 at 03:55 PM (#5924274)
I'm opposed to any post season on principle.

Having any playoffs at all in baseball is gimmicky as hell.


So you guys not into, like, the World Series?
   34. SoSH U at work Posted: February 13, 2020 at 03:58 PM (#5924275)
Even out divisions, five teams each.


That will never work.

   35. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:01 PM (#5924295)
So you guys not into, like, the World Series?


In principle, no. Like PASTE, I'm offended by gimmicks. My preferred set up would be one league, no divisions, balanced schedule. The team with the best record at the end of 1xx games (however many makes sense with a balanced schedule) wins. It does mean that most teams have nothing to play for after May, and interest in baseball would crater, and we'd lose lots of dramatic and exciting things. But I didn't say that I like it as a practical suggestion, I said that I like it as a matter of principle. As a matter of principle, I want the best team to win. And a team doesn't exist on one particular day, or one particular week. It's an enduring thing. So no short series gives you much information about which is the best team.
   36. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:04 PM (#5924297)
Yeah, for some reason my brain was stuck pre-2012 for division alignment.
   37. PreservedFish Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:07 PM (#5924299)
I totally understand the principle, but I couldn't imagine actually wanting that. I'd rather have a 'headcanon' where the 2001 Mariners were acknowledged as the best team that year, but I also get to enjoy the exciting World Series.

How about this - two leagues, the two best teams play a series of, say, 25 games?
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:11 PM (#5924301)
How about this - two leagues, the two best teams play a series of, say, 25 games?

That would be super-boring.
   39. PreservedFish Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:22 PM (#5924306)
Not if it made it to game 25. That would be legendary!
   40. cardsfanboy Posted: February 13, 2020 at 05:41 PM (#5924309)
Let's go with a compromise, now that we have acknowledged that all teams are rich, and can afford players, and that there is basically a salary cap in place, so the draft pick is no longer really a thing to give to the teams who suck by not trying...

Best Record in baseball gets the first overall pick. (mind you, we'll also make a change to player salary, that the anyone drafted in the first round is not eligible for messing with their service time, instead put in a hard timeline for first round picks towards their free agent status---but that is a different discussion---sorry tangent) this rewards the team that continues playing when it doesn't matter.... after that though, draft picks are based upon what they were before. (or if that seems too much, reward best record an extra pick in the first sandwich round or something... hell do it for both leagues)

Or heck you can come up with all different ways to manipulate draft picks based upon standings to encourage teams to play towards the end of the season... ... draft order (for non-playoff teams) is determined by w-l record after August or W-L record differential from August until the end of the season vs the first four months etc.... You can really game the system with draft picks, or changing salary cap limits for teams, based upon incentives to continue playing for the season etc... you can have a lot of ways to make teams try.

This playoff system that they are proposing does none of that. It doesn't encourage teams to change one bit of strategy... and in fact, unless you are the clear best team in the league, it's going to encourage the other division champions to let off of the throttle.
   41. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 13, 2020 at 06:40 PM (#5924319)
Those number not only don't show that the game was "hugely popular," they show that it's was pretty much "unpopular." It's significantly less viewers than the NFL draft, for example. It's less than the average rating of the seven Stanley Cup Finals games in the US, and less than each of games 4, 5, 6, and 7. Game 7 drew a 4.9. There's nothing whatever to indicate that an early-round MLB "elimination game" will be even popular, much less hugely popular. It's pure fantasy.


Stop the apples to oranges comparisons. How do those numbers compare to late season MLB games?
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 13, 2020 at 07:07 PM (#5924322)

Stop the apples to oranges comparisons. How do those numbers compare to late season MLB games?


see [25]. Not well. Only a little more than twice what a nationally televised regular season game got.
   43. AndrewJ Posted: February 13, 2020 at 07:45 PM (#5924327)
Manfred's proposal would give the team in each league with the best W/L record a bye to the LDS. I'd go one step further -- the team with the MLB's best W/L record would get a bye to the LCS.
   44. SoSH U at work Posted: February 13, 2020 at 07:53 PM (#5924329)

Manfred's proposal would give the team in each league with the best W/L record a bye to the LDS. I'd go one step further -- the team with the MLB's best W/L record would get a bye to the LCS.


How would that work?

   45. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 13, 2020 at 08:49 PM (#5924339)
see [25]. Not well. Only a little more than twice what a nationally televised regular season game got.


Sorry, I missed that. Still double would be significant over 20 wildcard games. Maybe not worth giving up 22 regular season games (or maybe yes, scarcity should lead to a little higher average attendance) but maybe worth giving up the last week of the regular season (5 games?).
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 13, 2020 at 10:00 PM (#5924356)
Sorry, I missed that. Still double would be significant over 20 wildcard games. Maybe not worth giving up 22 regular season games (or maybe yes, scarcity should lead to a little higher average attendance) but maybe worth giving up the last week of the regular season (5 games?).

The issue is that MLB is primarily a local sport, not national.

Baseball gets phenomenal local ratings (see link) and crappy national ones.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/maurybrown/2018/07/19/prime-time-tv-ratings-for-each-team-at-the-mlb-all-star-break/#34125d654c4f

Replacing 15 locally televised games with 2-3 national ones decreases total viewership pretty dramatically if the local games are getting a 4 rating and the national games a 2.
   47. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 13, 2020 at 10:34 PM (#5924358)
I'm opposed to any post season on principle. But as long as we're discussing dumb ideas that will get more teams into the post season, here's one:

Even out divisions, five teams each.

First round of the post season:
5th place team plays 4th place team. 5th place team must win 2 in a row to advance, 4th place needs to win only one.
Winner plays the 3rd place team. The challenger needs to win 2 in a row to advance. The 3rd place team needs to win only one.
And so on.
Of the resulting division champions, the one with the worst regular season record plays the one with second worst regular season record. The team with the worse record needs to win 2 in a row to advance. The one with the better record needs to win only one. The team with the best regular season record gets a bye.


This is similar to my crazy playoff idea which would never work in real life because its length is far too uncertain.

First, you need to go back to four divisions. The League Championship Series will pit one team from each of the four divisions (I'd keep traditional American and National League and go with an ALCS and NLCS).

Within each division, then, everybody makes the playoffs with teams having the opportunity to move up by playing the team directly above them in the standings. So, setting aside the extra teams from cutting back to 4 divisions, we start with the Orioles, say, having a chance to pass the Blue Jays. But to do so, they have to beat the Blue Jays the number of games they finished behind the Blue Jays in the regular season plus one - without losing. So, the 2019 Orioles finished 13 games behind the Blue Jays. They'd have to beat the Blue Jays 14 straight games. If they win, say, 11 straight and then the Blue Jays win - series over, on to Blue Jays vs. Red Sox. Blue Jays were 17 games behind the Red Sox, so they'd have to win 18 straight. etc., etc. Until the #2 team - or whoever's made it that far - faces the division winner and plays them under the same rules.

Everybody has a theoretical chance but the regular season really, really matters - and literally every game of the regular season will still matter - a team with 105 wins has an easier route to the LCS than a team with only 104 wins (not a LOT easier, but a little bit easier).
   48. cookiedabookie Posted: February 14, 2020 at 08:21 AM (#5924379)
Get rid of the divisions. Have the top two teams in each league get a buy. The next four teams play against each other, at the top team's home field. The team with the best record only has to win one game, the other team has to win two games. That makes this "wildcard" (for lack of a better term) round two games long at most. Then the division and championship series should play seven game series.

This incentivizes every spot. Top two seeds get a buy, top seed gets home field throughout. Third and four seeds get home field in "wildcard" round and only have to win once. And fifth and sixth get a shot. That would likely lead to 8-10 teams in each league at least having a shot. But it would only increase the number of teams in each league making the playoffs by one.
   49. Rally Posted: February 14, 2020 at 09:08 AM (#5924385)
Within each division, then, everybody makes the playoffs with teams having the opportunity to move up by playing the team directly above them in the standings. So, setting aside the extra teams from cutting back to 4 divisions, we start with the Orioles, say, having a chance to pass the Blue Jays. But to do so, they have to beat the Blue Jays the number of games they finished behind the Blue Jays in the regular season plus one - without losing. So, the 2019 Orioles finished 13 games behind the Blue Jays. They'd have to beat the Blue Jays 14 straight games. If they win, say, 11 straight and then the Blue Jays win - series over, on to Blue Jays vs. Red Sox. Blue Jays were 17 games behind the Red Sox, so they'd have to win 18 straight. etc., etc. Until the #2 team - or whoever's made it that far - faces the division winner and plays them under the same rules.


I am intrigued. But say the Orioles beat the Blue Jays in 14 straight. Do they then need to win 31 in a row to take down the Red Sox? Or since they beat the Blue Jays, they take over the Jays' spot and only need 18 more? Imagine the improbable underdogs pulling off a 138 game winning streak and taking down the Yankees!
   50. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 14, 2020 at 10:44 AM (#5924405)
I am intrigued. But say the Orioles beat the Blue Jays in 14 straight. Do they then need to win 31 in a row to take down the Red Sox? Or since they beat the Blue Jays, they take over the Jays' spot and only need 18 more? Imagine the improbable underdogs pulling off a 138 game winning streak and taking down the Yankees!


I could go either way, but I think I'd lean toward the key is the team needs to win more games than the team they're passing, but playoff wins in earlier rounds count toward that. So, essentially, the Orioles would take over the Blue Jays spot and need only 18 more wins (or maybe only 17 as they'd have one more win than the Blue Jays at the end of the previous round). And yes, I love the idea of the Orioles pulling off the 14-game, then 17-game, then 12-game, then 7-game winning streaks to take the AL East while the AL West leader is sitting around for two months waiting to find out who they play in the ALCS, with the World Series finally being played in early March some year.

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