MLB is going to add another wild card slot for both the American and National League. Teams that win their division earn an extra day or two of rest while the wild card teams face off in a one-game playoff round. Winner of the one-game “series” would play in the divisional round of the playoffs. The loser packs their bags for a long trip home.
I have a couple problems with this.
- Why expand the playoffs if wild card teams only get one chance to advance?
It seems cruel. Athletes are creatures of habit and baseball players are no different. For 6 months, 30 teams play series after series, trying to compile the best record in their division to ensure a playoff birth. For wild card teams though, it only leads to an extra game? I don’t agree with this at all.
- Postseason Baseball: pitching and defense wins championships.
It makes zero sense to have two teams play one game that is the equivalent of a game 7. These teams will have to pour every available resource (pitcher) into this game. Yes, the winners get to move on, but will be at a serious disadvantage facing rested teams who were able to set their starting rotation up to face them. Especially if this playoff game would go into extra innings, wiping out each teams bullpen.
I realize that MLB wants to avoid having the postseason drag into November, while creating buzz and more money opportunities for the postseason. But this playoff format is a literally a kick to the crotch for wild card teams.
- My suggestion for MLB.
If you are going to switch up the playoff format, do it right the first time. There should not be a trial and error phase. Cut the season back to 156 games instead of 162, each MLB team would lose a home series throughout the course of the season, but it would open up the necessary time to have the wild card teams play at least a 3 or 5 game series. Plus, MLB could start the division league series’ a couple days earlier, avoiding baseball games in November.