Got into a discussion with some friends about the playoffs in baseball. One thought that there should be more wildcard rounds, I’m totally against that. Baseball is unique among sports when it comes to the length of their season. The MLB season is 162 games plus the playoffs and the world series. 162 games! The idea behind having such a long season is to separate the good from the not as good teams. It’s clear who the best teams are at the end, it seems patently unfair to allow a team that did not do as well over that time frame to usurp the team that did well in a 5 game series. Anything can happen in a series that short. You can take the best team in the league and play them against the worst in a 5 game series and we don’t know who will come out on top.
It’s best to look at the season as a 162 game playoff series. What I would like to see is two divisions in each league. The winners of those divisions play a best of 7, or even 9, to determine who goes to the world series. 4 teams, 1 round of playoffs, we would definitely see who is the best.
“But then only the rich teams would make the series!” that’s a common feeling, but it just isn’t true. There are plenty of rich teams that haven’t done well, like the mets, the Cubs, and even the Dodgers, and teams in smaller markets and/or with smaller budgets that do fine like the Rays and the Angels. The fact that the Yankees or Red Sox haven’t won every world series and the fact that teams like the Royals and A’s have won it tell us that it isn’t just budget that determines success. It helps to be sure, but a well run team is far important than the amount of money they have.
To me, 162 games should mean something. Playing 162 games just to possibly be bounced out by a 4th place team in a best of 5 series just doesn’t seem right. If they are going to change the playoffs, there should be fewer rounds, not more.