Major League Baseball’s new playoff system was built to make a more exciting season, and cause teams to strive to win their division.
That goal was certainly made. Baseball does not get much more exciting than the Oakland A’s beating the defending American League champions, Texas Rangers on the last game of the season to win the AL West. The New York Yankees only beat out the surprising Baltimore Orioles by one game to win the AL East.
In this sense, the MLB reached their goal for an exciting season. The league also reached another goal, that hasn’t been spoken about enough. Money.
Let’s be honest, baseball knew it could make more money by having a one-game playoff for the top two wild card teams from each league.
Money, suspense and exciting baseball was created with the new playoff system, but the system is flawed.
Two wild card teams is fine, but not a one-game playoff.
Baseball is a grind of 162 games where a one-game playoff system does not work. This is not football where a one and done system works perfectly fine.
In football, you have one quarterback that leads your team each game, but in baseball, it’s much different. A rotation of pitchers (Baseball’s quarterbacks) is built of five men that lead your time against series of teams.
Most teams have an ace, but a rotation of pitchers is how a baseball team is constructed. This one-game playoff completely goes against how the game is built.
If baseball is going to go with two wild card teams from each league, then at least a best-of-three series should be played. This isn’t a series that will kill pitching, but it will show which team is deeper and fits the way baseball is built much better.
Baseball is a cruel game. If you hit for an “F” you could find yourself in Cooperstown. That doesn’t make much sense, but that’s baseball. This cruel game, gave an even rougher ending to Chipper Jones’ career.
The Atlanta Braves won 94 games this season and saw their season end in one game. The Braves are a team built for the playoffs and things could have been much different in a series format.
Another flaw, which may be even bigger, is having the lower seeded team host the first two games of a series. The first two games in a series are huge and this series puts the higher seed at a disadvantage.
Instead of having a system that has the first two games hosted by the lower seed and the next three at the higher seeded’s field, baseball needs to go with a two-two-one system, with the higher seed hosting first.
Baseball tried to give division winners an advantage by having a one-game playoff with the wild card teams, but then contradicted themselves by putting the higher seeded teams on the road.
The Washington Nationals had the best record in baseball with 98 wins. Does it make much sense that they are playing their first two playoff games in St. Louis against the defending champs? Baseball sure has a weird way of rewarding baseball’s best.
The MLB reached plenty of their goals with their new playoff format, but the system has too many flaws and should be looked at after this season.