Proposed MLB Playoff Changes: Inane, Pointless, and Counterproductive
The proposed MLB playoff changes are further proof that Rob Manfred wants to fix something that is not broken.
Like with Roger Goodell taking over for Paul Tagliabue in the NFL, the Manfred reign began with all good intentions. However, to draw a contrast betwen the NFL and MLB, Goodell did not take over for a disliked commissioner. Manfred did, referring to the slippery Bud Selig who managed to piss off almost every fanbase in baseball over 23 years. At least it wasn’t every fanbase, a clean sweep which the NHL’s Gary Bettman pulled off long ago.
When Rob Manfred took over as commissioner of Major League Baseball, some saw it as the start of a new era. Instead, Manfred, who now has a cheating scandal blowing up in his lap, has continued whimsical and pointless tinkering with the game. As if trying to ram pace of play changes (with some speaking of ties) down our throats because of no-attention-span millennials isn’t bad enough, now they want to completely redo the postseason and insert selection methods that flip the finger to the game.
The Proposed MLB Playoff Changes
With an assist from our source the New York Post, here is the proposal:
- Number of teams per league increases from five to seven; 14 total playoff teams. Three division champions and four wild cards in each league.
- Top seed (#1 division winner) in each league gets a bye to the Division Series.
- Three best-of-three Wild Card Series in each league.
- #2 division winner picks its opponent from the bottom three wild cards in the league. The #3 division winner selects from the remaining two. Those two remaining wild card teams will play each other.
And Here’s What’s Wrong With It
It’s a complete joke.
They should have stopped at the wild card being a best-of-three. That may have been tolerable, even though you’ll have pitchers on division-winning teams that will get an inordinately long wait in between live starts.
Why do we need fourteen playoff teams? Is this the NHL or NBA, who have sixteen? You could have a losing record in those leagues and get a wild card, particularly in the NBA. This is supposed to “motivate” teams and keep people interested? Why not just have everyone make the playoffs and get a participation ribbon?
We made the same argument to rail against the NCAA Tournament expanding the field to 96 or beyond: the more teams that make the playoffs, the more it waters down the value of making it. There is also the possibility, like in the Big Dance, of some very lopsided early-round matchups. Yes, of course, the 98-win second seed is going to pick the 84-win team they swept in the season series. This is supposed to excite me?
But, baseball’s objective here is to manufacture drama where none should exist. “Who are the Yankees going to pick in the first round? What will the Cardinals do with their selection?” This is NOT the NFL Draft and it is NOT The Bachelor. Allowing the teams with the best regular-season records to pick their own bracket goes against everything we have ever understood in over a century of American professional sports.
Someone should tell a few of the baseball beat writers, the supposed know-it-alls of the game, that just because this is change does not mean it is good. Cutting off my left foot is a change, but does that mean it will help me? When I see articles like this one on NJ.com that regurgitates all the “drama, excitement, catering to younger fans!” talking points, it makes you never want to read sports media again. Pay close attention to those embracing these ridiculous gimmicks in baseball, as it will help you keep in mind whose opinions to ignore in the future.
Stop The Madness, And The Proposed MLB Playoff Changes
For MLB to be proposing something like this, one has to believe it is only to get people talking about the sport. You know, other than about the Astros cheating. It is telling that this gang of aging men is so out-of-touch that they think this is what it will take to bring new fans into the game. In fact, if for whatever reason this was not a ploy to change the subject from the Astros, whomever came up with this should be subject to an immediate psychatric evaluation. This is either the handiwork of a shrewd public relations operative or a criminally insane executive who should join Pete Rose on the lifetime banishment list for being a fundamental threat to the game.
The worst part is that through it all, like Roger Goodell, Manfred makes the sport money so he is safe. If the NFL proves anything, it’s that owners do not care if their product gets watered down into a less-recognizable sport. Asses going through the turnstyles are the sole objective, and they will continue to do so. Let it not be said, however, that any of these proposals seem to make the game better. They are not intended to make the game better: they are intended to make the game more easily consumable by people who do not like baseball in the first place. If you want to grow the game, shortening the games by seven minutes or having the top seed pick their opponents like on a game show is not going to do it. Using idiotic radical proposals to go after the new fans with the attention span of a gnat risks alienating the lifelong fans who fell in love with the game.