NEW YORK -- With both sides expressing support for adding two playoff teams in 2012, negotiators for baseball players and owners are considering having the new wild-card round be best-of-3 or winner-take-all.
Because longer series would push playoffs deeper into cold weather, the sides are not considering have the new first round be best-of-5 of best-of-7.
"I would say we're moving to expanding the playoffs, but there's a myriad of details to work out," Commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday at his annual meeting with the Associated Press Sports Editors. "Ten is a fair number."
Since 1995, eight of the 30 baseball teams make the playoffs. In the NFL, 12 of 32 teams make the playoffs. In the NBA and NHL, 16 of 30 advance to the postseason.
In the new format, the two wild cards in each league would meet, and the winners would advance to the following round against division winners.
Let me quote Joe Sheehan(1) from when this was brought up last year as a solution to how the Yankees & Rays didn't fight for the division title but rather relaxed and set their postseason roster:
I called this idea "unimaginably stupid" on Twitter, and trust me, I was underselling its problems. The idea is to make winning a division more valuable than winning the wild card, so much so that a team will have to try to win its division. What it effectively does, though, is make winning a bad division valuable. To use the 2010 AL season as an example, the Twins and the Rangers, both inferior to both the Yankees and Rays, would have been free to rest their regulars and set their rotations, because their divisions couldn't produce a viable challenger. Meanwhile, the Rays and Yankees would be fighting for a division title to stay out of the Coin Flip Game. Despite being objectively better teams -- both of them -- they would both be disadvantaged relative to worse teams. A system that metes out punishment and reward in inverse proportion to quality is a bad system.
Let's play it out, though. The Yankees and Rays bust their humps all month, win a few extra games, maybe 99 for the Rays, 98 for the Yankees. With a "second wild card" to play for, the Red Sox make a couple of small additions, pick up some wins in September and get to 91. One of those extra wins comes at the expense of the White Sox, who fade a bit faster, enabling the Red Sox to lock up their spot in the Coin Flip Game heading into their last series of the year.
Now, the #3 seed, the #4 seed are preparing for the playoffs, while the two best teams in the league are playing for the right to not be dropped into this unimaginably stupid Coin Flip Game against a team that, because the sixth-best team in the league is far enough behind the fifth-best, is itself resting! Moreover, after proving itself to be eight or so games better than than its divisional partner over a full season of play, the second-place team is now, after losing its run at the division title, is in little better shape than its Coin Flip opponent.
The second-best team in baseball could go from fighting for a division title and the best record in its league to a one-game playoff against a team it was miles ahead of for six months. It may sound far-fetched, but it is not that far removed from what we would have had this year had the rule been in place. It's pretty much what you would have gotten in the AL in 2005, where the Yankees and Red Sox tied for first place while the "second wild card" would have been the Indians, five games clear of the A's for the #5 seed.
(1) You should subscribe to his newsletter! $30 covers the entire year. I'm not even a big baseball fan, but I appreciate good writing and good ideas, and he's got plenty of both.
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Originally posted by JayJayDeanBest-of-three is what they should be. And since they play back-to-back games with travel in-between during the season, there's no reason they couldn't follow this schedule.
Thursday - Last day of regular season Friday - Wild Card Gm 1 Saturday - Wild Card Gm 2 Sunday - Wild Card Gm 3 if necessary Monday - Division Series #2 vs #3 seed Gm 1 Tuesday - Division Series #1 vs Wild Card winner Gm 1
Plus it rewards the #1 seed because in order for the Wild Card winner to throw their #1 starter in Game 1 it would have to be on three days rest.
Also, if they are going to do this they really need to balance the schedule.
Toronto plays 54-57 games against Yanks/Sox/Rays under the current schedule. I can see playing more games against division opponents but not as much as they do now.
(edited by BOSsportsfan34 on 22.4.11 1500) "John McCain ran for president in 2000. Why couldn't we have elected him then? When he was sane." - Lewis Black
The problem with trying to create a balanced schedule is the unbalanced divisions. What do you do with the NL Central which has 6 teams in it, or the AL West which has only 4? And those divisions are unbalanced because there are 30 MLB teams, and they don't want 15 in the AL and 15 in the NL because that would either mean more off days or much more interleague, neither of which they want. There's no perfect solution that fits all the constraints that people put on it.
Obviously the real problem is how overpowered the AL East is, and all these suggestions are just attempts to bandage over that.
Originally posted by Mr. BoffoThe problem with trying to create a balanced schedule is the unbalanced divisions. What do you do with the NL Central which has 6 teams in it, or the AL West which has only 4? And those divisions are unbalanced because there are 30 MLB teams, and they don't want 15 in the AL and 15 in the NL because that would either mean more off days or much more interleague, neither of which they want. There's no perfect solution that fits all the constraints that people put on it.
I don't think it would be that hard. If for interleague play you matched the divisions East v. East, Central v. Central, and West v. West, it would look kind of like this...
- 3 games vs. each interleague opponent would mean
AL EAST 15 interleague games leaving 147 games remaining AL CENTRAL 18 interleague games leaving 144 games remaining AL WEST 15 interleague games leaving 147 games remaining NL EAST 15 interleague games leaving 147 games remaining NL CENTRAL 15 interleague games leaving 147 games remaining NL WEST 12 interleague games leaving 150 games remaining
(And no team would get the benefit/burden of playing better or worse interleague opponents, which happens now.)
- Then if you had each American League team play the other 11 times that would make 143 games, so...
AL EAST 11 games vs. each AL opponent with 4 add'l division games (to make 147 games) AL CENTRAL 11 games vs. each AL opponent with 1 add'l division game (to make 144 games) AL WEST 11 games vs. each AL opponent with 4 add'l divison games (to make 147 games)
- The NL is a little trickier, because the NL West would have 150 games to play against 15 NL teams, meaning 10 games vs. each opponent works great. Then if the NL East and Central teams played nine games in the division and against each other...
NL EAST 9 games vs. each NL East and Central opponent plus 10 games vs. each NL West opponent plus 7 add'l games (to make 147 games) NL CENTRAL would be the same as the NL East NL WEST would play each NL opponent 10 times.
I mean, it's not PERFECT, but it wouldn't take any realignment AND the slight differences justify keeping the three-division per league format instead of a single table per league. I would think they could pull that off.
Holy fuck shit motherfucker shit. Read comics. Fuck shit shit fuck shit I sold out when I did my job. Fuck fuck fuck shit fuck. Sorry had to do it....
Revenge of the Sith = one thumb up from me. Fuck shit. I want to tittie fuck your ass. -- The Guinness. to Cerebus
Originally posted by TheBucsFan The solution is a hard salary cap. But that won't happen, so we have to go through this crap in an attempt to convince people that hey! this sport's competitive! and stuff.
Yeah, when I was reading the Sheehan piece, I was thinking that he had a good point, but if it mostly ends up hurting the big-market Eastern division teams, maybe that's not such a bad thing. (And I say this as a fan of a big-market Eastern team, albeit one who right now doesn't look like it's getting into the playoffs anytime in the next couple decades.) I'd rather not add more teams to the playoffs--heck, I'd rather end up with 8 divisions and no wild card at all. But I do like the idea of making the division title worth playing for again, so it's a mixed bag.
I will admit, though, that it doesn't seem fair to have the third-place team in a division have a chance to knock off the second-place team in the same direction in a one- or three-game playoff when the other team would still have more total wins.
Ideally, I'd love to see baseball adopt a TOTALLY fair schedule and have every team play six games (three home, three away) against every other team. The trouble is, 29 X 6 is 174, so that's an even longer regular season.
It seems baseball's traditionally shorter postseason is a bigger benefit for the sport, given that if you play virtually every day for six months, adding playoff games (where pretty much anything could happen) really waters down those six months.
If only "PLAYOFFS" weren't ingrained into the North American sport culture (except for college football), since really, after 174 games on a totally equal schedule, you'd know who the best team was and playoffs would be unnecessary. The 'World Series' concept could be retained throughout the season as an FA Cup-style competition, with the last two teams standing squaring off in October as a bonus trophy.
"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." --- Bart Giamatti, on baseball
One major problem that strikes me about doing away with divisions is the fact that teams would spend a lot more time on the opposite coast. Not only would this increase the costs of travel, but more importantly it would hurt TV ratings since you'd have east coast teams on tv at 10PM more, and west coast teams on tv at 4PM more and even sometimes at 10AM. That's aside from that fact that the small market teams in the midwest would be at even more of a disadvantage.
Originally posted by Big BadIf only "PLAYOFFS" weren't ingrained into the North American sport culture (except for college football), since really, after 174 games on a totally equal schedule, you'd know who the best team was and playoffs would be unnecessary. The 'World Series' concept could be retained throughout the season as an FA Cup-style competition, with the last two teams standing squaring off in October as a bonus trophy.
Personally, the reason I'm not interested in a regular season without a postseason has nothing to do with determining which is the best team, but rather because the race for first in the regular season can often be quite boring or anticlimactic. Obviously there have been some great regular season races in baseball, but it seems equally likely that a team will have wrapped things up going into the final week or so of the season.
Take the EPL right now: Sure, Chelsea could still win technically, but really, United has it wrapped up. And if Chelsea didn't have that game against United remaining, it would really be over. Spain's La Liga hasn't been in doubt in weeks or even months.
I just don't think there's any way a 162-game tournament that a team can win despite losing 60-plus times can be as exciting as a seven-game tournament a team is eliminated from by losing four times.
Another difference adding to the drama of European football is that second, third, and even fourth in the biggest leagues in Europe are all for a prize: entry into European Cup competition. No such prize in baseball league without playoffs.
You're right that this is all about just differences in sports culture, but I think it's about more than just the playoffs and I also don't think the US system is a bad one. It may not work for European soccer, but I don't think European soccer's methods would work in our big sports.
Hank Aaron had his career best home run season (47) in 1971, when he was 37 years old. Ted Williams hit .388 when he was 38, leading the league. Williams led the league in batting again the next season, when he was 39. How about Nolan Ryan?