By Ken Reed
Today, four wild card teams and their fans are celebrating that their teams made the MLB playoffs. That’s all fine and dandy but deciding which wild card teams advance based on a single game playoff, following a 162-game season, is a sad joke. The one-game playoff format makes it clear that commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB owners don’t understand what makes baseball different from football, basketball and hockey.
Baseball is a game that separates the top teams from the mediocre teams based on a six-month season played on nearly a daily basis. Five-man starting rotations, bullpen depth, and the quality of bench players who must step into the lineup when the inevitable injuries occur during the long season, determine the best teams. The World Series was designed to be a seven-game series (actually, the original World Series was a nine-game series) in order to determine the best team. The World Series shows us which team has the best starting pitching, bullpen, and bench. In a one-game playoff, one superstar pitcher can determine the outcome. A baseball season isn’t about having one superstar pitcher. It’s not like football, where the same superstar quarterback starts every game.
MLB clearly was driven by greed to expand the playoffs. More teams in the playoffs means more television revenue. Understoood. Get it. Don’t like it, but get it. But if you’re going to add teams to the playoffs, do it right, have a series. Baseball is great in seven-game playoff series. A seven-game series reveals a team’s strengths and weaknesses. It allows for managerial adjustments along the way. A five-game series dilutes that. A three-game series is worse. But each of those scenarios is superior to a one game playoff. One game to see who advances, after a 162-game season, is an abomination.
Baseball continues to sell its soul …
Fans of the losing wild-card playoff teams are going to be left to wonder, “Is that it? I emotionally invested myself in this team over 162 games, they make the playoffs, I celebrate, and then I get a one-and-done format?”
Sad, but true.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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