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 #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site. We discuss his experience at the MLB game at Field of Dreams; his thoughts on the appeal of the Field of Dreams, and baseball in general.
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Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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