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


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.