Yesterday, a guy named Tex, who takes large quantities of hallucinogenics, decided to throw a dart against the wall and plan the next move in the MLB Playoff structure. Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the proposed changes involve the MLB postseason expanding to 14 total teams (seven in each league) in 2022. The top seed in the National and American Leagues would get a bye, while the other division winners would host three-game sets for the Wild Card round. The two other division winners would get to draft their opponents for some reason. The winners advance.
Yuck! Now, I’m not going to sit here and act like the MLB does not already have a multitude of marketing problems. The league forces people to take videos down from the internet and social media without their express written consent. This hinders awareness spreading across young ages, while the NBA is known for how well they can market abroad and to kids/teenagers. The MLB does not allow some people to view their favorite teams because of blackout restrictions. Minor League baseball players are paid squat. Billionaire owners are incentivized to rid their teams of good players and still come home profitable. The list goes on.
That brings us to the MLB’s super-agent, Scott Boras. I think Boras is great for baseball. He gets his clients paid and he sides on the behalf of players. They need someone in their corner. I’ve written about this before, but Boras believes in an extension of the current system to combat tanking and incentivize winning for teams on the cusp of a Wild Card appearance but not necessarily a division championship. Basically, this is how it would work, using the 2019 American League playoff standings:
There would be four Wild Card teams — the Oakland A’s, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians, and the Boston Red Sox. The Indians would host the Red Sox in a one-game playoff, as is the current setup. The winner would then travel to Tampa to play the Rays in another one-game playoff. The winner of the Rays and Indians/Red Sox contest would then travel one more time to play the A’s in Oakland. THAT winner would play the top-seeded Houston Astros in the American League. If that’s too confusing, here’s a video explaining it in further detail:
The great thing about this playoff structure is the MLB can expand with even more excitement and not extend the playoffs by more than a few days. I know one-game playoffs don’t necessarily advance the better team, but the press around them is staggering. Look at the run the Nationals went on in 2019 and tell me that wasn’t incredible. The MLB has more pressing issues to address before altering the playoff structure, but this plan would help disincentivize cheap owners from tanking without completely turning the current game on its head. It would be good for the game.