Can the MLB playoff expansion work in its current proposal?
Last week, news broke that Major League Baseball was considering a serious upheaval of its current playoff system.
Tony Clark, executive director of the MLB Players Association, said that “expanding the playoffs in a sensible way is something worth discussing when part of a much more comprehensive conversation about the current state of our game.”
He is correct, a sensible playoff expansion is worth discussing.
The only problem? The current proposal is ridiculous.
The proposal suggests fourteen teams: three division winners and four wild-card teams from each league with the best team receiving a first-round bye. The remaining two division winners and the best wild-card team would face the bottom three seeded wild-card teams in a best of three series. The division winners would get to pick their opponents.
An increase from the current format of 10 teams to 14 increases the playoff field by 40 percent. That dilution of the playoff field could result in an increased opportunity for smaller-market teams to get in, but it also runs the risk of hurting the playoffs in deeper rounds.
I like to look back at the NHL to make my point.