Oct 7, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe (5) celebrates defeating the Atlanta Braves 3-2 in game four of the National League divisional series at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A Better MLB Playoffs


As the World Series is winding down this week I’m reminded that I don’t like the way baseball crowns its champion. Call me crazy, but I’ve never been a fan. Of course, being a Braves fan has undoubtedly contributed to this ilk, but I don’t believe the best team wins every year and I have a playoff system that is better.

(I know this will never happen – but this is October 30th and Braves players are currently apple picking and going to pumpkin patches so it’s just something to read/ponder/debate.)

To me, baseball is a marathon, however,  it’s champion is determined in a sprint. It would be one thing to play a 7-game World Series if it were like the old days when both leagues sent their best team and there were no LCS or Division Series. Now we’ve gotten all the way up to 10 teams and any team who is hot or has a couple of solid pitchers can slip their way into a championship. The 2006 Cardinals, who were 83-78, should have never played for a championship, let alone been the champion. The Mets were 14 games ahead of them that year….yet the Cards were able to win a 7 game NLCS, advance to the World Series where they beat a Detroit Tiger team who didn’t even win their division – but still were 12 games better than the Cardinals in the regular season.

You’re a Braves fan – you know about all the great regular seasons only to be deterred by a hot team or a series with a few bad breaks or a team with a dominant arm at the top of their game. 2012 was sickening once again when the Cardinals finished 6 full games behind the Braves over the course of a 162 game season but were able to eliminate them in one do or die game.

Here is what I propose: a MLB playoff that is an extension of the regular season into October.

Play the typical 162 game season – with only one change: play each team an equal number of times…or at least try to. 162 / 29 teams is 5.59 so you’d have to play 5 games against some teams and 6 against others.

Once the 162 game season is complete, take the top 10 teams and form a playoff schedule. 27 games in October – a round robin of 3 game series against every other team.

I’d keep the standings as they were, just drop the 20 teams that didn’t make it. So if you’re in 2nd place and 4 games back at the end of 162, you’ve got the remaining 27 games to make that up. Play it just like the regular season – use all 5 starters, 6 games per week.

If you’re in the top 5 teams at the end of 162, you get 5 home series and 4 away. To increase anticipation of the final series, I’d play #1 vs. #2 assuming they would stay that way. If the championship is decided after 24 or 25 games, just stop the playoffs.

It’s unlikely this proposal would be as exciting as the current format. In fact, I know it wouldn’t. But I do think it would create a true champion.

 

 

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  • fireboss

    Well while we’re dreaming we have two too many teams. Merge the Marlins with the Rays and let them play in Miami as an AL with Rays ownership. Loria can empty trash. Merge the A’s with the Giants and play at AT&T or Pac Bell in the NL. That gives you six games against each team . The problem is that the there isn’t time unless you do the other thing I’d want and that’s put a roof on every ball park there would be no rain outs, snow outs, split double headers to make up those games.

    Travel would be rough too so I’m thinking transporters.. Scotty!!

    • Matthew Jones

      Boss, you were part of the military, you know that travel’s never too hard. :P

      • fireboss

        I suppose we could get them space a seats in the back of a C-130 so if it breaks down they simply slide into another next to it on the ramp. My experience says the ride wouldn’t leave them ready to play. A transporter is a better answer

        • Matthew Jones

          Even better idea. Superplanes. Large enough to transport players, a whole field, and fans. I’m sure Bud Selig’s already on this. :D

  • Matthew Jones

    My thought: go back to having an even number of teams in both leagues. This may mean expansion, but I’d take that at this point (I would guess Montreal and Las Vegas). At the end of the season, take the top four teams from each league. No divisions, no wild card crap, no play-in game. 7 game series for NL/AL CS, then 9 game WS. Home field is decided for the WS by which league has the better record against the other during interleague play.

    • fireboss

      We have enough bad teams who can’t afford to get better. But your playoff idea isn’t too far from what I project happening if the “grand plan” goes its course. A 9 game WS is too long really. Seven is about the length TV can stand and competing against football MLB doesn’t want that. Everyone hates the one game sudden death crap but that’s all part of the plan..

      • Matthew Jones

        The 9 game WS really comes out of the loss of revenue by teams by dropping the NLDS. Of course, if they’d move part of the games to the day, then they wouldn’t be competing with the NFL, at least on Saturday. Of course, I think that if they went to a daytime Sunday game, they’d blow out the NFL regular season game without a problem.

        • fireboss

          They’ll just raise prices. Nine games is way too long. They can’t get the casual fan against the NFL these days and that’s the fan Fox is after. Real fans will watch at any time. It was 9 games back in 1912 I think but that was too long then and they were the only big game in town

          • Matthew Jones

            Good point on the raising the prices. Geez, it’s going up anyway every year. Only way that we got to go to so many games this year was because we got the community pack at my wife’s school (btw, GREAT deal – $40 for 4 free tickets, plus 6 BOGOs. We also got one for my parents, and used up all of them). In any case, it’ll be interesting to see if baseball keeps driving prices up. My opinion is if they do, they’re going to see a precipitous drop in attendance at games.

            That all said, with the 9 games, I just think that it would be interesting. I think if you did do that many games (which I concede probably wouldn’t happen since as you pointed out, they’d just raise prices), you would have to expand rosters to at least 30 players. Granted, I would like to see that in MLB anyway, although I doubt that Freddi G would use more than 4 guys in the bullpen all year still. I think if you did do that, you’d have to have some sort of ‘dnp – coaches’ decision’ list, though. If you didn’t, the games would end up being 5 hours because of the pitching changes!