Tuesday, January 11, 2011
MLB Announces No Expanded Postseason for 2011
Changes to the postseason format will not occur this year. Although both Major League Baseball and the Players Association agree to adding two additional playoff teams in each league to the format, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig made the following statement about postseason expansion today:
“There continues to be fruitful talks about it, but they’re definitely off the table for this year. Really, I think that’s what we’ve been saying all along. We couldn’t expand the postseason for 2011. The schedules are already done. But we’re making good progress. (Replay) is still under discussion, but there’s nothing new.” [source: MLB Channel]
So we get a reprieve from expanded playoffs for one year, but it’s a foregone conclusion that the expansion will eventually happen. I know a lot of fans like the idea of expanding the number of teams in postseason play, but I don’t like it. With the present format of four clubs in the postseason from each league, the number works fine. It makes MLB unique from the other professional sports leagues. Those participating in post season play are overwhelmingly the majority of time the best teams. There is no watered down playoff schedule like the NBA and NHL and to some extent the NFL (i.e. 7-9 Seattle). With MLB postseason series expansion, there will be 6 participants in each league, and that’s too many. Due to inbalance in the number of teams in each league, the NL will have 38% of its teams in the postseason while the AL will have 43% of its teams qualifying.
The debate being wagered over the MLB postseason expansion is how the additional series will be played. Do the top two division winners (best records) get a “bye” in the first round? If so, take a look at the mess that scenario would cause. You will have a division winner sitting around for a week waiting for a series winner to play. So new variables enter into the postseason series. The waiting team tries to stay game ready and fresh after a long lay-off is. The two waiting clubs will have a pitching staff set up after a weeks rest. That is an incredible advantage over the winner of the wild card series. Proponents will argue that will make winning the division with a good record a vital achievement. Maybe, but I just see one team sitting too long. Baseball is meant to be played every day and those delays put teams out of their rhythm. I don’t like it. Part of the problems we presently have are the days off between games in order to accommodate TV schedules. They throw teams out of wack.
Under an expanded postseason format, the World Series will definitely be played into mid-November. As attractive as October baseball is, playing a World Series in November turns into parka ball and that often makes a series where the talent on the field is hindered by the elements. It becomes a battle of those that perform best in sub-freezing temperatures. That doesn’t work for me. Baseball is simply not a winter game. Give me an NFL game in snow flurries anytime. I love watching that, but baseball in the snow is just plain wrong. Then again there’s always this:
Ah, nevermind. Bring on Parka Ball. Thanks, Rick!