MLB Wild Card Expansion – Mo’ Money

Random thoughts admittedly have shown up here before, or on other sites where I’ve left comments.  But the time is dwindling down before it will inevitably become reality…so now I have no choice.  The time has come to dispense my venom about Major League Baseball’s plan to increase the number of teams in their post-season from eight to ten.

One of the things I always felt about Baseball’s playoffs was how very special they were, feelings directly and obviously proportionate to the lack of teams that qualified for them.  30 teams playing leisurely from April to October…with only a handful getting to advance to the very sudden, very big stage.  Drama.

The Wild Card plan which Commissioner Bud Selig is currently trying to force-feed into the 2012 Schedule  is allegedly necessary because Baseball wants to give a greater reward to its six Division winners.

Only nine Wild Card teams have even made it into the World Series since the concept gave birth in 1995.  Only four have won it all.  I’m not sure what the panic is all about.

The “obvious” solution to penalizing the Wild Card designation and hindering their advancement?  Create two more Wild Card slots.

What?

The real reason here.  Two more Wild Card slots makes Baseball lots more money.

You might be able to talk me back off the ledge if they were adding a couple more Wild Card teams and then letting them play “the existing ones” in a 3-of-5 series but no…the reason why I’m dangling so high up is because Baseball has decided after playing six months and being awarded a rare opportunity to play for a title…one additional game will now suffice for a “not-as-worthy” team to advance…to the same format we already have now.

What?

Bud is telling us the teams really, really want this.  There just isn’t enough of a premium to winning a Division title…and the variance between winning one and being a Wild Card isn’t varied enough.

But now, it is perfectly acceptable to award two additional teams the title of Wild Card team…for one day.

What?

The mission is simply that these additional post-season berths will mean more teams will hopefully be in the running until the last pitch of the regular season…and fans will continue to come out (i.e. spend more money) and support them.

There is little concern of the already-established, television-induced insanity in meandering through six months of Baseball only to then compress the all-important post-season into three weeks.  We already have had a taste of how weather and logistics affect things…and teams that fight for Wild Card or Division berths already have to adjust pitching rotations to try to qualify as it is (keeping one eye on the potential next match-up)…and now potentially will have to play multiple tie-breakers in the days after the regular season ends (ties for division titles will likely be broken now by actual games instead of head-to-head records)…then four teams will play in a “Wild Card Knockout Game” the following day…then play in a game against a Division winner…say the day after that?

Don’t forget those regular-season make-up games that might need to be played BEFORE any games noted above.

Let’s take one final swing quoting the words of World Champion Manager Tony LaRussa, one of four former/current Managers on Selig’s committee discussing all this:

 “But if you’re one of the clubs that has an opportunity to secure a Wild Card, I’ll take the disadvantage to just have a chance. I’d play a day-night doubleheader.”

Does Tony mean he’d play two different teams on the same day?  Would that doubleheader be in two different cities?  Notice he did say it would be a “day-night doubleheader.”

Separate admissions.

More money.

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16 Responses to MLB Wild Card Expansion – Mo’ Money

  1. First, let me say I’m not a fan of Bud Selig. I think he is the worst commissioner in all of professional sports. So much has gone wrong under his tenure. Yes, he will make owners more money, but at what cost to the game. I would rather see 2 expansion teams added and have 4 divisions in each league. I could go on and on, but I think you see where I’m coming from. I don’t like this idea…..unless my Cubs use it to their advantage some day to finally win a championship.

    Ron

    • Ron, seems I have been in disagreement with all the major sport commissioners lately but I will agree Bud still is holding on to my #1 ranking as the worst. I figured you were ok with anything that would generate World Champ rings for those Cubs! Before any expansion to balance out the numbers, I would first like to see a couple of these franchises relocated to better markets.

  2. chappy81 says:

    I actually like the idea. I guess if someone like Detroit was in the wild card round and had to use Verlander in that game it would obviously give the next opponent a leg up not having to face him twice in the series, but then it begs the question was the team that beat Detroit in the next round really better than them? Also, if it’s a best of 5 series wouldn’t that suck for the team on a bye. It seems like teams that sweep a series and wait never do as good as the team that just played a 7 game series…

    I say keep it the same though. What’s the big rush to change the system when they had one of the most exciting ends to a season in MLB history!?!

    • Agreed, Chappy. I am hard-pressed to understand…other than more money, which I do understand all too well…why you would mess with this after possibly the best end to a regular season in the modern era of Baseball. We already have a playoff system where teams get precious little time off between make-up games, tie-breaker games and actual series. People lament the loss of great starting pitchers. Well, with this kind of post-season schedule the great starting pitchers will likely be pitching in relief as much as starting.

  3. Blog Surface says:

    Hmm.. this is a tough one for me. It would certainly give two more teams the shot to win the title, but the current format is doable as well. No matter the format, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

    • I know a lot of cities who are happy to “have the door opened” for an alleged real chance at a title, but if these “extra” teams secure a Wild Card berth and then lose ONE game (especially if they can’t set up their best pitching order for that ONE game), is that indeed a satisfying, successful end to their season? We do agree the current format will work. Good heavens, what if one Wild Card team in a league is so obviously superior to the other but either can’t get their best starter out there…or has the ONE bad game? Imagine the screaming then.

  4. Jup says:

    Well… Bud Selig has to do SOMETHING as commissioner that, after he retires, he can look back on and not cringe about. On the cringe scale of 1-10, this is about a 1. It may be dumb, but it’s not as bad as covering up the steroid scandal.

  5. I can’t say that I have the most definitive opinion on this matter, but I agree with you that it is a money grab. My major issues with baseball remains the length of the regular season leading to the playoffs being played not in the leaves of autumn but in the coldness of winter. Freaking ridiculous and I’m not a fan of anything that would extend them closer to Turkey Day. Also the length of the games kill me 3-4 hours for a baseball game? You’ve got to be kidding me.

    I realize the accelerating the is not the easiest of thing, but heck shorten the season by dropping a few games and playing more doubleheaders. Maybe then I could accept an expanded postseason.

  6. I was appalled when I first heard of this. I thought, ‘we will never have a night like we did on the last night of the season.’ Now that I have learned more about how it will work, I am much more fond about it.

  7. sportschump says:

    Just as in any sport, or walk of life for that matter, money talks and you know what walks.

    I suppose I’m not entirely opposed to expanding the playoffs. Sure it might water the post-season down a bit but hey, the Cards won it all last year and they had no business being in the playoffs to begin with.

    Growing up a Red Sox fan, I thought the addition of a Wild Card was choice. After all, playing behind a 100-win team in the same division led to a lot of 90-win seasons and no playoffs to show for it.

    If they’re going to do this, which they are, there’s no sense complaining about it. In fact, look at the bright side, it gives us more games to watch.

    So what if they play the World Series in December.

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