Atlanta Braves Morning Chop: 5 Ways MLB Could Shake Things Up for Fans

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Oct 8, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Houston Astros players including Colby Rasmus (28) , Jose Altuve (27) and Luis Valbuena (18) celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Royals in game one of the ALDS at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

4. Playoff Changes

With extra teams and extra divisions comes the need to re-vamp the playoffs as well.  Currently, Major League Baseball has 3 division winners in each league plus 2 Wild Card teams:  10 total clubs make the post-season.

The “exclusiveness” of baseball’s playoffs is still something relatively unique, and I do not wish to see that “dumbed down” as has been done in the NFL (12 teams make the playoffs), NHL (16) and NBA (16).  While it would be nice and neat in an 8-division league to simply take the division winners, there’s no way that MLB would tolerate reducing the number of playoff clubs under such a scheme.

Thus – a quandry.  Here is my proposal, which kinda mirrors the NFL (unfortunately):

  • All 8 division winners make the playoffs, and are seeded 1-4 based on record.
  • Two Wild Card teams get in as well
  • The two top-seeded clubs in each league get a 1st-round bye.
  • The 3rd/4th-seeded clubs play the Wild Card teams in a special best-of-3 series.
  • In this “special” best-of-3, the division winners start the series ahead:  1 game to none.
  • Thus the Wild Card teams must win twice to advance; the Division winners just once.
  • Wild Card teams do not receive a home game.

After that, things proceed as you would expect:  Round 1 winners travel to the top-seeded teams to begin the ‘Divisional Playoffs’ in a best-of-7 format (I would re-seed the teams after each round).  The League Championship matchups follow – then the World Series.

It is my belief that this would strike the right balance in both rewarding the better clubs and in allowing deserving “also-rans” to have a chance to compete in the post-season.

Next: The Final Piece to Revitalizing Baseball