With the implementation of a new postseason format in Major League Baseball, we look at how the Atlanta Braves history could have been different.
Before 2020 the Atlanta Braves had a brutal stretch of postseason experiences losing 10 straight series in the postseason.
Obviously, they kicked that door down in 2020 by making it to the NLCS and then went even further in 2021 by winning it all.
But with the new postseason format as part of the latest CBA, I can’t help but think how this could have changed the Braves postseason history.
Here is the new postseason format:
- 12-team postseason — 6 in each league
- Top two division winners get a bye
- First-round is a best-of-three Wild Card series
- No more Game 163, tie-breakers will be decided by head-to-head
How Could Braves History Been Different with New Playoff Format
The first thing that came to mind when this format was presented was 2012. It was the last time the postseason format changed with the implementation of a one-game Wild Card, and it was definitely to the detriment of the Braves that season.
After winning 94 games in the regular season and finishing in the top Wild Card spot, the Braves were subjected to a one-game Wild Card against a team that won six fewer games.
As many of you know, some weird things happened in that game — some of it self-inflicted by the Braves with costly errors. But it shouldn’t have ended the Braves season — and it shouldn’t have been the final game for Hall of Famer Chipper Jones.
In the new format, the Braves would have had a chance to come back and win that series. That team deserved better.
You think about all those years the Braves finished with the best record and then got bounced in the first round.
In 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2013, and 2019 they would have been one of the top two seeds and would have received a bye, having a huge advantage over whatever team had to fight through the Wild Card series.
Of course, you have to look at the other side of that as well. Just last year when the Braves won the World Series, they would have been the third seed and subjected to a Wild Card series.
I don’t know that history would have played out much differently for tAtlanta — perhaps they would have won another series or two in the early 2000s.
Again, the one that always bugs me is that 2012 season with the stupid introduction of a one-game Wild Card “series.” As entertaining as that game may have been to casual fans, that’s not how baseball should be decided in October and I’m glad it’s gone.
What are your thoughts on the new postseason format, and do you think things would have played out differently in the past for the Braves with this format? Let me know in the comments below.