The MLB playoff format stinks right now. The one game wildcard is a gimmick that needs to go. Teams battle for 162 games in the longest season of any pro sport, all to have their playoff births come down to a single game. I understand that it’s entertaining, but I think the playoff system could be greatly improved.
So here’s my proposed playoff plan:
6 teams would make the playoffs in each league. Division winners are automatically in; then the next 3 teams with the best record make up the rest of the field.
The top two seeds get a bye in round 1, while seeds 3 plays seed 6 and seed 4 plays seed 5 in a 5 game series.
In the next round, seed 1 plays the winner of the 4/5 match-up, and seed 2 plays the winner of the 3/6 match-up in a 7 game series.
The LCS and World Series would remain as a 7 game series featuring the winning teams, obviously.
If you’re having trouble visualizing this, I made a mock bracket:
Now, you may be thinking, but Wade, what about player fatigue and the pitcher’s arms? Wouldn’t this plan make the season even longer?
Under this new system, the MLB regular season would be reduced to 156 games. Right now, the maximum amount of games a team can play in a given season is 182. Under this new system, the max amount of games a team could play would be still be 182.
But Wade, wouldn’t adding two more playoff teams in each league lessen the importance of the regular season?
Teams that finish top 4 in their league would get the advantage of a 3-7 day rest while teams battle it out in the wildcard round. Thus, there is a still a very strong incentive to finish in the top 4.
The current one game wildcard system puts the winning team at a disadvantage as their ace is unable to pitch game 1 of the divisional series. A 5 game series would help keep the natural rotation of pitchers in tact, and give coaches more flexibility when choosing how to go about their rotation schedule. Not to mention that a 5 game series is a much better test of a teams skill than one 9 inning game.
Commissioner Manfred, if you’re reading this, do the right thing.