Posted on: April 22, 2011 10:49 am

A vote, again, for a wild-card play-in game

No need to make this a long argument. I've made it before, and so have others.

But with Bud Selig saying again that he expects expanded playoffs in 2012, here's hoping (again) that baseball goes with a one-game play-in between the two wild-card teams in each league.

The benefits:

-- Is there anything more exciting than one game, winner-take-all? Think Game 7, but also think Tigers-Twins 2009, or Twins-White Sox 2008, or Padres-Rockies 2007.

-- By making it one game, win-or-go-home for the wild cards, you put a real premium on winning the division. You make the 162-game schedule more meaningful, and avoid what happened last September in the American League East, where the Yankees and Rays were both basically assured of making the playoffs, and didn't really care whether they won the division or not.

-- By making it one game, you give the division winners a short break (not too long), and you force the wild-card teams to use their best available pitchers to try to win that game. You put the wild-card teams at a real disadvantage in the Division Series and, again, make the 162-game schedule more meaningful by rewarding division winners.

The argument against:

Baseball isn't about one game, and after playing 162, you shouldn't face elimination in a single game.

Fine. Win your division, and you don't face a one-game playoff.

Category: MLB
Posted on: January 11, 2011 11:48 am

A vote (again) for one wild wild-card day

I see that Bud Selig says it's too late to change the playoff system for 2011.

That's fine, because maybe that means that by the time they do change it (don't be surprised if it happens by 2012), the powers that be will understand that the best option is one extra wild-card team per league, with a one-game all-or-nothing playoff between the two wild cards.

The benefits have been pointed out before, by me and by others. A quick recap:

-- It makes September more meaningful, first because more teams would remain in contention and secondly (and just as importantly) because winning the division would be more important.

-- It gives the division winners a clear advantage, because the wild-card winner will have had to play an extra game, and used up more pitching.

-- It gives baseball a day of great theater to kick off the playoff month. Think of White Sox-Twins to decide the AL Central in 2008, and Tigers-Twins to decide the Central a year later, and think of drama like that every year.

General managers have suggested a best-of-3 series between the two wild-card teams, because they don't like the idea of making the playoffs in a 162-game season and then facing elimination in one game. The easy answer to that is, "Fine, win the division and you won't face it."

And now the argument continues, for another year.

Category: MLB
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