MLB's Horrible Playoff Idea

Major League Baseball has had itself an offseason.

Jim Rome
February 11, 2020 - 11:59 am
Rob Manfred

USA Today

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Major League Baseball has had itself an offseason. There are the multiple cheating scandals, the three managers who’ve lost their jobs because of it, the discussions about eliminating 42 minor league teams, and more.

At this point, Commissioner Rob Manfred had to be hoping to just get to today when pitchers and catchers start reporting without another ugly story dropping. And he almost did.

But then came this report from Joel Sherman at the New York Post: “MLB is seriously weighing a move from five to seven playoff teams in each league beginning in 2022, The Post has learned.”

I’m sorry, what? That can’t be serious, right? Because that would mean 14 playoff teams. In a 30 team sport. Nearly half the sport getting in. So the obvious question, is more, better. I’ll handle that one. No. Hell no. 

That would’ve meant that the 84-78 Red Sox would have made the playoffs last year. And the 78-win Rangers were just on the outside. 

That is, to quote Philip Rivers, horse mess.

And in 2017, it would’ve been even worse. Only five AL teams that season had winning records. Which means that two sub-500 teams would’ve been in the playoffs. If an 80-win team actually won the World Series, did they actually win the World Series? Would you really consider them the best team in baseball?

The end of the regular season and the wild card round are one of the few things that MLB gets right. So of course they’re looking to mess with it. The final week or two of the regular season, when multiple good teams are battling for the division and those two wild card spots is electric. 

And their answer is to make it worse by expanding the field. Their answer is to just water the thing down completely. So Instead of really good teams battling for really valuable spots, you have mediocre teams battling to extend mediocre seasons. 

I thought the entire argument behind MLB’s long season was to punish mediocrity, not reward it with a playoff spot. 

Did any of the Red Sox players or fans really want to extend last season? Has anyone ever looked at a 78-win team in September and said, damn, this is not a team you want to run into in the playoffs.  No. Actually, that’s exactly the type of team you want to run into in the postseason: who wouldn’t want to play a bad team and get what amounts to a bye in the first round of the playoffs?

Great idea, major league baseball. Who the hell comes up with this crap? And why do they do it. No, not because it’s the same reason anyone does anything, they can; no, they’re not doing it because they can; they’re doing it because of television. And money.  Of course. 

Because as always, you can never be thin or rich enough, or in the case of baseball and its owners, rich enough: and they want more. A couple of their TV deals end after next season and the owners want to stack a few more private jets and vacation homes, errrrr, give the fans what they want.  Except no one wants it; and no one is asking for it.  14 teams? 

Why stop at 14? Why not go to 16. Better yet, why not just put all 30 teams in.  Again, more is better, right, rob Manfred.  

Hey, people really like March Madness, let’s have October Madness. Let’s promote a few Triple-A teams at the end of the season and have a 64 team tournament like college basketball.  Maybe even some whack play in game with a high school team or two. 

And if you think that adding four more teams to the playoffs is the only bad part of this, you’ve got another thing coming. Because there are layers to this horse mess. It’s like a horse mess tiramisu.

As Joel Sherman writes: “In this concept, the team with the best record in each league would receive a bye to avoid the wild-card round and go directly to the Division Series. The two other division winners and the wild card with the next best record would each host all three games in a best-of-three wild-card round. So the bottom three wild cards would have no first-round home games.”

Got that? Best record in each league advances to the Division series. The other six teams in each league would play in a three-game wild card round, hosted by the two division winners and the wild card team with the best record. 

And now it’s about to get idiotic. Because “The division winner with the second-best record in a league would then get the first pick of its opponent from those lower three wild cards, then the other division winner would pick, leaving the last two wild cards to play each other.”

Teams wouldn’t be seeded in the wild card round, the team with the best record would pick who they want to play. And if that didn’t already make them gimmicky bitches ever, this undoubtedly would:

“The plan is to have this all play out on a show on the Sunday night the regular season ends and have representatives picking teams on live TV — think the NCAA selection show, but just with the teams making the selections.” 

To quote the legendary John McEnroe: YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!! Is THIS MLB or the XFL? Picking your playoff opponent on live television, like a reality show?!? Are you kidding me WITH THAT? YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!!

The “this time it counts” ALL STAR GAME can’t believe what a hideous gimmick that is. Guys banging on trash cans can’t believe how embarrassing that is. 

That is so desperate, SO GIMMICKY, SO LAME…THE WORST KIND OF LOOK AT ME, PUB GRAB EVER. Manfred’s like damn, we have to find a way to get the average age of our fan under 98: how do we appeal to the under 80 crowd: can we just broadcast all our games on snapchat: And then just turn it into the stupidest reality show since the bachelor…

And if this is the idea that’s being floated, what were the ideas they rejected? If people actually signed off on a reality show draft of playoff teams, what were the ideas they thought were too stupid?

Because I’m not sure there’s anything dumber than having the Yankees go on television to decide whether they going to play Tampa, Cleveland, or Boston. 

Why stop there? Why not go sausage race to determine who gets in?

Have the Yankees and Red Sox play duck-duck-goose for home field. 

Or see who can throw the ball the furthest and that teams gets into the playoffs.  

Or do that sandlot thing where one guy from each team keeps putting their hand on the bat and they go all the way up the handle until you decide who wins? 

When I first saw that plan, I thought that adding four more teams to the playoffs was the worst idea ever. Until I got to the part about picking opponents on live television. Gimmicky little bitches. Stop trolling us, and wasting our time. And take us back to a kinder, gentler time, when half the sport was roided out of its mind, and guys were swinging out their ass and reversing high heat 900 feet. Even that would be better than this bullcrap. Much, much better.