MLB proposal will shake up postseason


MLB commissioner Rob Manfred

By Andrew Fox, Staff Writer

Major League Baseball (MLB) has been making headlines lately. The Astros sign-stealing scandal occupied the headlines for several weeks. Also making news are the rule changes for the upcoming 2020 season. Currently, all talk is on the new proposed playoff expansion set to come into effect shortly.

With what commissioner Rob Manfred has proposed to do for the postseason, the number of teams will increase in postseason play from five teams to seven teams from each league. The wildcard games are replacing the best of three series that we currently have in place in the AL and NL Division Series. Teams are seeded with all three division winners being the top three seeds in their respective league. The remaining four teams are seeded by highest total win percentage. If there is a tie, then the winner is decided by head-to-head win percentage. This eliminates the beloved and thrilling tie-breaker games that were so enjoyable to watch.

There has been negative backlash over these proposed postseason changes. Even some prominent MLB athletes have spoken out about these changes. Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Trevor Bauer stated on twitter: “No idea who made this new playoff format proposal, but Rob is responsible for releasing it, so I’ll direct it to you, Rob Manfred. Your proposal is absurd for too many reasons to type on twitter and proves you have absolutely no clue about baseball. You’re a joke.”

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius took a less intense reaction to the proposal by stating on Twitter: “Why are we changing this loveable sport so much?” However, it isn’t just the players who are speaking out about this.

Robert Deischer from Cary, IL said: “I hate it and think that it would ruin the game. I think yes, it would create more revenue but I think it’s stupid and the game should be left alone.”

Not only does this change affect the current playoff format, but it is also more physically demanding on players. Let’s take the average player who plays roughly 120 to 130 games in a 162 game season. Under the current postseason format, you would expect to play about an extra 10 games. So the average player would end up playing 130- to 40 games. However, under the new proposal, that same player could expect to see an extra 20 games of postseason play. Thus means  the average player is now being asked to play 140 to 150 games. Even though that may not seem like much, the physical toll that it takes on your body is grueling.

However, even with all of these negatives, there still are positives that can arise from these changes. One of the most obvious positives from this change in the format is that more teams would have the chance of competing in the postseason. Now teams  either win their division, or they take one of the two wildcard spots. With the proposed changes you just need to have a decent winning percentage to make it to October. This will also allow for teams who usually never make the playoffs a chance to play and grow their fanbase. This, in turn, could generate a larger fanbase for some of the smaller market teams in the league. This larger fanbase can increase the teams’, overall revenue, allowing teams to go after big name players. Players that in the past were out of their budget. In addition to the teams benefiting from this, the league as a whole would benefit with their total revenue increasing.

This proposal not only has the potential of helping out many teams in both leagues, but it also has the potential of doing something that hasn’t happened in baseball for a while. It would make the sport more exciting for the more casual viewer. There’s no arguing that in the past decade baseball’s excitement has been on the decline. According to CBS sports these are some of the changes proposed: Seven teams from each league will make the postseason, teams with the best record get byes in the wild care round,  two of the division winners will get to pick their wild card opponents during a live broadcast.

While MLB has tried many different things to bring baseball back to the level of excitement that it once was, none of them have worked out exactly as planned. However, with the addition of the seeding pool and a live broadcast it isn’t too absurd to think that this is what baseball has been searching for to increase the excitement level of the game.