In the 2020 COVID shortened season Major League Baseball made the executive decision to expand their postseason format. With a 60 game season, MLB management decided it was in the best interest of the sport to expand the playoff format.
A major reason as to why MLB decided to expand the playoffs in 2020 was due to the lower number of games. Their thought was since the teams have a lower number of games to play, the standings and outcomes will eventually sort out come playoff time.
This season however in 2021 is not a shortened season, and yet MLB finds themselves in what could be quite the scenario in the wild card race. The best option for baseball is to expand their playoff format for the long-term future and allow other teams to get a taste of playoff baseball.
It will end potential tiebreaker scenarios
Currently, in the American League, there are five teams still fighting for two wild card positions. If the chips fall in a mysterious way, MLB could be facing a tiebreaker situation that can only bring headaches to management.
While this particular scenario doesn’t happen every season, there usually is a tight battle for the two lone wild card spots late in the season in one if not both leagues in Major League Baseball. A change that could ultimately end any craziness to tiebreaker scenarios and potential World Series caliber teams missing playoffs would be an expansion of the MLB playoffs.
Expanded Playoff Plan
The MLB got it right when they set out their proposal for the playoff expansion in 2020. It allowed many teams to get involved in playoff baseball and also kept many teams from “selling” their team early because they were still in the hunt. This format could work and help build the sport of baseball.
The format would be a 16 team playoff format. The top two teams in each division would make playoffs, as well as the two remaining “wild card” teams. Each league would have eight-team playoffs.
Each division winner would be a top-three seed in their playoffs and the final 5 teams would be sorted out accordingly by records. To save on travel and the potential of major upsets the first round could be a best of three series all at the home team’s field.
The division series would be a best of five where the locations would split in a 2-2-1 format. Once the time gets to the league championship series and world series, all series would be a split 2-2-1-1-1 seven-game series.
It is no surprise that the MLB has declined in popularity with the younger generations. The younger fans love things that matter. If the MLB can create season-long storylines throughout their league, fans of all ages can be interested throughout the Summer.
This expanded playoff format would ultimately create more parody amongst the MLB teams and create season-long interest amongst fans. Teams that normally would be out of the race around the trade deadline may find themselves right in the middle of a playoff hunt with an expanded playoff format. Who knows, with an expanded playoff format, a miracle cinderella story could come about with a team no one expected to win it all.