Major League Baseball comissioner Bud Selig was recently in Chicago and he touched on several topics that the MLB will look at heading into this off-season. The biggest of all topics he mentioned, was possibly expanding the number of teams that are eligible for playing in the postseason. Of all main stream proffesional Sports MLB has the lowest amount of postseason eligible teams with 8 all together. Compared to other sports such as the NBA with 16, and the NFL with 12. So, would expaning the amount of teams eligible for the postseason increase competition, or just make the postseason that much mediocre?
To be honest, Major League Baseball will be better off keeping the playoff teams at 8. By having such a low number of eligible teams, this puts competition at it’s highest pique among MLB teams. For instance look at this weekend, we have three teams in the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants that are fighting for only two spots. In fact such a scenario could play out where we would have a one game playoff on monday to determine the National League West divisional winner, and then the loser of that game would play in another one game playoff with the Atlanta Braves to determine the winner of the National League Wildcard. However, if the number of postseason teams were to be increased then the end of the regular season would certainly lack some excitement.
Besides, expanding the amount of teams in the postseason would only eliminate the competition aspect of the postseason, and be victim of the same mediocrity that the NBA playoffs have fallen victim too. To specify, of the 8 postseason teams all of them have records that are above .500. If we were to expand the amount of teams to 16, where we would have 8 and 8 in each league then it would not be the same story. In the American league we would have at the most one team and that is the Oakland Athletics,if they lose today, who are 80-81. Supposed to the National League where we would have one team, which would be the Florida Marlins at 79-82.
It doesn’t make much sense that if you are honoring the elite teams of the season and you have more than one team in the postseason that has a record below .500. Besides, most of the bottom tier of the “expanded” playoff teams would probably be eliminated right away by the top tier of teams.
Major League Baseball already does not do the television rating they would like for the postseason. By expanding the teams, they wouldn’t be making it much better, as more people still would be focused on other sports such as the NFL. If they want to make the postseason more competitive they should decrease the length of the Championship series to 5 instead of 7. Doing so would shorten an already long postseason, and increase competition between the teams. As we stand today, Major League Baseball is doing the right thing by only having 8 teams that are eligible for the postseason.