Should Baseball Add More Playoff Teams?
In my last sports related post, before my two month hiatus, I would like to discuss and lobby for a very important change that could help the game of baseball, and win back some fans.
Throughout the years, baseball is getting less and less popular. You could blame the long nine innings, you could blame the lag in between pitches and batters, you can blame the millions of TV breaks, or you can blame the fact that baseball is a non-contact sport (besides home plate collisions), and not many players are involved in every play.
One thing that can make baseball better and more interesting, would be to allow more teams into the postseason. While the NFL allows six from every conference, and the NHL and NBA allow eight, the MLB only allows four teams from each conference to play in the postseason.
With talent at an all time high, it is vital that we see more stars playing in October. A big reason why people don't watch baseball, is because once their team is eliminated, they don't really care. Let's say the MLB copied the NFL format, and allowed two more teams to play. That means it isn't like the NBA where some OK teams make the playoffs, but the deserving teams like the NFL wild card teams do make it.
If you look at the current MLB standings today, there are 16 teams in the league with winning records. That is more than have of the league. Too bad only half of the 16 teams will play in the postseason. In the AL East where the Yankees and Red Sox have dominated for the past decade, it makes it tough for a young and emerging team like the Tampa Bay Rays to make the playoffs.
What about in the NL East with the Phillies, Mets, Nationals, Braves, AND Marlins all having teams with star power and a bright future.
In the NL Central you have the Brewers, Cardinals, Reds, and usually the Cubs all fighting for one playoff spot, and out west you have the World Series winning Giants, along with the Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers who have all been in the playoffs in the last five years. Sorry Padres, but after losing Adrian Gonzalez you guys have no talent.
Back in the AL Central, the Tigers, Twins, and White Sox are always battling, and this year you have the Indians back in the race. In the AL West it's always a toss up with the Rangers advancing to the World Series last year, and also the A's, Angels, and Mariners competing.
The point is, there are way too many talented teams in the league in this day and age, who are not playing in the playoffs. The MLB doesn't need to expand to eight teams like the NHL and NBA, but six teams per conference would be a thing I would like to see.
Also, with more teams in the playoffs, it makes it less likely for a super team to form. With more possibilities to make it to the offseason, players will be more loyal to their teams, and teams will be more fair to their managers.
Baseball used to be America's past time, and if you like at the definition "Past Time" it still is. America and the World have moved on to more exciting sports, like Football, Basketball, Hockey, and Tennis. Baseball can't help the fact that it is a slow paced, non contact sport (unless they make some rule changes), but seeing your team play on TV in October could definitely help.