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A best of three division series?

Oct 19, 2009, 10:57 AM EDT

There’s been an awful lot of talk about extending the division series from five to seven games recently.  The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo suggests doing the opposite:

With the season getting too long, how about cutting the Division Series from five to three games and the League Championship Series from seven to five games? Teams with the best pitching would be rewarded in the Division Series because they’d be able to use their top three starters. Of course, there would always be upsets, which is fine, too . . . Baseball should not reduce its regular season from 162 games – you wouldn’t want to compromise all the numbers associated with the modern era – but tweaking the postseason might create more excitement in shorter series.

Compromising the modern era?  Assuming he means the post-deadball era, does he not realize that baseball had a 154 game season for 41 years of that period, most of which people refer to as baseball’s “Golden Age?”  No, I don’t really want to shrink the season down either — I prefer more scheduled doubleheaders — and I don’t believe that the 40s and 50s really were the Golden Age, but you can’t tell me that making a best of three playoff series is preferable to lopping off a week’s worth of games.

A best of three series would make a mockery of the first round.  If the schedule is so important, baseball would be better served by simply eliminating the first round.

  1. Brian - Oct 19, 2009 at 12:36 PM

    Rather than shorten the postseason series or lengthen the Division Series or shorten the regular season or schedule more doubleheaders, I’ve come up with a much more logical solution. Behold my postseason schedule (we’ll do 2009):
    Sunday October 4 Regular Season Ends
    Monday October 5 Day Off
    Tuesday October 6 – Saturday October 10 Division Series
    Sunday October 11 Day Off
    Monday October 12 – Sunday October 18 League Championship Series
    Monday October 19 Day Off
    Tuesday October 20 – Monday October 26 World Series
    See what I’ve done? It’s just like the regular season where you play every day with only occasional off days! This also gives Uncle Bud a schedule full of mostly weekday games.
    You know what it doesn’t do? It doesn’t reward the team with the best pitching or the best 1-2 punch. It doesn’t let a team suddenly go to a three-man rotation.
    Why not reward teams that have the most depth, the teams that made use of all 25 parts during the 162 game season?
    The only significant flaw is there really isn’t much wiggle room in the case of bad weather, but as long as I’m pushing for a more regular season-type schedule for the postseason, I think a postseason doubleheader would be completely awesome.

  2. MikeS - Oct 19, 2009 at 1:13 PM

    Double headers and the 154 game season are dead as the dodo for the same reason. The season was lengthened to allow the sale of more tickets, parking, beer and hats. A few years ago, one owner even said he needed a 162 game season to make money, couldn’t do it in a shorter season. Argue about whether they “need” it all you like, they want it, they got it, they’re not going to give it up.

  3. Will - Oct 19, 2009 at 1:48 PM

    I like the way Brian thinks. Look at this chart , and note the comparatively huge number of off days during the post season compared to the regular season.

  4. Will - Oct 19, 2009 at 1:50 PM

    Never mind. Apparently NBC hates the internet.

  5. Crash - Oct 19, 2009 at 3:47 PM

    Brian has many good points. I agree with much of what he says. Shorten the season to 154 games (get rid of interleague play while you are at it). Season ends, Day off. Division series start (travel day can used for East/West Coast or West/East Coast travel). After second Division Series is done, day off. Five game LCS (travel day for East/West Coast or West Coast/East Coast travel). After second series is finished, day off. Start 7 game World Series (with same travel). Games can only be played at home team normal playing time. For the first home game of each series, the home team announcers do the games.

  6. Corey Kendall - Oct 19, 2009 at 7:45 PM

    I like the idea of a Best-Of-Three Division Series, but the LCS should remain a Best-Of-7 series. Plain & simple. I’d be OK with shortening the regular season if it came to that eventually. I like things they way they are though myself.

  7. Jenn - Oct 20, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    The only reason that baseball practically stretches into November is because they drag the DS and the LCS out for TV ratings. There are way too many off days during the playoffs and it is no longer representative of the way teams play in the regular season. Also, if the DS for a league is finished ahead of the scheduled 5 games, why not start the LCS for that league early. Waiting 5 or 6 days (like the Angels and Yankees did) between DS and LCS is a waste of a fans time.

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