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Great: the union is cool with adding playoff teams

Oct 26, 2010, 9:37 AM EDT

bad idea jeans

I’ll take “Things to which I’m viscerally opposed for $500, Alex”

The new head of the players’ union says his members are open to adding more wild-card teams for 2012 and possibly extending the division series to a best-of-seven . . . There is sentiment among a substantial segment of the players to consider expanding the playoffs,” Weiner said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of his first World Series since replacing Donald Fehr as union head . . . “We have less teams than any other sport,” he said last month. “We certainly haven’t abused anything.”

Was anyone crying out for the Red Sox and Padres in this year’s playoffs? And that’s just if you add one wild card team. If you want to avoid a play-in thing — yay! Braves vs. Padres and yet another Yankees-Red Sox series! — you’d get the White Sox and the Cardinals. Great for White Sox and Cardinals fans, I suppose, but I think they each pretty much established over the course of 162 games that they did not earn the right to play anymore.

I’m all for making the current Division Series seven games, but  adding more teams is a horrible idea.  Less is more. Baseball’s regular season and its playoffs are better than the other sports specifically because they don’t let everyone and their fatally-flawed brothers in.

There is no competitive argument for adding playoff teams, and several against it. The only argument in favor of doing so is increased revenue.  And while everyone wants increased revenue, that, in and of itself, is no basis for doing anything worth a damn.

  1. mcsnide - Oct 26, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    There is no competitive argument for adding playoff teams, and several against it.

    You really don’t think the one-game play-in idea includes a competitive argument? It seems to me that it argues that you must try like hell to win your division. Now you may not like one-game play-ins, but I certainly think a competitive argument can be made.

    • okobojicat - Oct 26, 2010 at 9:57 AM

      No. If they weren’t good enough over 162, why are they suddenly good enough over 1? It makes no sense. If you really want to expand the playoffs at all, then let’s do 80 games and have 16 teams make the playoffs. That’s just as fair, equal and whatever as adding 1 play-in game.
      .
      This and interleague play, both piss me off and both do NO GOOD.

      • mcsnide - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:30 AM

        I’m not even sure what you’re arguing. The one-game play-in idea puts a premium on winning your division. Two wild-cards play each other in a winner-take-all game for the right to play the team with the best record in the league, while the other two division winners play each other. In one fell swoop, you’ve penalized teams that don’t win their division and rewarded teams that did (and really rewarded the team with the best record). After all, the WC winner has to play the best team in the league in a five-game series and has just used its ace to get that far, meaning he’s only available once.

        Again, I have no problem with people not wanting to add teams (one more is all I’d like to see and frankly I don’t have a problem with the current setup), but to say there’s no competitive argument simply isn’t true.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:37 AM

        In my opinion getting to the playoffs is a reward that the teams with the best records get. And the one wild card team is usually somewhere in the middle of the pack as far as playoff teams go with their final records, so it is fair and equal as it stands. I think adding teams dillutes the “reward” factor for the teams making it, and takes away from the value of having a great record at the end of the season. If you were to ever bet on Selig doing something as opposed to not, i’d pick “not” 100% of the time. In other words, don’t count on it anyway. Ain’t going to happen any time soon.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:40 AM

        Why should we put a premium on having the best record among an arbitrary sub-grouping of teams? The only way I’d be okay with a play-in is if division winners weren’t exempt from it. You don’t want to have your season come down to a game? Finish with one of the top three records in your league. Personally, I’d prefer either two division, two wild card or no division, top four teams formats, but I guess I’m weird in wanting to see the best four teams in each league, rather than the best teams of unequal subgroupings.

      • mcsnide - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:46 AM

        Actually Kevin, far from thinking you’re weird, I basically agree with you. If we’re starting from scratch, my preference would be similar to yours. Abolish divisions, play a balanced schedule, top 4 advance, all series 7-games. Sadly, I don’t see that as a possibility.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:15 AM

        Kevin, because the Arbitrary sub grouping is the only way to run mlb efficiently. Imagine the Chaos of scheduling these guys everywhere across the country all season long. It would be too much for the players to do on top of that. Theoretically it seems like a “fair” way to do it. But logistically it would fail.

      • Kevin S. - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:25 AM

        Jonny, they pretty much played a balanced schedule up until the late 90s (right around the time interleague came into play). Divisions and unbalanced schedules were an issue when travel costs and times were prohibitive. Now, it’s just not so much of an issue. A balanced AL schedule would have teams playing either twelve or thirteen games a year – that’s two home and two away series. The NL would be a little tougher, since you’re looking at ten or eleven games per opponent, but it’s still workable.

  2. Jonny 5 - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    His name is Weiner. No one will implement anything a man named Weiner Thought up. Or would they??

    http://www.sportressofblogitude.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/bud-selig.jpg

  3. BC - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Bad idea. Epic fail. First of all, if you want to avoid the play-in or something colassally disruptive, you’d have to add four playoff teams to each league. Otherwise, you end up with the top teams getting a bye and like a week off between games, which is ridiculous. Of COURSE the union is in favor of it, as are the owners – more games = more $$$.
    Can’t we just leave things the heck alone?

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:56 AM

      If four teams got in from each division, the Mutts would be a playoff team.

  4. bigharold - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    As it stands now, 8 of 30 teams make the playoffs, or slightly more than 25%. Theoretically the top 25%, which seems about right. If you are going to add to the number of playoff berths you are only increasing the chance that one day Bud Selig, or his successor will be handing the trophy for winning the WS to a .500 team. Who is favor of that? If you want to add incentive to win the division take away all or most of the home games for the wild card entrant.

    It’s not broke so why fix it?

  5. thinman61 - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    I’m all for extending the division series to best of 7, but opposed to adding more teams to the playoffs. I’d also be in favor of eliminating automatic advancement for the respective division winners, and just take the 4 teams with the best record from each league, in c onjunction with re-balancing the schedule. Yes, that very well might result in 3 playoff teams coming from the AL East some years. But if they’re 3 of the best teams in baseball, isn’t that who you want advancing to the playoffs?

  6. ThatGuy - Oct 26, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    I can see arguments from both sides, and could really care less which side would win. If your adding 1 or 2 teams, I say big deal. The Red Sox and White Sox only won 1 and 2 less games respectively than the Rangers, now the Rangers are in the World Series so its not as if they concieviably don’t have a shot. Also it would appear the West was the worst division this year, so they theoritically were playing tougher teams. The only problem I would have with more playoff teams is making the World Series that much longer. I also would like to do away with the divisions.

  7. Utley's Hair - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    No way in hell I want to see this turn into an NBA-type system, where sub-500 teams get to play on. If you stink it up in the regular season, then you have no right to be in the playoffs.

    I also don’t think rewarding teams like the Friars–who were sucking wind at the end there–for tanking at the end, but maybe a spot for the hottest +.500 team over the last two months or something similar to that? That might also make teams actually do something at the deadline and test the front office.

  8. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    Basketball playoffs are horrible b/c of that first round which has almost half the league’s teams playing and it’s a SEVEN game series now!?!?!?!?! The playoffs last from April to mid-June. LAME! Baseball, don’t make this mistake.

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 26, 2010 at 11:19 AM

      I think the NBA will move up the series if the previous ones end early enough, though.

  9. JBerardi - Oct 26, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    The problem with the wildcard is that it takes what should be the most interesting divisional race in any given year and makes it entirely meaningless. I think should be one extra wildcard team and a play-in game. There’s no need for more playoff series, but who doesn’t love game 163? I really don’t see the downside. You get more meaningful divisional races, a couple exciting games at the end of each season, and the playoffs don’t get any longer.

  10. Bochy's Head/Timmy's Bong - Oct 26, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    Here’s a good summary of the argument for the wildcard play-in game, but also note the very good rebuttal in the 5th response below it (the one by Matthew Carruth):

    http://www.fangraphs.com/community/index.php/a-better-mlb-playoff-system/

    • mcsnide - Oct 26, 2010 at 7:46 PM

      And the standard rebuttal to Matthew Carruth is simple. To get to the Divisional Round, Tampa or New York simply has to win one of two games – a 75% probability, if the teams are equal. Nobody’s holding a gun to Girardi’s head forcing him to start CC in the first game. On the other hand, Boston has only a 50% chance to reach the Divisional. So I’m not seeing his argument as being all that convincing.

  11. rabiague1986 - Oct 26, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    The system we have now is fine, not completely fair but works. You guarantee the top two records in the league getting in and an unbalanced schedule works for promoting regional rivalries.

    As far as I am concerned we should just get rid of the AL and NL, have MLB with a DH with a regidly enforced gigantic obscene anti hitter strike zone. Now to have 30 teams play each other a balanced amount of teams is a logistical nightmare. Hell get rid of game 163 too. If you can’t tell what team is better after 162 games there is something wrong upstairs. The first tiebreakers will be run differential.. That makes every game mean something. 6 five team division winners and 3 wildcards. Make all series 7 games. The link below explains it more.

    http://mysite.verizon.net/charliesballparks/bb21.htm

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