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The Expanded Playoffs or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the wild card

Nov 18, 2011, 10:36 AM EDT

Bud Selig Reuters

I’ve been trying to process yesterday’s announcement — which we knew was coming for a long time — that a playoff team will be added in each league, possibly as soon as next season.  I’ve been against the idea for some time and, from a purely baseball perspective, I still don’t like it.  But I can’t bring myself to muster any outrage. All I can do is nod and say “Oh well. Now let’s do this new thing.”

To be clear, I do think that adding a playoff team and making a one-game playoff between the wild card winners every year is jarring and gimmicky.  It’s the polar opposite to everything a long 162-game schedule represents. It’s akin to having marathon runners stop at 26.1 miles and then decide the winner with a double-dutch competition.

But if there is any lesson to be learned from the past few years which saw multiple one-game playoffs and that bananas last night of this season, it’s OK to just go nuts sometimes. One of the things I’m learning as I get older is that not everything needs to be reconciled. You can live with some degree of sub-optimization and endure a little cognitive dissonance and the world will not end.  Yeah, that’s a potentially fatal realization for a person who’s supposed to offer sharp opinions about everything. I’ll try to make up for it when the Hall of Fame inductions are announced. But for now I’m kind of OK with it.

Besides, I am sort of cottoning to the notion that the one-game playoff — for all of its ills — does make winning the division more important. As it was, the wild card winner didn’t have much of a penalty to it. Now it does.  The fact that a 92-win wild card winner may fall victim to an 86-win wild card winner in one silly game isn’t ideal, but I don’t think the world will end either.

Ultimately, though, it makes little sense to argue against expanded playoffs from a “this will make for bad baseball” perspective.  That’s because we have to accept that this was not a bad baseball decision as such.  No one at Major League Baseball looked at this and said “yes, that will improve the game!”  It was totally about TV and hype and commercialism.  The ability to sell a winner-takes-all game with 100% certainty that it will, in fact, happen.  Even Bud Selig has admitted that baseball’s partners in the media had a lot to do with this.  He doesn’t truly believe this is an organic or wholly positive baseball development so I’m not going to waste my breath tearing such an erroneous position down.

It’s happening. It’s not ideal. But it’s not disastrous either.  We may even actually have a lot of fun with it.  So I think I’ll keep my powder dry for something else.

127 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. anotheryx - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    Best movie evah!

    • pestiesti - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM

      Collective Bargaining Agreement contents check. In them you’ll find: fifteen American League teams, fifteen National League teams, one miniature combination Russian phrase book and Bible, six division winners, two old wild card teams, two new wild card teams, one new round of playoffs, one issue of prophylactics, and one draft salary cap. Shoot, a fella’ could have a pretty good weekend in Vegas with all that stuff.

      • stex52 - Nov 18, 2011 at 5:38 PM

        Unfortunately, baseball has given up its Purity Of Essence.

  2. theonlynolan - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    Now add two teams so we don’t have interleague all year round and adopt the DH in both leagues so everyone plays by the same rules, then we’ll be all set.

    • drmonkeyarmy - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      Whoa, whoa…back up. DH in both leagues? No way.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:22 AM

        I know you guys are against it, but it’ll happen. With all the interleague going on, there’s going to have to be some uniformity in the rules, and no DH = loss of jobs and no way the MLBPA allows that.

      • dan1111 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:28 AM

        Church, I hope you’re wrong, but you have a point.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:51 AM

        I can’t support that idea. Not by a long shot. You know what else DH stands for right?

      • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:53 AM

        Dwight Howa…. nope.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:58 AM

        Man, Kevin, you were on the right track, closer than you think. Hint, it’s used as an adjective more than it is as a noun.

      • paperlions - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        No DH most certainly does not = loss of jobs. There are 25 men on a roster regardless. Teams don’t even spend a lot of money on the DH anymore, so the MLBPA can’t even effectively argue that it negatively affects salaries.

        Most teams (about 28) have budgets, and money spent on the DH is just not spent on other players….so all the DH does salary-wise is shift a little bit of money from players with one skill set to players with another one.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        PL, That’s a pretty good point actually. It’s really only the loss of jobs to people who aren’t fully functioning baseball players. Wait a minute, The Union will so be against that, if I know unions anyway…..Don’t they exist specifically to ensure unworthy workers are gainfully employed?

      • cur68 - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:08 PM

        I like the 2 different rules for the leagues. Its tradition that it be so [I know, I know, tradition isn't a logical argument for anything much, but someone's gotta hold that torch now that 'cepts is gone (again)]. It adds a dimension of challenge to interleague play plus the comedy of watching pitchers bat, and gives AL pitchers almost as good a guaranteed out as Adam Dunn. It is one of the many endearing things that we fans, and HBTers in particular, can argue about and flex our sparring muscles over that isn’t really a lightening rod for “Nazi” comments. It is cake (DH) vs pie (no-DH). You can’t do away that…..

      • paperlions - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:13 PM

        Did ‘cepts get kidnapped by Venezuelans?

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        Cur, you are the man. And thanks for pointing out that Pie and having no DH are far superior to Cake and having a DH. Once again you’ve outdone yourself.

      • natstowngreg - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:25 PM

        Yes, way.

        In reality, the DH q

      • natstowngreg - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:31 PM

        aaaarrrrgggghhhh. I’m gonna organize Occupy HBT and demand an edit function.

        Seems to me that any answer to the DH question may depend on how many interleague games each team will have to play. Something which, as Stark pointed out, is a ways from being decided. The more interleague games each team will have to play, the greater the urgency the owners will likely feel to go one way or the other.

    • adenzeno - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      No DH!!! but love your other thought

    • dan1111 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      Thanks for bringing this up, by the way. The DH question hasn’t been discussed enough.

    • myairyphilsphan - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:54 AM

      Go back to watching NASCAR you moron.

  3. illcomm - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    The DH should be eliminated completely.

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:03 AM

      Absolutely illcomm! Unfortunately, I can only give you one Thumbs Up.

    • Old Gator - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:53 AM

      The DH should be inscribed in a petroglyph, and then turned over to Judge Holden to chip it off and expunge it forever from the memories of mankind.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        You did it again Gator. I am not looking up “petroglyph” nor am I going to search “Judge Holden.”

    • cintiphil - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      Great! And, I see your grammer and spelling has improved.

      • cintiphil - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:14 PM

        Did you see what I did there? It should be grammar! I hope illcomm caught it.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:22 PM

        I hear you Cincy. You are needling him again huh? Now…your gonna get in another internet shouting match.

  4. umrguy42 - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    So, I was gonna make a remark about how if it had been in place this past season, you wouldn’t have had 4 make-or-break games (with three of them being nailbiters) the last night of the season, as the Cards, Braves, Rays, and Red Sox all would’ve gotten in. But then I realized – with a one game series there, although it would’ve cut it down to 2 games- you’d have those teams now controlling their own destiny directly to move on. So, some good balance there for those who claim it would take away that end of season excitement.

    On the other hand – does having a second wild card *really* help other AL teams? I mean, for the last few years, it just seems like it would put THREE AL East teams in most of the time…

    • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      Except two would play-in against each other. I’m opposed to this on the grounds that the divisions are completely arbitrary and no reward should be given for winning them. I’d support this a lot more if the third division winner had to play in instead should they finish, say, five games behind the first wild card.

  5. mashoaf - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    They should make the wild card round best of 3 or 5 games and then the rest of the rounds best of 7.

    • dan1111 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      The problem is that the playoffs are so long already.

  6. theonlynolan - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Just what I wanna see, pitchers standing at the plate waiving helplessly at pitches 4 times a game.

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      The DH is for the Junior Circuit. It always has been (and in my opinion) always will be.
      Personally, I think Baseball players should play Baseball.
      Meaning…if you lace em’ up…you hit.
      And we haven’t even discussed the additional strategy involved.
      But most importantly…at it’s core if you are a Baseball player…you should play Baseball.
      Hitting is a part of Baseball.

      • Bill - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:12 AM

        So is pitching. So then all the hitters should have to pitch, too.

      • Bryz - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:23 AM

        Brooks Kieschnick is lacing up his cleats as we speak.

      • dnc6 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:38 AM

        The incredibly flawed part of your logic is that the vast majority of pitchers barely make an attempt to swing the bat. Sure, they may stand in the vicinity of the plate, but they aren’t really “hitting” either.

        And I always love when NL people throw around “STRATEGY!”. Of course, the vast majority of them don’t bother to explain the strategy other than to suggest those AL rubes couldn’t manage to substitute two different people at the same time.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        I don’t see the correlation Bill. Pitchers…pitch. With that rationale…we should make everyone switch positions each inning.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:52 AM

        Pitchers…pitch.

        Yep. And hitters hit. Glad we’ve cleared that up.

        Who’s ready to tackle the budget deficit?

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:03 PM

        Dnc: Double Switches are only a part of it. Hit and Runs…Sacrifices…when to leave a Pitcher in…versus when to pull him…who bats prior to (and in some cases after a pitcher)…strategies (and subsequent decisions) become especially critical late in the game. There are several things that play a part in an NL game that never come to light in an AL game. If you wear a uniform (i.e. lace em’ up) you are a baseball player.
        Hitting is part of that. I also like the fact that a lot of pitchers will flat out make you work to get them out.
        A lot of AL fans would be very surprised at the number of Pitchers who are actually used to pinch hit. Sure…some Pitchers…the bat never leaves their shoulders.
        Shame on them for not taking it more seriously…and their Manager for not making it more of a focus.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:09 PM

        Kevin: Hahaha! I hear you Man. I truly do. Bill was obviously being sarcastic…with make everyone pitch thing which is ridiculous. That is why I mentioned that rationale leading us to each player switching positions after each inning.
        But your response did make me laugh. I appreciate that.

      • Bill - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:15 PM

        The correlation is that my comment and yours share the same glaring logical flaw, stlouis1baseball. “Hitting is a part of baseball” is a form of affirming the consequent: pitchers play baseball; hitting is a part of baseball; therefore, pitchers must hit. By the exact same logic, position players play baseball; pitching is a part of baseball; therefore, position players must pitch.

        Which of course is nonsense. Quarterbacks don’t usually punt, goalies don’t usually take shots on the opponent’s goal, etc. It’s just not an argument.

        I don’t get involved in DH/no-DH arguments; I don’t care which rule is adopted, I just think both leagues should adopt the same rule. But the arguments you hear most often for pitchers hitting are profoundly silly. “It’s part of the game” doesn’t do it, and the “additional strategy,” as dnc6 pointed out, is bunk. 99.9% of it is by rote: pitcher up, runner on base, less than two out? Bunt. 6th inning or later, close game? Pinch hit. It’s not really “strategy,” it’s just an arbitrarily different set of hard-and-fast rules.

      • cintiphil - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:19 PM

        It is part of the game. I would not agree with the notion that the pitchers stand there and wiff at the ball three times and strike out. Did you ever watch Zambranno (and others) at bat. He is very feared, not just because he is nuts, but he can hit. Otherwise, pitchers can do a great deal of damage with a well placed bunt, etc..

      • dnc6 - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:41 PM

        stlouis – the AL doesn’t have sacrifices or hit and runs or debates on when a pitcher needs to be pulled? Really? What league was I watching then? And who bats prior to or after a pitcher is based a lot more on that player’s ability to produce runs within the context of the rest of the lineup, not the pitcher’s spot. Do you really think NL managers are going “well this guy would be best batting after a pitcher” instead of “this guy is the best tablesetter for our big boppers”?

      • JBerardi - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:56 PM

        “Dnc: Double Switches are only a part of it. Hit and Runs…Sacrifices…”

        As a Red Sox fan, all I can think about when David Ortiz comes to the plate is how much more excited it would be if I was watching Ted Lilly try to lay down a sac bunt.

      • spudchukar - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:06 PM

        All I can think of when David Ortiz comes to the plate, is how much fun it would be watching him try to play 1B.

      • natstowngreg - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:38 PM

        With all due respect, you’re just repeating one of the biggest fallacies of the anti-DH crowd. That pitchers are baseball players.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        Thanks, stlouis1baseball. ‘Twas an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:08 PM

        Did you ever watch Zambranno (and others) at bat. He is very feared, not just because he is nuts, but he can hit

        Wait, the Carlos Zambrano who’s a career .241/.251/.395 hitter with 10 walks to 232 strikeouts? Why is this guy feared? It’s obvious if he gets the bat on the ball he might be able to hit it out, but why throw him anything he can square up?

  7. philsieg - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    I’ve long since given up at being outraged at Bud’s gimmickry machinations. The idea of long season was wounded in 1969, but generally persisted. The idea left forever in 1995. Three divisions, radically unbalanced schedules, interleague play, “This time it counts” – this is just one more nail in the coffin of regular season relevancy. Second-place teams playing for championships has become commonplace. In 2013 we’ll have interleague play every day and at some point soon after that the DH will become universal. Then we’ll have NFL-style weighted schedules to make things “fairer” for last season’s have-nots.

    The beauty of the game itself remains in everyday matchups and individual plays. But if I want to find the uniqueness that baseball once demonstrated by demanding excellence of play over a long season, it’s only to be found in the highlight reels of seasons long past.

  8. crankyfrankie - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    I concur. The idea of penalizing the wild card teams and rewarding division winners is good. The idea that the majors will expand and we’ll have two 16 teams league is a big nonstarter. The fact that NL teams will be penalized for not carrying dead weight, a DH, when they play their inter-league games will be balanced out by AL pitchers having to hit. The DH remains detestable but if this is the trade off for labor peace it is acceptable.

  9. phukyouk - Nov 18, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    It is now only a matter of time before a sub 500 team makes the playoffs/WS due to a good couple weeks. I am so against this. I would have much preferred that they just expanded the first round to best of 7, i mean it accomplishes the same thing as far as money goes. How long till Bud is dea…. umm… retired?

    • Francisco (FC) - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      I’m pretty sure the owners and media had a big say in this. I doubt Bud can make decisions like this unilaterally. If he approved you can bet all the baseball owners were for chomping at the bit. So we should likely spread the gasoline to include the other people in on the decision. Selig is the mouthpiece, but there’s a smoke filled room behind the door he came out of when he made his press conference.

      • phukyouk - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        FC- Of course they did… they just want more and more $$$. the way half of them see it is ” hey its another Gate Cha-Ching! ” the other half figure ” its another gate and i have a shot at making best of 5 for even more money even though my team sucks some serious balls”

        this has been run by greeed from the minute they mentioned it, but so has all of modern day sports. Sadly all Sports are more about $$$ and less about the Sport itself. Doesn’t make it any less Buds fault.As the leader he should be against this

      • natstowngreg - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        Agree, but think it unfair to protray Bud as just a mouthpiece. in the smoke-filled room, Bud is the one responsible for getting the 30 owners together. For better or worse.

    • bravojawja - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      I’m no math major, but I bet it’s on the verge of mathematically impossible for this to happen any more with two wildcards than with the one we have now. I can see a division winner with a losing record (didn’t that sort of almost happen recently?), but not a second wild card.

      • phukyouk - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:25 AM

        a bunch of years ago the Padres won the NL West with an 82-80 record.

        If the Phils win their division with 96 Wins
        The Cards win their Division with 91 Wins
        The Dback win with 90 Wins
        the Braves come in to WC1 with 86 Wins
        the Giants WC2 with 83 wins..

        not too far off… all i am saying is that it is becoming more and more possible for this to happen

      • bigxrob - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        When was the last time there were only 4 teams in a given league with winning records?

      • Detroit Michael - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:40 AM

        When the 1994 season ended premature, the first place team in the AL West was 10 games under .500. Now there it no longer is a four-team division, that is less likely to happen.

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1994.shtml

      • bigxrob - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:45 AM

        But if a team wins a division with a losing record, they make the playoffs regardless of the number of wild card qualifiers.

  10. thefalcon123 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    1. Better idea…ditch the wildcard altogether, best record is automatically in LCS, two other division winners play one game playoff

    2. Ditch the wild card, best record automatically in LCS, other division winnings play best of 5 series.

    3. Make it 1969-1993 again.

    4. Keep it as is.

    5. Any other solution than this.

  11. rbkahn - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    I figured you’d find some way to be a 2 WC team apologist

  12. theonlynolan - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    I’ll never understand why people would rather see a pitcher with a career batting average of .071 try to hit a baseball rather than a Jim Thome/Frank Thomas/David Ortiz type mash baseballs.

    • thefalcon123 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      Because one of the things I love about baseball is that everyone (except the DH and AL Pitcher) have to play both sides of the field. The DH just feels cheap and it was a solution to a problem that has long since been solved (low offense in the AL).

      That being said, giving guys like Thomas and Thome a few more years to slug the ball is definitely an upside to it.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:12 PM

        Dead on Falcon.

    • cintiphil - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      Because that is how the game was devised, and for over 100 years, it was played (well) that way. No reason to change it.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:09 PM

        Do we really need to run down the litany of ways the game has changed (for the better) since it was founded?

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 18, 2011 at 7:42 PM

        OK, the game has survived, though not necessarily always been improved by, such changes as: the switch to overhand pitching; the number of balls and strikes; the use of gloves by fielders and later, batters; racial segregation and later, reintegration (yay!); electric lights and night baseball; batting helmets; airplane travel; the DH; pre-World Series playoffs; artificial turf (mostly gone now, yay); roofs over ball parks; performance enhancing drugs (boooo); limited use of replays on home run calls; and on and on. And yet, “purists” insist we never ever expand replay use to help fallible umpires get more calls right, such as safe or out, because thus improving the integrity of games’ outcomes would somehow ruin the sport. Sigh.

  13. theonlynolan - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    Saying baseball players are baseball players and lace em up and be ready to hit is silly. Nobody expects Tom Brady to return punts or cover

    • bravojawja - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      No, but watching him trotting after a cornerback running back a pick-6 ain’t no picnic, either. Wait – I take that back. I *love* watching Brady wave at a cornerback running back a pick-6. It’s awesome!

    • bigxrob - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:26 AM

      Baseball>Football

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      But that is ridiculous Nolan. You are comparing the greatest sport every invented to Football.
      I am a huge Football fan. But I absolutely love Baseball. To the point of annoying a great deal of my friends and family with it. LOL! As Big Rob said Baseball>Football.
      I think you are either a Baseball player…or your not. I hate to simplify it like that but there is no other way to state it. You field. You throw. You Hit.

      • natstowngreg - Nov 18, 2011 at 6:57 PM

        Pitchers being baseball players — wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, …
        Baseball > Football — right, right, right, right, …

  14. theonlynolan - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    …wide receivers

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      …long snappers

    • cintiphil - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      Stop comparing apples to oranges. IT IS A DIFFERENT GAME! GET IT!

  15. lpd1964 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Just what I wanna see, pitchers standing at the plate waiving helplessly at pitches 4 times a game.

    Just what I want to see, old out of shape players trying to hang on and fatten their stats by ONLY batting four times a game!! Banish the DH immediately.

  16. poprox13 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    I’ve thought about it and still think its stupid.

  17. thomas2727 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    I prefer Dr. Strangebud

  18. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    The fact that a 92-win wild card winner may fall victim to an 86-win wild card winner in one silly game isn’t ideal, but I don’t think the world will end either.

    But what if we go to the extremes, say 2001 for instance? In ’01, the A’s at 102-60 was the WC winner. Not only were they the WC winner, they finished 6 games ahead of the Yankees (AL E Champion) and 9 games ahead of the Indians as AL C Champion.

    If the new rules were in place back then, they would have had to play the Twins in a WC playin game (series, whatever). The Twins, who finished 17 games behind the A’s.

    • bigxrob - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM

      Just another oppurtunity for Selig to stick it to Oakland.

  19. theonlynolan - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    Ipd1964 that argument makes no sense. They may be fat and out of shape but they can still hit. Vlad Guerrero is obviously past his prime but it’s still fun watching him hit a baseball off his shoetops. The point is pitchers can hit so why send them to the plate. Fewer ABs for pitchers means fewer sac bunts and fewer relief pitchers being used. That sounds good to me.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:43 AM

      Different strokes for different folks. And the last straw is somebody forcing his stroke on the rest of the folks.

      It’s great to know you love the DH. Good for you. I abhor the DH. Can’t stand it. It’s one reason why AL games– including interleague games played in AL ballparks– put me to frigging sleep.

      You don’t need to understand. I’m not trying to change your opinion.

      • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:49 AM

        I’m trying to understand how the DH helps put you to sleep. The DH means A) better hitter/pitcher matchups and B) better pitchers remain in the game longer. No DH means watching inferior hitters wave and excessive pitching changes.

      • theonlynolan - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:56 AM

        I’m not trying to force my ideas on anyone. I’m simply have a baseball discussion weighing both sides of the DH issue. There’s no reason to get defensive. I just don’t understand the benefit of having pitchers hit when they clearly are not capable of doing so and for the most part show no interest in trying.

    • paperlions - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      I LOVE the DH, we should expand the DH role to MIF….who wants to see a helpless SS or 2B wave a bat trying to get a lucky bloop or 27 hopper through the IF? Not me. Those guys are valuable for their ability to help prevent runs (just like pitchers) and no one wants to see them hit.

      Actually, same goes for catchers, 90% of them can’t hit either. So I say we 4 DH per team.

      Ah, screw it. Let’s have a lineup of hitters and a totally different group of people hit, that way hitters don’t have to bother learning another skill and neither to fielders. Yep, that’s the way I want it.

      • paperlions - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:51 PM

        Damn, ruined my own sarcastic rant….should have been “…a totally different group of people play the field”

      • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:16 PM

        Typically, catchers (the worst hitters) have an average OPS+ around 90, while first basemen (the best hitters) have an average OPS+ around 120. Pitchers have an average OPS+ around 0. There’s no slippery slope, there’s a chasm.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 4:20 PM

        Yeah…what Paper said.

  20. uyf1950 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    What I object to about the “play in” game between the 2 wild card teams is simple. One or both of those teams could or will have a better record then a Division winner. To my way of thinking the 2 teams with the worst record should have to have the “play in” game to move on. Other then the sentimentality of having division winners move on there is no real reason why the teams with the 3 best records aren’t guaranteed to move on. Whether on not one or both of them are “wild cards”. Just my opinion.

    • bigxrob - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      I like the idea, scrap the divisions and have two 15 team leagues with the top 5 teams in each making the playoffs.
      Of course, it’s never going to happen.

      • theonlynolan - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM

        Harder to get interest for a 15th place team as opposed to one in 5th place. There’s no real difference but that’s MLBs argument.

  21. Detroit Michael - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    I like adding the second wild card team because it adds more meaning to the regular season. Now teams will care whether they win the division or not. Under the current set-up, if there are two very good teams in the same division, there is no meaningful regular season competition during September because both games are assured of making the playoffs and the incentive to win the division versus taking the wild card is too small to matter.

    If a 92 win wild card team loses to an 86 win wild card team, my attitude will be “too bad: you should have won your division if you wanted to be assured of a significant chance of getting to the World Series.”

    The one-game format, if that’s what is decided, should allow us to quickly move on to the real playoffs. Don’t let the better teams sit around for a prolonged period.

    • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      Except this year, when there was incredible drama that would have been ruined by this proposal because they’d all have been playing on Thursday anyway. You can always throw out a what-if scenario that means less drama. This proposal would have ruined the final week, week and a half of the regular season in exchange for the manufactured drama of one day.

      • bigxrob - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:16 PM

        Bu this year, it would have given us 1 more day to watch the Red Sox and Braves implode.

    • paperlions - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:53 PM

      It actually takes meaning away from the regular season….every time you add a playoff spot, that is what it does….all this does is penalize teams in good divisions.

  22. Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    More baseball you say?

    WIN!

    • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      I am still waiting on the “DH” accronym thing Jonny. Cough it up.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:43 PM

        Hint: It has an eye but can’t see.

      • paperlions - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        Richard Edward?

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:19 PM

        No, no. But hanging around with nuts all day is something they have in common… Getting warmer…

      • paperlions - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:33 PM

        A friend of mine always claimed he wanted to name his kid Richard Edward so he could call him Dick Ed. I asked his wife is he ever suggested the name to her. He didn’t. Wuss.

      • phukyouk - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:39 PM

        D*ckead?

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:02 PM

        Ding Ding! Funny, that’s what my son calls his.

      • stlouis1baseball - Nov 18, 2011 at 4:22 PM

        Richard Cranium!

  23. John Wright - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Not only is there an increased emphasis on winning your division, but also an increased emphasis on having your league’s best record. Who wouldn’t want to be the team that goes into the LDS facing a wild card team that has just burned its ace pitcher? As long as they don’t put a 3–4 day break between the play-in games and the LDS, this could be a huge boost for the best overall team’s chances of making it to the LCS.

    Having said that, I still prefer the realignment plan I outlined here:

    http://jfwiii.net/2011/08/01/mlb-realignment-on-freakonomics/

  24. leftywildcat - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    The non-DH game is more stategy for both teams. Phils-Cards post-season this year: Close game, 6th inning, Phils have 8-hole hitter coming up with 1st base open. Cards walk #8 hitter to get Phils to bring pinch-hitter to plate. Otherwise, Hamels could have pitched another inning. What’s not to like about the non-DH game?

    • Kevin S. - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:31 PM

      Except that’s not strategy, that’s automatic. There’s little strategy involved when one hitter is significantly worse than the next.

  25. JBerardi - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    The DH is good, the extra wild card is bad, I’m right, you’re wrong, the end.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:21 PM

      So let me get this straight, you are for less baseball, and lesser skilled players, playing the game? Huh?

      • JBerardi - Nov 18, 2011 at 1:49 PM

        Yeah, pitchers hitting is a real display of “skill”.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:09 PM

        Man, they play offense and defense, or at least try to anyway… Switching out players every inning is weak man. Once you take a man out he needs to stay out. You did get me on the whole “skill” thing though. nice job. ;>P

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