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Division winners may open on the road in expanded playoffs

Mar 2, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT

2011 World Series Game 3 -Texas Rangers v St Louis Cardinals Getty Images

One of the big sells for proponents of the expanded playoffs is that it will reward division winners by making wild card winners play in that one-game playoff.

But what expanded playoffs giveth to division winners, expanded playoffs may taketh away.  Here’s a report from Amy Nelson of SBNation:

The addition of another wild card team will create a play-in game between the two wild cards, but because the 2012 regular season schedule was made prior to this proposed addition, there may not be enough days built in for travel. Therefore, if MLB cannot find a resolution, the current 2-2-1 format would change to 2-3, with the division winners opening away from their respective home ballparks.

This would only be for this season due to the schedule jam. But really, two guaranteed home playoff games for the wild card team and only one guaranteed home game for the division winner?

Nice goin’, guys.

  1. ezthinking - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    “Cluster fuck” I believe is the technical term.

    • realgone2 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      It’ll be called the SNAFU round.

  2. yankeesgameday - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    October is 7 months away, how hard would it be to just push the start of the playoffs back one or two days to fit it in right? You’d have to do that if there was a rain out with one day notice, why can’t they address this with 7 months lead time?

    • CJ - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      thing is, they don’t want to bump things back a couple days…they’ll hide behind the excuse that ballparks get booked for other events, or some garbage like that.

      But the real reason is the day of the week these games will be on, they’ll screw the teams to make sure they get the TV money and ratings they want. Some days of the week just have better ratings potential than others. The long term fix would be either bumping up the start of the year by a day or two, or having each team bite the bullet and lose a couple off days during the year. But not even 7 months notice can turn a Friday into a Wednesday or whatever they’re going to try to do at the expense of the division winners.

  3. jimbo1949 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    I think I’ll pass on this, Bud Lite

  4. realgone2 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Is MLB that desperate for a cash grab?

    • hasbeen5 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:59 AM


    • Gonzo - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      Dont blame MLB. They already have their TV money. The blame falls on the networks showing the games. They want the playoffs to start on Saturday and Sunday, which is better than Sunday and Monday.

  5. cur68 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Well, this was a well thought out change. Bud Selig, ladies and gents! Your Commander in Chief! yay…

  6. The Dangerous Mabry - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Perhaps they’ll figure out a solution that involves adding another 10 playoff teams. That should fix it. And more playoff teams means more excitement, right?

    • realgone2 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      Astros, Pirates, Royals………oh my.

      • nategearhart - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        It is no longer acceptable to lump the Royals with the Astros and Pirates.

    • jimbo1949 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      Charlie Manuel concurs, “You shouldn’t get nothing for second or third.”

      • mirmz - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        “And that’s the kind of thing that can’t never happen in a playoff game.”

  7. pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    If its only for this year what’s the big deal? Competition wise homefield is overrated. Only difference would be revenue wise and does anyone on here actually care about their team maybe possibly losing 1 games worth of revenue?

    • pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:06 PM

      lol what is the deal with everyone here whinning? First they haven’t made an offical annoucement that this is even true yet so calm down. Second how is this a cash grab, extra game, clusterfuck etc? This is simply a procedural change to reduce travel and more solidfy an operational schedule. Please some explain how this makes any serious difference at all? Or else I guess I just have to chalk it up to haters wanna hate

      • ezthinking - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        Home teams have a statistical advantage in winning a game. There are about 100 sources you can use to confirm that.

      • pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:19 PM

        Statistical homefield advantage is incredibly minute. You know what creates an even bigger statistical advantage? The quality of players on their team.

      • pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        Also the only way there is disparity in homefield during the series is if the #1 seed gets swept. Considering this is only a one year thing people seem to be going comepletely overboard over something that chances are wont even matter.

      • pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:00 PM

        I’ll let Tangotiger exaplain

    • kopy - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      Actually, you just reminded me the better team would lose revenue. If the better team sweeps the series, they’ll get 1 game at home instead of the 2 they deserve. It’s a small difference, but I bet they’d definitely like to have an extra game’s worth of tickets, concessions, and parking. Especially with a sellout at playoff prices.

      • pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        Sure of course they would like it but from a fans (our) point of view how does the loss of 1 games worth of revenue effect us? Team don’t even release how much revenue they make per game so we would never even know the answer anyways.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        Actually, that’s not necessarily true. How often has the better team been the WC? It’s quite possible that this *snafu* actually could result in the better team not getting shafted for once.

      • pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        The WC now has to play the #1 seed no matter what, so the WC can no longer be the better team (record wise)

    • kalinedrive - Mar 2, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      Some fans actually buy tickets to playoff games and go to their favorite team’s home stadium and cheer and revel and have a ball. Knowing there are going to be two games played at your park is good for those fans. It sure is nice to see a full Comerica Park rocking.

  8. El Bravo - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    That is outrageous. There is no way they can commit to that plan of 2-3! Are you f@cking serious? The division winners are all going home with a split series at best and possibly down 2-0 to a wild card team? Why don’t they just toss the regular season records out completely and pick the playoff teams out of hat? Obviuosly that hat would not include the following team names: Royals, Astros, Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Indians, Orioles, Blue Jays, Mariners, A’s, Mets, Pirates, Dodgers or Padres.

    • stex52 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      You have no idea of the joy it brings to my heart every time the Astros are listed high among bad baseball examples. Fifty years as a fan have come to this.

      Besides, if your system isn’t going to make much sense, why not throw everybody in the hat and let chance dictate?

      • El Bravo - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        Youre right, but my fake system need not be fair either. Clearly the MLB isn’t in on the fairness game either!

        Here’s my main beef with this: it has nothing to do with home-field advantage, which is not statistically significant in baseball studies show. It is that it only guarantees the division winner one home game in the divisional series, not two. That is unfair to the team that won more games in the regular season. They should be guaranteed more home games vs a lower seed in the playoffs. The team deserves it for winning more games and their fans deserve to see there team play at home for the same reason.

      • stex52 - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:29 PM

        All right, if you are going to force me to be serious, I agree completely. Two points:

        1. You are right. It doesn’t matter what the statistical significance of the home field advantage is. If you polled the players and their fans they would be unanimous on wanting to start at home. They earned it by winning the division, and they should get it for no other reason that winning the division should be worth something. Which leads to:

        2. General complaint. Baseball is rapidly going the way of basketball, where they will play 162 games to eliminate a handful of teams. Since everyone knows that a short series can go in any direction at all, it is fairer for the playoffs to be limited to that small cohort of teams that demonstrated superiority over the course of the season.

        Again, it is just a case of earning your way to the elite round.

      • El Bravo - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        Yeah I like the idea of more baseball in any way shape or form I can get it….but if it costs what I would call the “fair advantage” for the team with the better regular season record, I’m not for that.

    • pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      how is it a split series at best? pretty sure its possible to win 2 games on the road…

      • El Bravo - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:14 PM

        it was an exaggerate. clearly, you can win both on the road. still not fair for the team that wins more reg season games.

      • El Bravo - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:21 PM



      • pmcenroe - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        this is only a one year thing and for it to even matter the higher seed has to be swept. I just think its way too soon for people to be getting this riled up about something that probably wont even matter.

      • El Bravo - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        forgive me but my alternative to getting riled up was working…f that noise b/c it’s friday…getting riled up about basebally stuff is way more fun.

  9. realgone2 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Then they can add more innings to the games. Playoff games will now go 12 innings. Then add two more outfielders, a coin flip to see who bats first (the Progressive Insurance sponsored coin flip), and hell make a 4th base.

  10. dcbear90 - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    I don’t understand the need to have a travel date. All season long teams play a night game, travel after the game and play a game the next night (or day).

    Wildcard winner should not get an extra home game. That’s horseshit.

    • rooney24 - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      Well, the wild card winner doesn’t get an extra home game. It is just that the order in which the teams host the games would change. So, I don’t see this as a big deal. The division winner still gets 3 home games (if it goes 5 games).

      But, I would agree with your point to eliminate all of the extra travel days. They don’t have them in the regular season, so why have so many in the postseason? (okay, I know it is due to TV money, but still they aren’t needed).

  11. nategearhart - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    …Why wouldn’t they do 3-2, with the first three games at the division winners’ park, then two at the WC park? Still one less travel day, and you aren’t dicking over the better-performing team.

  12. buffalomafia - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Shorten the season. Then first round best of 3

    Division round best of 5

    American & National championship best of 7

    World Series best of 7?

  13. Lukehart80 - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    In 1995, when the wildcard was new, the Indians finished with the best record in baseball, at 100-44.

    Their reward: opening the playoffs IN Boston, to face the 86-58 Red Sox.
    After that, they got to start in ALCS IN Seattle, against the 79-66 Mariners.
    Then they got to start the World Series IN Atlanta, against the 90-54 Braves.

    Bud Selig and MLB’s inability to have playoff games in logical and fair locales is nothing new.

    • El Bravo - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      So THAT’S how my Bravos won the series finally amid their 14 year divisional run. Oh well, I’ll take it any way I can get it.

      • Lukehart80 - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:55 PM

        As would I.

        If the Indians can win the second wildcard this year with 86 wins (not that they’ll actually win 86 games, or that it will be enough for the second wildcard), then beat a 101 win team in the one-game playoff…

        …then defeat the Yankees because Jeter and A-Rod were too scared of gnats to travel to Cleveland for Games 1 and 2…

        …then beat Boston in the ALCS after half the Red Sox come down with the flu…

        …and win Game 7 of the World Series in Cleveland because Miguel Cabrera hit a home run in the All- Star game…

        …I will cherish that victory without a moment’s care for the circumstances that allowed for it.

      • El Bravo - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        HAHAHA! I really really do feel for you.

    • djpostl - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Except that series opened at Jacobs Field…

      • Lukehart80 - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:10 PM

        You’re right! Well, the point still stands for the ALCS and WS, but I should have double checked. Thanks for the correction.

      • djpostl - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:23 PM

        It happens lol. I had to check myself because it was almost 20 years ago. But yeah, the system is great if it involves more teams but loses a ton of credibility if it doesn’t reward the teams who excelled in the regular season. Otherwise, lets just to 16 total playoff teams and have teams with losing records making it in as 8 seeds. (I am NOT recommending that..just makin’ a point lol)

  14. mdpickles - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    This is completely wrong. Creating conflict of interests. Say, for example, the first place team tanks it at the end of the season against a potential WC team, so they can face someone else on the road. I don’t get this, but I’m a stunod!
    This really cheapens the importance of a regular season.

  15. buffalomafia - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Again, shorten the season.

    Wild card playoff best of 3

    Division playoff best of 5

    ALCS & NLCS best of 7

    World Series best of 7

    How hard is that?!

    • nategearhart - Mar 2, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      MLB will never, ever decide to have fewer games. Fewer games = less money.

  16. djpostl - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    So your reward for winning division is possibly being down 2-0 before you play first home game of series?

    Didn’t take long for Bud the Dud to muck this up now did it?

  17. Mike Luna - Mar 2, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Uncle Bud strikes again!

  18. buffalomafia - Mar 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Hey you two Indians fans! Didn’t your team choke right after all star game? Or maybe b4 all star game?

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