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Dodgers, Giants, Mariners would have benefited most from 10-team playoffs

Mar 2, 2012, 6:38 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants v Philadelphia Phillies, Game 6 Getty Images

CSN Chicago’s JJ Stankevitz worked it all out; if the new 10-team playoffs had been the standard since the wild card was introduced in 1995, the Dodgers, Giants and Mariners all would have reached the postseason an additional four times during the span.

The Red Sox, who made the postseason in nine of the 17 seasons anyway, would have been the AL’s second wild card in three of the remaining eight seasons.

For the Dodgers, it would have meant 10 postseason appearances instead of six. The Giants would have made it nine times. The Mariners’ postseason count would have doubled from four to eight.

Getting in an extra two times apiece would have been the Angels, Astros, Athletics, Indians, Padres and White Sox.

Stankevitz has the full rundown of what the playoff series would have looked like over at CSN Chicago.

  1. stabonerichard - Mar 2, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    It’s kinda interesting to look back at the standings from previous seasons and look at what coulda been, had there been an additional WC spot. But of course reality doesn’t work like that… if teams knew there was another playoff spot up for grabs it would’ve played a significant role in deadline deals that were/weren’t made, late season roster moves, and just the plain ol’ motivation level of the teams involved.

  2. skerney - Mar 2, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    I’ve been a giants fan for 25 years and the 2011 team did not deserve to be in the playoffs. The same goes for Seattle. I’m sure some 81-86 win teams will end up beating a 97 win team in the winner take all game and that seems like a huge downer for a team that played so well all year.

    • stabonerichard - Mar 2, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      Jayson Stark ran thru the results during the WC era and found that the fewest games a would-be 2nd wild card playoff team won from ’96 to present was 84 (which is more than the ’06 World Champion Cardinals won).

      The 2nd wild card teams would have averaged 89 wins, and over a third of the time would have been at 90 or more. This idea that a 5th team in will be some .500 ball club that doesn’t belong just isn’t based in reality.

      With 10 teams filling out the playoff field from 2012 forward, MLB still has the most exclusive playoff field of any of the major pro sports. And adding the additional slot can only mean more teams remaining in the hunt deeper into the season, which is critical given the marathon 162-game season where up till now the majority of the league’s fanbases largely tune out after July.

      • jkcalhoun - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:26 PM

        So we have playoff hunts now instead of pennant races. Thanks for pointing out the distinction.

      • stabonerichard - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:39 PM

        Yes, playoff hunts where teams actually have a significant incentive to win their division vs. backing in thru the WC spot like we’ve seen in recent years.

      • stercuilus65 - Mar 3, 2012 at 1:26 AM

        “backing in” Stab? Hell the Wild Cards are usually considerably better than at least one division winner and they usually have to fight to get that last spot. The incentive to win the division has been you can make the playoffs despite being the fifth or sixth best team in your league (not to mention the chance at home field advantage).

  3. Ari Collins - Mar 2, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Of course, Boston would have probably been worse off. Yeah, they would have been the second WC three extra times, but all the times they were the first WC, they would have had a 50/50 shot to be one-and-done.

    They’re one of the exceptions, though, I’d guess. Most teams aren’t in a division with the Yankees, where making the playoffs means winning 95+ games to win the division or having to win the one-game playoff for the WC.

  4. quonce - Mar 2, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Wow, no Orioles. How far out would expansion have to have gone to benefit them? I hopelessly stand by them nontheless.

    • stercuilus65 - Mar 3, 2012 at 1:30 AM

      Be thankful you are not a Pirate fan (19 consecutive losing seasons). Now those fans are hard core!

  5. deep64blue - Mar 3, 2012 at 4:53 AM

    Interesting article, might want to check his maths though – Philly get two more appearances not 1.

  6. bleugrassboy - Mar 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Why are they limiting it to only 10 teams? Geez! That is so unfair!

    It would be much better if after the 162-game regular season they had all 30 teams + 1 from Japan and 1 from Central America begin the playoffs.
    Then, each round would consist of a home-and-home best-of-13 matchup.

    ADVANTAGES: In addition to seeing all the players and teams, the owners would get plenty of games and fans would have the opportunity to purchase additional game-tickets, parking, beer and hotdogs.

    DISADVANTAGES: None. Because no one EVER gets tired of baseball!! Everyone agrees there isn’t enough games or teams in the playoffs. Nope. More is always better.

  7. nofunleague - Mar 3, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    What happens if one of the new games ends in a tie because both teams run out of pitchers.

    • MightyMoonWorm - Mar 3, 2012 at 6:07 PM

      You pray that Wilson Valdez is on the bench, of course.

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