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Hey MLB, Don’t Half-Bake Expanded Playoffs in 2012

By Mike Silva ~ March 2nd, 2012. Filed under: MLB News.

Looks like MLB is at it again. The league that for years got it “half-right” may create an odd disadvantage for division winners in the new expanded playoff scenario.

SB Nation reports that “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.”

The Players Association and MLB already have agreed they will go to the 2-3 format this year if they can’t figure out the scheduling issues.

I hated the old 2-3 format, because I believe it gives an advantage to the team without home field in a 5-game series. Home field in baseball isn’t like the other major sports, but it doesn’t hurt have a Game 7 in your building. It also helps starting a series at home, which a division winner should earn by virtue of coming out on top after 162 games. This 2-3 format was used during the early days of the Wild Card (I hated it then). Back in 1995, the Yankees – a Wild Card team – played the first two games of their 5-game ALDS versus Seattle at Yankee Stadium. This despite the fact the Mariners won their division. It worked out as it should, as the Mariners won all 3 games at the Kingdome, but the Yanks were able to put them in a tough hole by winning the first two at Yankees Stadium- Game 2 a thriller that ended when Jim Leyritz homered in the 15th inning.

What was even more backward about that situation was MLB used to rotate home field each year, as they do in the World Series, with the Divisional Round. Seattle had home field only because the rotation stated so! How ridiculous is that?

I don’t understand why it’s taking so long to add the additional playoff teams for this season. This is the same league that said it had to decide divisional home field play-in games on a coin flip versus record because of the difficulty booking hotels. Why do NFL teams, with far bigger rosters, not have a problem? The NBA and NHL re-seed after each round. It’s an excuse because of the layers of bureaucracy and backward thinking that is prevalent in MLB. They knew additional playoff teams were a possibility and should have been prepared for this.

In this likely 2012 scenario, a Wild Card team could win the play-in game at home, and then play the next night at home against the division winner to open up the LDS. The division winner may be rested, but they would be the team travelling into a road stadium. Doesn’t this seem silly? Better yet, it’s unfair.

You may want to point out it’s only for one season. I would counterpoint by saying it could be your favorite teams opportunity to do something special and they deserve the advantages they earned. What if the Kansas City Royals win the AL Central in 2012, but have to start on the road versus the Wild Card Yankees. Is it fair to have them open up at Yankees Stadium versus the friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium? In this fictitious scenario Royals fans would be punished despite not seeing a home playoff game since Ronald Reagan was President.

If MLB can’t do the right thing- which is a 2-2-1 format- then just wait till 2013 when the Astros move to the American League. Apparently, the schedule will be easier to solve in that scenario.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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1 Response to Hey MLB, Don’t Half-Bake Expanded Playoffs in 2012

  1. AV

    “Home field in baseball isn’t like the other major sports”

    I’m not sure I agree with this. I can’t think of anything more blatantly advantageous than having the last turn to bat in a baseball game. All the other major team sports have a clock that runs out on both teams, home and away.

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