Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Keep baseball postseason expansion short

Major League Baseball is considering expanding the playoffs, possibly with two wild card teams duking it out for the right to keep playing in October. It’s a good idea, but MLB has to do it in a way that doesn’t drag the season out any longer than necessary.

It's bad enough that the baseball playoffs already last a month, with the World Series played in November and the risk of more cold, disruptive weather that comes with that. The worst thing baseball could do is create a system that draws the postseason well past that one-month mark like the basketball playoffs, which are tedious and dull for all but the most die-hard fans. Seriously, I can’t even tell you when I last watched a full basketball postseason. Patrick Ewing might have still been wearing a Knicks uniform.

The possible changes to the baseball system are definitely intriguing, have numerous potential advantages and merit further consideration. I really like the idea of rewarding division leaders with a first-round bye for playing well during the regular season. Why not? It works for football.

For the record, I didn't think the American League East division race between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays this year was as lackluster or non-existent as most people claim. But such a change would definitely spice up the division races and motivate teams to play well (and put all their best players on the field rather than resting people in September) to avoid an early exit.

If MLB wants to add another round of playoffs, that’s fine. Bud Selig and Co have plenty of time to figure out how to make it work. But it has to be done in a way that keeps the postseason as short as possible. It’s more fun that way and they don’t risk losing our attention.

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