The MLB and Players Association have agreed to allow one extra team per league to make the playoffs every year. What does this mean for the MLB? How does it impact us as fans? Well, as fans, the chances of our team making the playoffs have now increased. As for the MLB, we will have to wait and see.
Personally, I think I like this new playoff format. I believe the MLB wants to imitate the 163rd games we had a few years ago. Division winners will automatically make it to divisional rounds. The two wild card winners in each league will play a one game playoff that will decide who advances to the divisional rounds. This is essentially game 163. From 2002 – 2004 the World Series winner was a wild card team. Last year, the Cardinals won as a Wild Card winner. Many people do not like the wild card scenario because they believes it defeats the purpose of winning the division. The belief is that wild card winners are given the same chance to make a World Series as a team who has won more games. With this new format, problem solved!!
Brian Cashman of the Yankees admitted to having slowed down at the end of the year, a couple of years back. He believed that it didn’t matter if they won the division or made the playoffs as a wild card team. There odds to make the World Series would be the same. This will no longer be the case. It will be very important to win the division. This will prevent a teams World Series hope from depending on a one game. As for those teams that do win the Wild Card, they will have to prove they deserve to be in the playoffs. Wild Card teams typically win fewer games than division winners. Teams will now play hard the entire season to make sure they win the division. This will create heavy competition throughout the season and especially towards the end.
One may think that two wild card teams, means less talent in the playoffs. This will not be the case. The MLB is becoming more balanced because of the new salary caps and luxury taxes. More and more teams are becoming competitive. Look at the Nationals, Pirates and Royals for example.Yes, we will still see teams with high salaries but more money doesn’t mean more wins.The Cubs are an example of a team who paid a lot and won a little. The Rays are an example of a team that pays little and wins a lot. I believe that there will be competition for these last two wild card spots. I do believe that we will still see the late season drama that we have become accustomed to. Id like to hear your views on this new format.
On another note, Spring Training games start Sunday. Opening Day is that much closer. As always, Play Ball!!!