Possible Playoff Expansion Leaves More Questions Than Answers – Phillies Nation

Possible Playoff Expansion Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Major League Baseball is always the last professional sports organization to make a progressive move for the betterment of the game. When the Commissioners Office gives the green light to enact such a change they never do enough to ensure its success. Certain things come to mind in this regard, primarily testing for performance-enhancing drugs, instant replay and the inclusion of non-whites to major league rosters. News of a possible playoff realignment is not only exciting but has been in the making since we all realized that playing the World Series in November is a bad idea.

Bud Selig’s plan is to have two Wild Card teams battle it out for the right to face the team with best league record. The only way I can see this working is if  the regular season schedule is shortened to accommodate extra round of postseason play. A league schedule of 154 games would have to be played. Three division winners would get first round byes as two wild card teams would battle it out in a five or seven game Wild Card series during the last week of September. The playoffs would then follow the current format.

Are players going to reconcile getting paid eight days less in order to have an extra week of rest? How will this expansion affect current  television and advertising contracts that are structured on a 162 game season?  Will owners really agree to omitting eight games for the greater chance for their club to make the playoffs?

If the season isn’t shortened to make way for an extra round of playoffs, we may face a situation where the World Series would be played into mid-November. Having an extra playoff round may be great for fans on the surface, the adjusted cost factor of playing less games will force teams to raise prices for admission and at the concession.

Selig favors expansion because he has been at the helm of all of the league’s expansionary measures for almost two decades. The shortening of the season would put more money in the owners pockets by charging more at the gate and paying their players for less games played.  Advertising revenues will increase due to a higher demand with less games being played during the season. Despite the negative financial conodations, the competitiveness of division play would increase. Including a first round bye for division winners would increase the importance of winning the division. Secondly, division winners would get extended time off as the wild cards fight it out for a Division Series berth. The division would have to be realigned in order to give each club a fair shot at a possible division crown (this means you NL Central and AL West). Evenly-teamed divisions coupled with a heavy division opponent-laden schedule  makes the games played even more meaningful in August and September.

Who wouldn’t want to see the Phillies have even more of an opportunity to beat down the Mets in the future?



  1. bfo_33

    November 19, 2010 at 7:41 am

    There is also the Stark scenario – have two wild card teams in each league – they play each other in a 1 game playoff for the right to play the best record division winner. I like this scenario for a few reasons:
    – it puts extra pressure to win the division – if you have to use your ace in a one game playoff, you are at a distinct disadvantage in the first round
    – you don’t have to reduce games or extend the season

    While not perfect, it adds more suspense in late Sept, keeps more teams in the playoff hunt, doesn’t cut revenues of non-playoff teams, but rewards the division winners, and doesn’t extend the season. It should be interesting.

  2. George

    November 19, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Baseball may be slow to embrace change, but it seems to me that when something stupid comes along, like the DH or endless playoffs, they’re all over it. Sitting too long through an extra playoff round might actually be a disadvantage to a division winner on a roll, and help a lesser wild card winner get into a winning streak. I can see no advantage at all to allowing two second rate teams into the playoffs instead of the one that is the case now, nor can I see any advantage in having to wade through so many teams, taking forever to get to the one thing that counts; the World Series..

  3. The Dipsy

    November 19, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Its stupid. Its all about money. Every change is about money. If the result is good of the game, its merely an accident. 162 game season, DH, astroturf, expansion, 17 kinds of uniforms for each team to wear during the course of a season.

    The Dipsy

  4. George

    November 19, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Thanks, Dipsy. I was trying to remember all those other ridiculous changes MLB has come up with over the years! They’ve also built a completely phony and unworkable revenue sharing system, which has so obviously helped out teams like Pittsburg and Kansas City.

  5. brooks

    November 19, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Ah to remember when there were 2 divisions and a pennant series to decide them?

    It is all about the money, horse poop. Like pro hockey or pro basketball (didn’t Philly used to have a pro basketball team?) – finish near .500 or just above and have a chance to win it all. How demeaning.

  6. Geoff

    November 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Totally agree about the uniforms, at least the Phillies are not as bad as other clubs about it, they only use three.

    I am in favor of expanding the playoff system and realigning the divisions. The Pirates Should be in the NL East like they always used to be.

    Houston, Atlanta, Florida, St Louis, & Chicago Should all be in one dividion.

    The Phillies, Nationals, Brewers, Mets, Reds, & Pirates should all be in one division

    The Giants, Rockies, Dodgers, D-Backs, & padres then comprise that division.

    Thats my vision for the NL, not sure about AL.

    Then you take three division winners and they will await the winner of a 3 game series between the two Wild Card Winners.

    Otherwise don’t even tinker with it. Anymore than 5 teams though is too many to be in the playoffs in baseball.

  7. Bart Shart

    November 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Greed drives change in baseball. This is STUPID and it waters down the playoffs. I hope we don’t turn into the NBA where most teams make the playoffs. It is total bullshit. I wish Bud Selig would retire. He is awful, and really dumb. Leave things alone for a while.

  8. brooks

    November 19, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Greed is the motivating force.
    Where does the Phillies management stand on this idea?

  9. The Dipsy

    November 19, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I knew that MLB had become complete crap when the Brewers actually switched leagues. I still look at the scores and do a double take when I see the Brewers playing national league teams.

    The Dipsy

  10. psujoe

    November 19, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Keep the current playoff system. There has to be a better method of enforcing lowly teams like the Pirtaes to use more of their revenue sharing on player salaries. Pittsburg ownership is a disgrace.

  11. The Dipsy

    November 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    BTW…..Is anybody besides me getting a vibe that Werth might actually resign with the Phils?

    The Dipsy

  12. psujoe

    November 19, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Unfortunately one NL team needs to be shipped back to the AL West. How silly to have one division with 6 teams and one with 4.

  13. Geoff

    November 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Yes they are, and the Pirates used to be a powerhouse dominant franchise too. They need a salary Floor more than needing a salary cap actually in MLB. That might help.

  14. brooks

    November 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Dip – no. But, it is a wish and hope anyway.

    And I was just taking a brief skip down memory lane while pondering the new playoff possibilites. Remember 1982? Brewers beat the Orioles for the AL division by 1 game, 95 wins to 94 – the old Harvey’s Walbangers, the Brew Crew who went on to lose to the Cards in the WS. No Wild Card there.

    Then 1980, the Yanks won 103 games to win the division. The Orioles finished second and out of the race with 100 wins. No Wild Card there.

  15. Geoff

    November 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Yeah thats a good point…What Western team would fit best into the AL? I would say that it would probably be the Rockies with their ballpark. Then you’d need to find a team in the Central to move to the west….which would be Houston probably.

  16. Geoff

    November 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I actually wouldnt sign Werth to what he wants unless his price and years drop dramatically. I don’t think he will be worth it in a few years. What do you think will happen to his defense at age 34 or so when his legs go? DH….

  17. Lefty

    November 19, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    There is only one expansion of the playoffs needed IMO, a 7 game first round series. Nothing else. If you can’t win enough ballgames to qualify with 162 chances, you don’t qualify. It’s what makes our game unique.

    MLB wants to be like the other sports, but no other sport plays anywhere near 162 games. If they really want to be the NBA or NHL, then cut the season to 82, and have 16 teams qualify. Then they could have Charles Barkley do pregame/halftime for 40 playoff games in 40 nights. Bleccchh!!!!!!

  18. psujoe

    November 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Phillies, Nats, Pirates, Mets, Marlins
    Brewers, Cubs, Cards, Braves, Reds
    Astros, Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, Padres
    Diamondbacks end up in the AL West. They have the least NL tradition.
    Nats/Orioles, Mets/Yankees, Marlins/Rays, Phillies/Red Sox, Priates/Jays.
    Reds/Indians, Cubs/White sox, Cards/Royals, Brewers/Twins, off pairing of Braves/Tigers
    Astros/Rangers, Dodgers/Angels, A’s/Giants, Diamondbacks/Rockies, Mariners/Padres.

  19. Andrew from waldorf

    November 19, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    You play 162 for a reason. If you cant find the best teams so be it.
    You cant go back to 154 because the season records are then all put out of reach. Not that the juiced records from the 90s will ever be broken.
    If they want to goto half the teams making the playoffs like the unwatchable NBA then cut the season to 82 games.

    Selig is a bad commish.
    Would like to get a good one at some point. But the other owners simply arent interested in that.

  20. Geoff

    November 19, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Those are good division alignments. There hasnt been much talk of later of that, but they really do need to realign again. The Phillies – Pirates used to be a great rivalry.

  21. psujoe

    November 19, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    My dad would always take us to the Pirates games, especially if they had a twi-night double header.

  22. Geoff

    November 19, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Yeah they need to be worthy of being rivals again, and be in our division again.

    Quiet day, and quiet usually means RAJ is busy – they signed a dozen guys to non-roster ST invites, decent group actually. Some good help for AAA Lehigh Valley at the least. Dan Meyer will get a decent run in the Major League team this season though, he can compete for second lefty with Bastardo if they do go ahead and sign someone better than those two.

    So far the links to replace Werth have been –

    Carlos Quentin
    Jermaine Dye
    Jeff Franceour
    Justin Upton

    Francour is my fall back last resort cheapo option. The Id go after the trade cadidates instead of free agents for that position.

    They also need another lefty and another late inning reliever – both of which they can sign through free agency.

    Then I’d explore moving Ibanez or something to that effect.

  23. psujoe

    November 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    I don’t like the Quentin option because he’s righty, but really bad against lefties which is the Phillies achilles heal. I’d love to land Upton, but wouldn’t trade the farm to do it. How about Aumont, Ramirez and Gillies, LOL.

  24. Geoff

    November 19, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I didn’t raelize Upton was so young, I thought he was older. That gives him high value. The Phillies have an awesome farm system though. Keep in mind they will get extra draft picks for losing Type A Jayson Werth, so with that and their great system they could absorb the blow of trading for Upton.

  25. psujoe

    November 19, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Yeah, he’s only 23 and has a great team friendly contract. He’d be a perfect get as long as the labrum tear is healed. If I’m RAJ I definately look at landing him because you “get younger” and cheaper. That money could be used for other needs. Could you imagine if the Phils were able to land Upton and sign Werth. No more trouble against lefties.

  26. Geoff

    November 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Even if they landed Upton I still will guarantee that they let Werth go…

  27. Lefty

    November 20, 2010 at 10:20 am

  28. Bob in Bucks

    November 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I have no problem with greed. It’s the American way. Greed is good. Clubs and players should make all they can. No problem at all.

    I just don’t see this really adding much revenue. IF they extend the WS into November it will have negative effects on the game and revenue. IF they have a one-game playoff I don’t see it really making that much difference in the NL. In the NL the Wild Card is not usually determined until the last two days so having an extra slot will not really make it that much more interesting.

    In the AL I can see a difference. Because it is virtually a given that the Wild Card will come from the East. This might make it more interesting.

    One game play-in would work. They can give it a try for a few years and then decide to keep it or not.

    They will not give up the 162 schedule because of local TV contracts.

    I remember 8 teams in each league with no playoffs. The season started in mid April and the WS was over by mid-October. Downside was that you knew your team was out of it months before. Current playoffs and Wild Card are much more interesting.

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