Major League Baseball has had conversations about a possible playoff expansion from 10 to 14 teams. The bulk of these discussions will come following the end of the 2021 playoffs.
The idea of changing the structure of the playoffs is nothing new in baseball. Here is what has changed over the past decade and what might be coming.
For a long time the playoffs consisted of only the three division winners and one wild card team. In 2012 the MLB added a second wild card team.
This was an exciting change because it forced two teams to battle it out in a one game winner take all situation. Since its implementation baseball fans have been blessed with some exhilarating wild card games.
This has been the playoff set up since its inception, but 2020 saw the biggest change to date.
With the COVID-19 pandemic it was first a question of whether or not there would even be a season. Once it was decided there would be a 60 game season a new playoff bracket was created to prolong the short season.
In stead of 10 teams they upped it to 16. They created a whole new wild card round which was a three game series. It created a whole new playoff experience like never before.
When it became clear the 2021 season would go back to normal they made the playoff’s a 10 team bracket once again.
Whether its College Football, Baseball or some other major sport there are always conversations about ways to make it more exciting for the fans as well as bring in more money.
With these changes the importance of the regular season is being questioned. This comes from the fact that both the Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros made the playoffs in 2020 with losing records.
Adding more teams makes it easier for worse teams to get in, but there are also so many good teams that just barley miss the playoffs each year.
Adding more teams will both relieve and add pressure. It relieves pressure because teams like this years Toronto Blue Jays who are great, but just a few games back from the second wild card spot will have a much better chance of getting the seventh spot. It’ll add pressure because if the Blue Jays cannot make the playoffs even with two more spots it will look worse for them.
It will be interesting to see how far these discussions go during this coming off season. Will they stick to what has worked for almost a decade or will they try to spice it up.
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