Baseball strikes out on playoffs
Here’s an important change Major League Baseball (MLB) should immediately make to avoid a colossal postseason embarrassment: Increase the number of playoff games between the wild-card teams. As things stand, the top teams in each of the leagues’ three divisions automatically qualify for the postseason play that leads to the World Series. The two wildcard slots go to the nondivision-winning clubs that have the best win/loss records in their respective leagues.
The problem: The wild-card playoff involves only one game. The winner then goes on to play one of the three divi-
sion winners. This is particularly absurd for the game of baseball. Unlike football, in which, statistically, the best team on paper usually wins a game, baseball is different: Any team, no matter how bad, can win a single contest.
This year we could end up with two wild-card teams with an impressive 100 wins each during the regular season. To have their chances of making it to the World Series rise or fall on one game is deeply offensive and undermines fans’ faith in the fairness of it all.
At the least, MLB should quickly figure out how to make this year a besttwo-out-of-three contest.
And beyond that MLB should shorten the 162-game regular season and add games to the playoffs. The length of the postseason period hardly needs to be as long as those for basketball and hockey. But the system needs changing to remove the current capriciousness.