I know I am a little late with this article but, this is one where I needed some time to fully process my thoughts. If y’all have not heard, the MLB is considering changing their playoff format starting in the 2022 season. With this new rule change, the MLB will basically be getting rid of the wild card game. This change would allow 7 teams from each conference to make the playoffs, instead of 5. There will be the 3 division winners and 4 wild card teams. The 2 teams in each conference with the best record get a “wild card round bye.” Now BOTA, this is where the confusion happens. The other 2 division winners choose their opponents, but they cannot choose the wild card team with the best record. The division winner with the 2nd best record will choose their opponent out of the 3 wild card teams with the worst record. The 3rd division winner would then make their selection. The wild card team with the best record would then play the remaining wild card team that was not selected. Yeah, I know… super confusing. Let me use last year’s records to better explain.
Let’s look at the AL as an example conference.
7. Red Sox
The Astros would get a bye. The Athletics cannot be chosen. The Yankees would choose which team they want to face between 5-7. Then Twins would make their selection from the 2 remaining, and then the Athletics would play the remaining team.
The one thing that I have yet to mention about this rule change though is that the higher seed would host all 3 games in the best of 3 series. Yeah, you read that right. They would not go to another city. If the Yankees chose the Red Sox, all 3 games — if it went to 3 games — would be in New York and none would be played in Boston.
So BOTA, here are my thoughts on this new format. As a baseball fan, I love it! There are more games, more opportunities for teams to make a big move at the deadline to make the playoffs, and more baseball! But other than that, I think this is a dumb decision.
The MLB would be killing any possibility at a momentum shift. Going back to the example, the Red Sox would not have the possibility of getting a home game to change the momentum if the Yankees won game 1. Also, yeah, more teams would make the playoffs, but these teams might not deserve it. For instance, out of the AL teams in the playoffs, the Red Sox would be the only team not with 90 wins. The Yankees finished 19 games ahead of them and would have to play them in a best of 3 series. They should not have to prove again that they deserve to be in the ALDS over the Red Sox.
So MLB, as a fan who just wants to watch more baseball, make the change. As a fan of the sport as a whole and what is best for the sport, please do not change it! Keep it the way it is! 1 wild card game, win and you’re in!