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Expansion? Yes, Please!
- Updated: May 6, 2011
Major League Baseball is considering the idea of expanding the playoffs to include a second wild card team in both leagues. Let me just start by saying that I absolutely love the idea!
The two wild card teams would essentially participate in a “play-in” round, much like the play-in games that take place in the NCAA March Madness tournament. This “play-in” round would most likely be a one game winner take all or a three game series. Personally I would like to see the expansion as a one game winner take all. The ratings for both games (AL & NL) would be incredible and would be a great way to start the playoffs. A one game winner takes all situation would make scheduling easier than a three game series. The division winners would have some time off, but not too much. The “play-in” round could be played the day after the regular season ends to avoid a big scheduling conflict. Teams would have additional incentive to win the division (not having to play that extra game). Over the past few years we have seen many underdogs in sports win championships or go further than expected, so why not let another underdog in and add to the excitement?
If this playoff system was in place last year, 2010, the play-in round game for the American League would have been incredible. Tampa Bay won the AL East, leaving the Red Sox and the Yankees to fight for the wild card spot. The Yankees ended up winning the spot, with the Red Sox second. MLB couldn’t ask for a better situation. Boston and New York playing a one game winner take all to get into the playoffs? The only thing better would be if they were playing a game 7 for the AL Pennant, but in a year like 2010 only one of these teams would have made it to the postseason and if you can add another team and have potential matchups like this one why wouldn’t you? I believe the playoffs would have been far more exciting if the Yankees and Red Sox had to square off to get in rather than just having one wild card. There have been four wild card World Series winners in the history of Baseball, including three years in a row (’02, ’03, ’04). Many times in sports we see low seeded teams make great runs and at times win championships. In my opinion, this adds to the excitement and catches the attention of more people.
With multiple sports leagues facing collective bargaining issues that are upsetting fans, Major League Baseball would be smart to make a move like this right now. While the NFL is in the middle of a lawsuit filled lockout and the NBA looks like it is headed for a lockout, MLB can put itself in the news for a good reason. I’ll be waiting for the announcement of MLB expansion, and please, Bud Selig, do something about instant replay while you’re at it!
Written By: Matt Dirty
Photo Courtesy of Mookiefl