In the midst of one of the biggest cheating scandals in sports history, Major League Baseball is focusing their attention on potentially increasing the number of teams that make the postseason—a thing that zero people asked for.
Here are a few of their wonderful proposed changes:
- There are 14 teams in the postseason now instead of 10. We definitely needed FOUR wildcard teams
- The teams with the best records in the NL and AL automatically get a first round bye to the divisional round.
- The division winners get to select which wild card team they want to face in a best of 3 series
MLB is obviously concerned that they are losing their audience as attendance has slipped for the seventh consecutive season and they believe that it’s because the leagues are too top heavy and not enough fan bases believe their teams have playoff chances sooo naturally the solution is to let every team into the playoffs.
The MLB season is 162 games long. You have 162 chances to make the playoffs and if you can’t make the Wildcard spot after ONE HUNDRED SIXTY games then you do not deserve to make it.
Expanding the postseason doesn’t add interest in the regular season. It completely removes urgency. Who cares about watching every night if all your team needs to do is maintain a .500 record and they get a 3-game series no matter how mediocre they are.
This also doesn’t do a damn thing about teams being cheap and losing on purpose. How does expanding the playoffs affect the Baltimore Orioles losing 100 games every year? The problem isn’t that teams give up halfway through the season. The problem is they give up before the season even begins.
Right now the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies are shopping two of the best third basemen in the league simply because they don’t feel like paying their stars.
Baseball’s problem is that only a handful of owners actually care about winning. The Miami Marlins traded Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees for McDonalds coupons and a pencil sharpener. They chose to field a AAA roster of players making less than high school gym teachers.
MLB isn’t suddenly getting more eyeballs because the Mets make the playoffs and get swept in two games by a far superior ball club while the Chicago, Texas and California markets have irrelevant teams that won’t spend money.
Gerrit Cole makes $36 million this season. The Miami Marlins current payroll is $36 million.
So are playoffs the problem or cheap rich people?
The solution is instituting a salary floor that requires teams to spend a certain amount of money on their payroll. MLB punishes teams with a tax for running their payrolls up too high but does nothing to teams that don’t spend a dime and then they can’t figure out why people aren’t rushing to see the Kansas City Royal field a team of AA All-Stars get struck out 20 times by Justin Verlander.
Plus, let’s not forget the unintended consequences of allowing a few more teams in the playoffs that don’t deserve it.
I wrote about it last year but while everyone was praising the Devil Rays for advancing in the playoffs despite their low payroll, what the media was actually doing was enabling a culture of underpaying players and cutting corners when building rosters.
What do you think happens if now the Pittsburgh Pirates—with the 3rd lowest payroll—sneak into the new playoffs? Do you think they suddenly break open the bank and start throwing cash at Francisco Lindor? Or do they double-down on being cheap as hell?
This is like politicians constantly trying to reduce taxes on the wealthy because of some naive belief that the 1% will suddenly use that extra money to raise employee wages and hand out free money to children in the street. But that’s not real life. Rich people are rich because they hoard their money.
Major League Baseball needs to punish teams that aren’t spending. It’s that simple.
Oh, also arrest the Houston Astros.
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