I can’t believe I’m saying this, but baseball just might have done something right. I’ve been watching the wildcard round games and I’m sold! Expand the playoffs to 16(8 per league) moving forward. The NFL expanded their playoffs, the NBA and NHL has 16 teams. I understand people are feeling indifferent about there being more baseball games after 162 games, but the simple fact is these games are intense and cause utter chaos. Also March Madness style with games on all afternoon and evening is HUGE especially when you are trying to bring younger fans to the game. This would also help with baseball in the regular season, and having it return as a primetime sport.
The Division Races
If baseball continues this playoff format, it would put more pressure to win the division. The more pressure to get home field would create a more exciting regular season in my opinion. This would also have more teams striving to get 2nd place in their respective division to get that automatic spot also. Which would make July, August, and September absolutely bonkers due to the fact that every game and every moment would matter leading up to the playoffs. Which for a baseball geek like myself, would make me love every minute of it.
Teams Investing In Big League Club
From the Hot Stove to the trade deadline, it would be absolutely engaging due to the fact that the majority of the teams would be trying to improve for a potential playoff push. The rumors, the deals, and media coverage would be great for baseball.
Alright close your eyes and imagine this. It’s post Covid and you are at your favorite team’s ballpark for game 1 of the Wildcard Series. Imagine the atmosphere, the intensity leading up to the first pitch of the game, the first sip of an overpriced beer, and the first bite of overpriced food. The raw emotions of the game and the importance of winning. Imagine this happening at Fenway, Wrigley, Philly, New York and other baseball crazy cities.
In conclusion, this brilliant idea makes the most sense for baseball especially when fans can return to the stands. It would be good for ratings, and it helps the local economy especially the bars and restaurants near the team’s respected ball park. Knowing that it’s a good idea and that Rob Manfred is still the commissioner; they will probably never do this again and push the sport further into irrelevance in American culture, but hey I can dream right?
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