Alternative MLB Playoff Proposal

Some of Us Loved the Outcome, the Astros Beating the Red Sox, the Yankees, and the Dodgers Along the Way, But We Hated the Format that Got Us There.

 

Under the playoff system the two wild cards in each played a “one and or done” game at the home of the team with the best record/ The winner qualified for the best 3/5 1st round series – with the winners in each then playing one other still standing club in a 4/7 series for the league pennant – followed by those two final winners meeting tin the traditional best 4 wins in 7 World Series.

The most games played possibility in that scenario always rides on the back of an improbable turtle – the one that dictates by numbers that it would have to be a wild card entry that caught fire in time to win the get-into-things first game – then play a max of 5 + 7 + 7 games through the World Series – for a total of 20 games played in all.

Our plan answers the question: Can’t MLB come up with a plan that plays a similar number of playoff games, but does it more fairly – and in a way that prolongs championship interest in most cities far deeper into the season?

Of course, it’s both possible and practical. You have to add 8 games to the outer limits of potential games played for the two World Series teams, but that’s OK. To allow for the possibility of 28 games – over the present 20 – MLB would have to either start the season even 8-10 days earlier in March – or take on the more complex problem of reducing the regular season to its old 154 max game total. The point is – it’s doable – and it’s a lot fairer to the eight teams in each league with the best season records.

If you check the positioning of the eight top clubs in the NL in the chart below, there will be some groans coming from Colorado Rockies fans, the current leaders of the NLC, because their current winning percentage would not be enough to even make the grade as one of eight best — if the season ended today — because it isn’t.

In fact, division assignment would have more to do with increasing play with natural rivals and hopefully cutting travel costs in the future, and nothing to do with assuring every part of the country a place in the playoffs by geography.

In this plan, you get there by being one of the best among all, very much as the NBA is now proceeding.

With no future expansion in sight, the new plan does guarantee that 8 of the 15 clubs in each major league — and that’s what we math “geniuses” call a margin exceeding 50% in each league — will reach the playoffs annually. It shouldn’t matter if MLB eventually doubles in size. The possibility of 8 positions annually should be enough to motivate every club but the most inept of all franchises in each league to try.

As you should be able to determine from this 1st round chart, it will take 4 rounds of seeded best 4 of 7 wins play to get the big ring here. And the success and failure rules are easy:

  1. In each of the 4 rounds, the eventual champion has to win 4 games before their opponent takes that same toll upon them.
  2. In Rounds 1 thru 3 (the league pennant round), the series is completed when one of the teams in each league series actually does win 4 games.
  3. Round 4 matches the winners of the AL and NL pennants in the traditional World Series, with home field advantage going to the team with the best season record.

Here would be the AL and NL MLB Playoff Standings for Round 1,

if the plan were in force today:

RANK AMERICAN DIV W L PCT. GB MATCH
1 Boston ALE 34 15 .694 ~ 1~8
2 NY Yankees ALE 31 15 .674 1.5 2~7
3 Houston ALW 32 18 .640 2.5 3~6
4 Seattle ALW 29 19 .604 4.5 4~5
5 LA Angels ALW 27 22 .551 7.0 5~4
6 Cleveland ALC 24 23 .511 9.0 6~3
7 Oakland ALW 25 21 .510 7.5 7~2
8 Toronto ALE 23 26 .469 11.0 8~1
               
RANK NATIONAL DIV W L PCT. GB MATCH
1 Milwaukee NLC 31 19 .620 ~ 1~8
2 Atlanta NLE 29 19 .604 1.0 2~7
3 Philadelphia NLE 28 19 .596 1.5 3~6
4 Pittsburgh NLC 27 21 .563 3.0 4~5
5 St. Louis NLC 26 21 .553 3.5 5~4
6 Chicago Cubs NLC 25 21 .543 4.0 6~3
7 Washington NLE 26 22 .542 4.0 7~2
8 NL Mets NLE 24 21 .533 4.5 8~1

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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