10 teams will qualify for the playoffs in 2012, the three division winners and two Wild Cards. The Wild Cards will play a one-game or best-of-three to decide who moves on.
The owners also want a global draft, and will push for it in December when the current collective bargaining agreement expires.
I dislike both ideas, but I'll focus on the expanded playoffs.
In the span of less than two decades, Bud Selig has succeeded in watering down the playoffs to an unprecedented level. He initiated the original Wild Card in 1995, and is now about to add a second Wild Card team to the playoff mix. In fact, the playoffs are getting watered down faster than ever before. From 1903 to 1968, all of two teams qualified for post-season play. From 1969 to 1994, four teams made the playoffs. For the past decade and a half, eight teams have become eligible. Now comes word that 10 teams will earn playoff berths. In 18 years, the playoff format has more than doubled in size.
Is 162 games really not enough to decide who the best clubs are? That's 10 times as many as the NFL and twice as many as the NBA and NHL.
Selig moronically calls the new system "more fair." What does that even mean? If "fairness" is truly what he wants, then why not implement a hard salary cap? How about a balanced schedule so we really get a sense of the superior teams? Or expand the playoffs to 16 teams? What's fairer than that? Wait, I know: 30 teams! The whole season should be a six-month playoff!
What seems fair to me is rewarding the best teams with the most advantage in the post-season. Clubs have played 162 games to prove their quality. Should they really be forced to potentially play a mid-80s-win team? Baseball already has more chance built in than any other sport. The best team in baseball won 60% of their games last year. In the NFL, the best team won 88%. NBA: 76%. NHL: 66%. That's the whole reason they play so many games in baseball - to let the proverbial cream rise to the top. Selig is cheapening that. It's only a matter of time before MLB expands to 16 teams and December baseball. Remember to bring your winter coat.
But let's be honest. This is all about money. More playoff games mean higher ticket prices and more ticket sales. Again, if that's the case, why not just go all out and let 16 clubs into the playoffs and be done with it?
And while I'm going off at MLB, let me mention my disgust with the schedule makers. Why are there so many off days in April? The vast majority should be scheduled for the second half of the season so that the inevitable April rain-outs actually have a day to be made up down the line. But no. When the players are well rested at the start of the year is when we have all the off-days, not in the "dog days" of August. Good thinking, Bud.