Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in New York Yankees fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
The 2020 season required more than a few adjustments just to make it happen. One of the biggest changes was the playoff bracket. For the first time in baseball history, 16 teams – eight from each league – reached the postseason. The second-place Yankees needed the extra bump to reach the playoffs in 2020, as both Cleveland and the White Sox had better records in the AL Wild Card standings. In the new format, the Yankees dispatched Cleveland by winning both games of their best-of-three Wild Card Series, though they fell to Tampa Bay in the more traditional Division Series round that followed.
For now, it doesn’t appear that the 2021 season will be shortened to the extent of last year. However, with much about this season to be decided, there has been no announcement about the size of the 2021 playoff field. But if it were up to fans, the playoffs should shrink before they expand.
According to the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, a majority of fans would rather not have the playoff field expand beyond the standard 10 teams.
While some fans are willing to make an exception for some of the oddities that may happen in 2021, even fewer want those changes to stay in place. Only about a third of fans want an expanded playoff format to be put in place permanently.
The playoff field expanded from just four teams to eight teams for the first time in 1995 with the first inclusion of a Wild Card team. Then, a second Wild Card team was added in 2012 with the first Wild Card Games. The Yankees have found themselves in three of these contests, losing to the Astros in 2015 before taking out the Twins and A’s in back-to-back years from 2017-18.
While 16 teams may not be realistic for a normal season, the idea of expanding the playoffs has been considered by baseball. But it’s clear, if anything, fans would rather have fewer teams in the postseason.
31 percent of MLB fans said they would most prefer a return to the eight-team playoff bracket. That’s followed by 27 percent who want a return to the 10-team bracket. Only 30 percent want the playoffs to expand in any way.
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