Major League Baseball and the players’ union announced March 2 that the two sides are closer to a deal to implement another wild card team in the MLB playoffs. Good for you Major League Baseball, good for you.
The new system would allow another team in both the National League and American League to play a one-game playoff game to determine who goes on to the next round. The three division winners would have a first-round bye.
This system would only happen if the two sides can agree on how to squeeze the game into baseball’s post-season, one in which the scheduling for October baseball is already fairly rigid. Also, the teams playing in the one playoff game will have to figure out the logistical nightmare of moving a team or hosting an extra game.I will admit, the one-game playoff is not the solution baseball needs to handle an extra team in the playoffs. The best scenario would be for the two wild cards that would play in the first round to play a best two-out-of-three series. Why? A singular baseball game is so volatile. There is just as much of a chance for one team to win as the other, it doesn’t matter which team it is. When two teams have to play in a series, there is a better chance of seeing the best team come forth and win.
Playing the series games in the first round rather than just one game will give the division winners what they deserve: a quality first-round bye. Baseball is missing a reward for teams that navigate the best through a 162-game regular season and this first-round bye would fix this missing link. But allowing the division winners to rest raises an interesting question: will the first-round bye affect baseball, the same way that it does the NFL? In other words, in the NFL, when teams have a first-round bye, they tend to not do as well in the second round. The answer to this question is not very concrete. It can be inferred that some teams will struggle, but it will not always happen because there will always be at least one division winner in the Championship Series.
There are obviously many more logistical problems that Major League Baseball has to figure out, but there is time. Baseball’s post-season is already very exciting, but the addition of another team will surely make it better.