Baseball

Pros and Cons to MLB Expanding the Playoffs

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MLB expanded the postseason bracket in 2020 to accommodate the 60 game season that occurred due to COVID. After seeing what an expanded bracket looks like, should MLB use this format going forward?

What is the Expanded Bracket?

The current MLB bracket consists of ten teams, five in each league. The ten teams are comprised of six division winners(three in each league) and four wildcard teams(two in each league). This format generates more competitiveness between teams because of the number of spots, which is a good thing for the current game. Here’s an example of such a bracket.

In 2020 however, with the threat of COVID shutting down a season, the MLB proposed a 60 game season to ensure that baseball would in fact be played. This was an experimental year for baseball as they tested out a bigger postseason bracket, as well as other changes like a designated runner on second base for extra innings.

The 2020 bracket consisted of 16 teams instead of 10, however, no first-round byes were given. Each division would get two teams in the playoffs, the team that won, and the team that finished second, as well as two wildcard spots for the rest of the league. The bracket itself looked like this:

So again, should the MLB use this format?

Why they should

By using this format, the MLB can attract more viewership. With this many games, they would need more channels to broadcast them, they could even go as far as copying the NFL by using Nickelodeon to broadcast their games.

This format would give more teams the opportunity to make the postseason, such would’ve been the case last season for the Blue Jays and Mariners who just missed a wildcard spot. With this format, Seattle would’ve gotten in for simply finishing second in the AL West, and Toronto would’ve also gotten in but on a wildcard since Boston finished second.

This format would make the playoffs more exciting because of the number of teams. The more teams included, the more chaos would follow. It would also mean more to the champion because they beat even more teams.

Why they shouldn’t

The current format is fine how it is. By putting just five teams in each league, it sparks more competitiveness from each team knowing there are limited spots. It would also make the title of division winner mean something, by not having the second-place team get in simply for being in second.

This format allows the top seed a first-round bye, which again, sparks competitiveness from the other teams. This format has worked well over the years,so it’s hard to see it changing anytime soon, especially with the disapproval of the fans.

Final Thoughts

I for one, like both formats, so it’s hard for me to choose. What do you think? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @KeganCrawford

main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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