Call me old school, but I really miss the original MLB playoff format that existed from 1966 to 1993. Each league had two divisions, East and West, and the division leaders battled it out in October.
Then, the realignment happened one year after MLB expanded in 1993.
Of course, the 1994 season was shortened due to the players' strike and the new system had to wait until the following year.
Since then, winning a division is no longer a guarantee for winning a pennant or a world championship. I get it. It's all about money and trying to give other teams a legitimate shot at a postseason berth. Such was the case this season with the second wild card being added to the mix.
But are all of these playoff teams really necessary?
One thing I had always liked about baseball was the exclusiveness of their playoff teams. Unlike football, basketball and hockey, all of the major league's postseason contenders were division winners. There was something special about the pennant race back then; the closer you came to the finish line the closer you were to a World Series appearance.
With the addition of the Wild Card Round and the division series, the postseason now seems diluted.
Consider the following; three of the top four teams in this year's postseason have been eliminated. While it's great to see the underdog teams pull off the upset, fans of division winners such as Washington, DC and Oakland deserved to see their teams play for the chance to reach the World Series.
Each club has its own unique story. Washington was playing postseason baseball for the first time since 1933 and Oakland virtually came out of nowhere to win their division on the last day of the season.
This is not to take anything away from the St. Louis Cardinals or Detroit Tigers; I'm just very old fashioned in my views of baseball's postseason. After 162 games, the two best teams should be playing for the pennant.
Essentially, MLB should return to the two-division format and have the winners play each other. Call it fair. Call it the right thing to do.
It won't happen. Whether we like it or not, the expanded playoffs is here to stay.
Major League Baseball is moving forward and much like the first postseason expansion back in 1966, it will be criticized by traditionalists who like how things were before. Division winner or wild card, every team entering the postseason has a chance to win it all.
The division winners will need to bring their “A” game because proving to be the best means outlasting one more team who wants the prize just as much as they do.
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