Commissioner Bud Selig has said that baseball is studying possibilities to expand the postseason field from the current eight team format, to a ten team field beginning as soon as next season, this according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
The current format, which has been in place since 1994, only allows the three division winners from the East, Central, and West to get in along with a wild card team.
The expansion of teams in the postseason would remove the dreaded "one-game" playoff tiebreaker known as the 163rd game.
According to the report, from a source close with Major League Baseball, the proposals being developed to add two wild card teams to the playoffs include provisions to adopt the NFL-style tie-breaking system based on head-to-head play or division record to send teams into the playoffs when such tie occurs in a division or wild card slot.
Essentially that would eliminate the tiebreaking game in favor of an addition series which could be dubbed the American League Wild Card Series (ALWCS) and National League Wild Card Series (NLWCS).
The current proposal being thrown out by MLB include one of two formats, a one-game playoff, aka the 163rd game or a traditional three-game series like every team plays in the regular season.
Personally, I think a three-game series would be the most beneficial because it would allow teams to put out their best starting rotations and it would give incentive to the teams that did win their divisions to have extra rest.
A one-game playoff would really tick teams off because their entire season, which is run on intervals of a three-game series, comes down to one game and thats were the line is drawn between the NFL and MLB. A three-game series keeps the regular season format and allows MLB to have more revenue.
If any such three-game "wild card series" is enacted, it should be played at a neutral site to avoid any off-days to travel between stadium sites. An entire series played at an opposing teams' site would be unfair for the road team but because fans wouldn't pay to see a team they don't root for it might just go to the team with the best record.
Critics would be fair to point out that any additional teams pushes the World Series back into November territory, but consider this year's postseason.
The New York Yankees clinched this past Saturday, October 9 and won't be playing until almost a week later. And yes, they did sweep, but baseball has been too generous to teams rather than rewarding the fans, and it takes the momentum away from the game when you have these off days for no reason.
While it may be trying to cover all bases if a rain delayed occurred, the pace as to be reminiscent of ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas where there is a Christmas movie every day and baseball has to have that flow until of course the World Series.
Work Left to Be Done
All and all, I'm glad baseball is considering this change because a franchise like Pittsburgh or Kansas City would mostly benefit from this change. If baseball doesn't enact salary caps like the three other leagues (NFL, NBA, and NHL) it might as well give an increased chance for these teams who are currently losing the war against the bigger markets like New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
If revenue is the root of the all these postseason expansion talks, MLB should consider the other type of expansion to add two teams in the league. Having a solid four teams and four divisions format would increase everyone's chances at a postseason and the AL West is a prime example of that since every team has won the division at least once in the last decade, no other division has done that with their five to six team parties.