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MLB considering change to playoff format starting in 2022

Brace yourselves: the term “reality TV” is included.

Washington Nationals Victory Parade Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Have you been bored with the current playoff system that Major League Baseball utilizes? Well, you’re in luck as MLB is looking to change the playoff format, starting as early as 2022.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post shared that MLB is proposing quite a few changes. Firstly, under this proposal, the playoff field would be expanded to 14 teams overall - seven from each league - which would add two teams from the American League and two teams from the National League. Secondly, the way the Wild Card round would work is decided by the teams. Yes, the teams. Here’s how it would out for each league:

  • The division winner with the best record in the league would get a bye for the Wild Card round.
  • The division winner with the second-best record in the league would get to choose to host one of the three wild card teams that have the worst record.
  • The division winner with the third-best record would get to choose to host one of the remaining two wild card teams.
  • The wild card team with the best record would host the remaining un-chosen wild card team.
  • Wild Card round would be a best-of-three series.

Thirdly, these selections will be made on the last Sunday of the regular season after all the games wrap up. Oh, and these will be selected on live television by representatives of the teams, hence a “reality TV” type of thing.

Overall, it’s a playoff expansion, a change of format, and a little bit of spice rolled up into one big change. The focus for MLB is seemingly to keep fans and viewers away from the NFL preseason. Additional playoff spots means additional playoff teams which, in turn, should lead to more attention to fans. Teams could also be incentivized to be play hard until the end to get the first-round bye or a selection spot instead of facing a wild card team. Additionally, MLB and most of its playoff TV channels have a contract that expires after next season, which Sherman notes could lure those channels into signing another contract.

Do you like the idea of expanding and re-vamping the playoff system in place? Let us know in the comments below - and in our poll:


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