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MLB Playoff Format Changed

Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images

It looks like Major League Baseball will make a major change for the 2012 playoffs.  There is a proposal to add one more Wild Card club for each league.

That’s a great idea.

The chances of making the MLB playoffs is the lowest of all the major sports.  Since the Wild Card began in 1995, eight of the 30 baseball teams make the playoffs. The NFL has 12 of 32 teams are in the post-season. In the NHL and NBA, 16 of 30 get in.

Even with this addition, the MLB would still be the most selective of all the sports.

Currently, the MLB is the longest season at 162 games with less at stake for all of the teams.  There are some years where nearly half of the games don’t even matter because those teams are out of playoff contention.  Adding a wild card team in each league will instead make games more meaningful because more teams would have a chance at the playoff spots.

Major League Baseball is the only sport without a salary cap – this change would give more teams a chance.

I don’t care that the Yankees have only won 1 World Series since 2000.  The fact of the matter is the Yankees win 90 games every year and they get into the post-season.  That’s one playoff spot locked up and guaranteed.

The Yankees and Red Sox essentially already take up the wild card every year in the AL, there basically is no wild card hopes for AL teams as is.  The one wildcard doesn’t really exist in the American League - it’s really just a safety net to ensure both Yanks and Sox make the playoffs.

Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

I don’t want to hear about the Rays excuse.  They had to do things perfect for many years – smart draft picks and get lucky to get that 3 year window of competing in the AL East.  Basically another AL East team (other than the Yankees or Red Sox) has to be perfect for years in hopes of being the one team in the AL east to get a whiff of the playoffs.

More teams in the playoffs means more people will watch.  Baseball isn’t big in cities like Milwaukee, Baltimore, Washington, Seattle or Kansas City.  Adding more teams would give those cities a realistic chance.

The more markets that are watching, the better for baseball.  This sport has the potential to be huge.  These smaller markets need to get baseball hungry.  They’re not getting into baseball right now when all they think about is the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies make the playoffs every year.  Not the reality perhaps – but the perception.

It’s hard for fans to get excited about the baseball season when your team essentially has no shot to get into the post-season in June.  This move allows for more parity throughout the league.

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