Philosophizing the Proposed Playoff Profit-Pumping Plan

On Wednesday, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that MLB has decided to go ahead with the new 10-team playoff format starting with the 2012 season.  The official announcement has not yet been made.

The new format means that each league will have two Wild-Card winners instead of one, those with the best records after the division winners.  Those 2 Wild-Card teams will then play a one-game playoff to determine who moves on.  Please excuse me while I throw-up…

Bud Selig seems determined to be the most hated guy in the baseball universe once again.  Congrats, Bud.  You win 1st prize in my book.

Basically, a team who previously had no business being in the playoffs now gets to be in the playoffs.  In my opinion, this demeans the hard work of all the division winners.  One Wild-Card per division was already slightly annoying but two worse.

What is the point of winning your division when you now may have to play a mediocre team who may, simply by a stroke of luck, knock you out before you get a chance to play the best of the best?  At least if you get beat by a good team, you can live with that.  But to get beat by a team that should not even have been there?  That is truly depressing.

Because as baseball fans know, it is not always the best team that wins.  Injuries, scheduling, weather and pure luck play a big part sometimes.  This new format increases the odds tremendously that an average team will catch a break and push a more exciting team to an early exit.

And then think about the logistics of such a schedule.  Baseball has already struggled in recent years with weather delay’s and postponements in October; this adds a new wrinkle to that conundrum.  And how are they going to sell tickets for this one-game playoff?  Because you probably will not know who the two Wild-Card teams are until very close to the last day of the season.

But more importantly, it is unfair.  The new system caters to rich teams.  As a Phillies fan, you cannot say I am biased on this issue…we have a huge payroll.  This system gives big market teams a BIG advantage.  For example, how would you like to see BOTH the Yankees and the Red Sox, who are consistently at the top of their division and of the AL, make the playoffs every year?  You can now be pretty confident that at least one of those teams always gets in.

The Red Sox had a horrible September last year, winning only 7 games.  But under these new rules, they would have been in the playoffs anyway.  That is ridiculous.

I am sure there are plenty of people out there who think this is great.  It offers more excitement with the one-game playoff and a chance for more teams to “profit,” in more ways than one.  Because no matter what reasons MLB gives us for the change, the bottom line is always the bottom line.  That is, more ticket sales, more TV ratings…more MONEY.  It is always about the money.

I wish MLB would not insist that this is for the betterment of the game and the enjoyment of the fans.  Do not insult our intelligence…it is and always has been about the profits.

Maybe no one is really complaining yet…but just wait until the Yanks and Sox both make the playoffs for fans of low-market teams  to start crying foul.  And as always, feel free to disagree with me :O)

Thoughts to Ponder…

In my previous post, I posted a few silly interview questions I came up with to ask major league ball players that would be highly entertaining, but have zero chance of ever being asked or ever receiving an honest answer on. So instead of asking the players, I asked the readers to give their opinion.  Here are a few fun responses from Jersey Josh, a fellow MLBlogger:

- (Not that this will ever be a reality but…) Would you agree to a pay for performance structure throughout baseball instead of the current guaranteed contracts?  Why or why not? JOSH:  I think any ballplayer would pimp slap me into next week if asked that one. The union wouldn’t allow that one, they don’t have performance based vesting contracts, just “appearance” based ones (games started, plate appearances, etc).

- Which teammate, current or former, do/did you dislike the most and why?  JOSH:  Dykstra probably owes everyone money.

- In a fight between Bud Selig and Satan, who wins and why?  JOSH:  Selig would postpone the fight indefinitely on the grounds that Satan cannot pass a drug test. (#1 answer, in my opinion :O)

Thanks to Josh for playing along!

 

 

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