I have been reading a lot lately about Bud Selig wanting to add 2 additional wild card teams in each league. The immediate idea that comes to everyone's mind as far as a playoff structure is the top 2 teams in each league get a first round bye, similar to the NFL format. I think this is a terrible idea for a couple reason:
1. The 2 bye teams would have a long layoff between the end of the regular season and the start of the 2nd round if the 1st round is best of 5 or even if it's best of 3.
2. The new first round would extend the overall length of the playoffs by 5 or more days depending on the series (3 or 5 games). This would be minimal with a 1 game play-in type game, but that really defeats the purpose of adding 2 teams in my opinion.
I have a different solution to an addition of 2 extra teams to the playoffs.
Here is what I would do:
3 division winners qualify along with 3 wild cards. The 3 wild cards are the next 3 best records, regardless of division. To make it fair, I would balance the schedules across the AL/NL (only exception being interleague). With the 3 division winners and wild cards, Round 1 would be a round robin. Each team plays each other once. It would take 10 days with 3 games the first day, travel day, 3 games the next day alternating AL/NL so there are a guaranteed 3 games every day. The division winners would get 3 of the 5 games at home, the wild cards would host 2 games. Once the round robin is finished, the top 2 teams would then meet for a traditional 7 game series.
I think this format brings a lot to the table:
More strategy for managers to align pitchers up against the right opponent.
A distinct advantage to win the division and get 3 home games.
The best 6 teams are going to get into the playoffs regardless of which division they are in
Guaranteed baseball for 10 days instead of the days were all 4 series could be over by sweeps and we have to wait 5 days for another game.
A schedule as short as possible for a 6 team playoffs, only adding 2 additional days to the overall schedule.
What do you guys think? Any major holes in this plan? I’m sure old-schoolers would hate it, but I think it would identify the best 2 teams – the ones that are best against the cream of the crop.