The puristic argument makes no sense in the debate about the expansion of the MLB playoffs

<pre><pre>The puristic argument makes no sense in the debate about the expansion of the MLB playoffs

PORT ST. LUCIE – You identify yourself as a baseball purist and want the responsible forces to stop playing around with the game.

Just a few questions:

What is your defining point for the pure game? Now with two wildcards? Or when was it? Or before there were three departments? Or before there were two? Or before you ever heard the term batsman? Or before color players were allowed to play? When is your starting point?

Because whenever it is, the game has long ceased to be just this version. It is always changing. So if you don't like the playoff format that ponders the Commissioner's office, please don't hide behind purity unless you think players should stop using mechanical pitching machines because of Ruth and Gehrig never had and players should be banned from the best in modern medical, nutritional, and exercise programs, since Cy Young never had an option for Tommy John surgery, Willie May never had protein powder in his smoothie, and Ted Williams never had Pilates made.

I could see the case against participating in 14 playoff teams, although the NBA and the NHL have had 16 teams for a long time and the expectation is that the NFL will expand from 12 to 14 postseason teams over a 17-game schedule.

I could see the concern that if size isn't needed to hit post-season, why should teams spend on players? Only this year the Padres have a record payroll and almost no chance to overtake the Dodgers in NL West. My suspicion is that the carrot in the playoffs will encourage more teams, especially during the season.

Let's get to reality: the Commissioner suggests this because his office believes that it will be a big money-maker for the owners, for whom No. 1 is responsible. The networks want more clinch-type playoff content and games, and inventory is increasing dramatically with seven playoff teams in each league and six best-of-three series to open the postseason, as well as the reality show of the best brains will be chosen their opponents. The MLB has already received positive feedback from its broadcast partners.

Great, if there was a way back in time that at the end of 162 games, the teams with the best post-season records were playing in the World Series. But think about how many fans would not be interested in the length of the season. For the fans, it should not just be a question of whether it is a donation, but also of finding a way to increase the revenue that the commissioner will do well for the sport. Because the playoffs can be manipulated at will. The structure is man-made.

For those who identified themselves as “purists,” no rule came from a mountain top that was supplied by a deity. According to the original rules, the bases could easily have been 92 feet apart rather than 90 feet, and if it were better today to move the product to 92, this should be done. Are we getting a better product with the proposed format change? I think so because:

– You want to honor the regular season. I've heard the complaint that this minimizes the regular season. But the best teams have to play until the end. The reward for the best record in a league is a farewell to the top three – which is remarkable. Win a division and get all the games of the first round at home and choose your opponent. Finish the race with the best wildcard balance and get all games of the first round at home. This brought more importance to the games in August / September.

– The wildcard for a game is dramatic but unfair. The A & # 39; s won 97 games last year and their season ended in 3 hours and 18 minutes. At least two out of three players offer the chance to survive a single bad game.

– Too many teams arise before or during the season. MLB visitor numbers have been declining for seven years, and this surrender was a key reason. Additional playoff spots should encourage organizations to strive for the playoffs. More applicants should encourage better participation. I can imagine that the trading deadline in July will be shorter and shorter when it comes to selling out poor clubs and more and more teams are trying to reach the post-season in which they are related. The problem should be that more clubs are willing to spend money, which will benefit the players, and the union may need to cultivate as an advocate of a plan that needs to be negotiated together.

– Is the selection show hokey? It is. It is my least preferred part of this proposal. But I'm clear – are you purists listening? – that not everything is designed for me. MLB is obsessed with recruiting younger fans, and a reality show where teams choose their playoff opponents has a chance of reaching a generation that grew up on reality shows. The NCAA selection show was probably hokey at first until it was long enough to become part of Americana.

You can imagine this Sunday night broadcast (after the last regular season game) broadcasting all segments on sports talk radio / television and all words written in newspapers and social media about which teams should choose which and why. Once the selection is made, the why and the garbage talk that will begin will be broken down. Oh, you wanted Team X, you got it.

Not my thing again. But if you run a sports league, you won't satisfy everyone with one decision. So just do what you think is best for the bottom line and the sport. The "purists" will scream and then accept what baseball is like, and then scream the next time they try to change anything. This is a well-known cycle.