According to FOX Sports, Major League Baseball will go to a 10-team format this upcoming season. Each league will have two Wild Card teams and both will square off in a one-game playoff to determine who gets to face the top seeded team.
I can see why MLB would want to try this out, but ultimately it just doesn’t work.
Adding two more teams waters down the excitement of a playoff chase towards the end of the season. If this new system was installed last year, then both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays both would have made the playoffs and the exciting finish we saw at the season finale would have just been pointless.
What makes this new playoff system hard to digest is that between these two Wild Card teams in each league, one game will decide who goes onto the next round. One baseball game should never determine advancement in the playoffs.
I believe that at least a three-game set must be used to determine which team moves on. But MLB will say that if a series is extended, then the length of the playoffs will run too long into November.
The original format in my opinion seemed to be working just fine.
This new format dilutes the competition and forces the Wild Card team to take a tougher road to the World Series. Even though MLB wants to see more underdog Wild Card team success stories, adding more Cinderellas to the dance really takes away the excitement of the journey.
If the system’s not broken, there’s not point in trying to fix it.