MLB Playoff Expansion Perfect For Baseball, Orioles

Sixteen NBA and NHL teams, twelve NFL teams and eight MLB teams make it to their respective league’s postseasons every year. That last number could be expanded to ten in 2012 as baseball Commissioner Bud Selig stated last week that the game is moving “inexorably” towards expanding its postseason. While baseball purists are against adding two more wild cards, the time is right for the league and the news is great for the Baltimore Orioles.

Its a crime to ask teams to play 162 games and have exciting battles in September for fringe teams like the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies while the New York Yankees decide to sit their starters in a late series against the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the East. If the Yankees had the incentive of a first round bye or were forced to play the Red Sox in a survivor first round of the playoffs, then they wouldn’t afford to sit their biggest names.

In a league that already struggles with parity without the protection of a salary cap, adding two more wild cards is necessary to keep fan’s interest in smaller markets. Let’s be honest, the Orioles path to the playoffs would be a lot easier in a division out west or even in the central. With another chance to make the playoffs without winning the division, teams like the Orioles have a greater chance of winning a championship because, as we all know, all you’ve got to do is make the playoffs. Anything can happen in October.

So how do you combat the baseball purists on this topic? What do you tell the guys that hated adding instant replay, dislike interleague play, the unbalanced schedule or one wild card? Tell them to look at other sports. What was the most exciting part about the NCAA tournament this year? Without a doubt, it was the VCU Rams a team that was a part of the tournament’s new “First Four” expanding the tournament from 65 to 68 teams. And if you’re in Baltimore, you should remember that Super Bowl XXXV was won by the Ravens who entered the postseason as a Wild Card.

The time is right and adding another Wild Card in each league is perfect for the Orioles. The only question is ‘how many games do you make the series?’

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.

4 Comments

  1. Dan B

    April 27, 2011 at 8:00 am

    It’s time to end the charade that the the NL and ALare separate leagues. How about realigning the majors for the 21st century.

    http://pinetarandbrickbats.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-about-radical-realignment.html

    • Zach Wilt

      April 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      What do you think of another Wild Card though Dan?

  2. Matt

    April 27, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Dan B,

    Totally agree, to a point. The only distinction at this point is the DH, but now more than ever NL teams are putting the brakes on small ball and waiting for the 3-run HR.

    Ideally MLB would do away with divisions and unbalanced schedules altogether, and instead just have the four teams with the best records represent each league in the playoffs.

    I’d also be open to the sort of realignment mentioned in the post you linked to, though I’d move Toronto from Div. I to Div. IV and Cleveland from Div. IV to Div. I; there’s too much of a city rivalry between Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh and Baltimore and Pittsburgh and Philly to miss out on having them all duke it out.

    As for the two new expansion teams—UGH. No thanks. There are already too many teams that shouldn’t be in MLB: Marlins, D’Backs, Astros. If anything, move them to more deserving cities (Portland, OR has been desperate for one for decades, and I think there really NEED to be two teams in Canada; Toronto always seems like an island unto itself now without its French-Canadian partner in crime around).

  3. MGW, The Agenda

    April 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    If the Orioles ever get their crap together, this might give them a glimmer of hope.