Baseball to expand playoff system?

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference in New York, April 21, 2011. Major League Baseball (MLB), in an extraordinary move, plans to take control of the day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers because of mounting concern over the franchise’s financial plight. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Commissioner Bud Selig told the media on Thursday that Major League Baseball is moving toward expansion of its current playoff system.

“The more we’ve talked about it, I think we’re moving inexorably to that,” Selig said. “But there’s a myriad of details to work out.”

I think an expanded playoff pool would bring more excitement not only to the postseason, but to the regular season as well. Under the current system, all six division winners reach the playoffs, as well as one Wild Card team from each league. It sounds as if Selig wants to add one more Wild Card team to the mix in each league, meaning the clubs with the top two records from each league would each get a bye.

Some baseball traditionalists might resist the change, but all things must change over time. The current playoff format wasn’t introduced until 1994, so there’s nothing wrong with adapting a new system nearly 20 years later – especially when the new format would keep fans interested and going to the ballpark deep into the second half.

Think about it: how many times in the past 10 years has a divisional race been decided in early August? And then what happens to the fans of those clubs that find themselves out of contention? They stop going to the park.

Adding another Wild Card team to the postseason mix would ensure that fan bases of contenders would keep coming to the park, which means more revenue for Major League Baseball and that team. The fans get to see a potential playoff participant, the team can keep selling beer, hot dogs and ballcaps, while the league grows its popularity. It’s a win for all parties involved.

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