MLB should rethinkplayoffs

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My fantasy baseball team tanked this season and I didn’t make the “real” playoffs, but it got me thinking about the baseball playoffs coming up and what it would be like if there were a consolation playoff system.

Some years there are a number of quality teams that miss out on the playoffs because the division they play in is really good that year. Then there’s others that slide in because the division is weak.

But what if you took the next best four teams from each league and put together a playoff. It probably wouldn’t be that interesting, but you never know.

Email newsletter signup

As it stands now the Mets or Phillies could be on the outside looking in when it comes down to the playoffs because Milwaukee owns the wild card by 4 1/2 games. Those are both quality teams for the most part.

The American League Central is going to come down to either the Twins or the White Sox, but whichever team doesn’t win the division is going to miss out on the postseason.

St. Louis and Houston have better records than the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West. Heck, the Florida Marlins nearly have a better record than the Diamondbacks right now.

Sure this entire idea is nonsensical, but the point is, it’s unfortunate that some quality teams get left out of the playoffs because of the division they play in. Plus I’m still really sour about not making the playoffs in my fantasy league and I’m going to continue whine about it.

The extended pseudo-playoffs could be like bowl games in college football, a chance to see different teams play each other in a different atmosphere. In the American League you could have the Yankees, Twins, Blue Jays and Rangers go at it while the Phillies, Cards, Astros and Marlins can battle in the National League. Maybe it could be considered the NIT of MLB.

I mean I have the eighth seed in this consolation bracket and I get a bye week. The best I can do is move up to seventh in the league. Why even check my roster to see who’s playing that day?

Some of the teams that would qualify for the pseudo-playoffs have been considered up-and-comers for a few years. Every year it seems Toronto is going to be a contender and it never pans out, partly because the Red Sox and Yankees are normally better, and also because the Bluejays just aren’t as good as they are on paper. But still I would like to see Roy Halladay on the mound in a game that had some sort of bigger significance. How about Josh Hamilton versus Halladay in a playoff-like situation, bases loaded, two outs and the Rangers trail by two?

I guess what I’m saying, too, is that the playoffs in baseball get a little stagnant because it seems like the same teams always make the playoffs (yes, this is true in just about every other league and it is a very tired argument). Right now half of the playoffs would be teams that weren’t there the year before. If the season ended today the Mets would be in, they were just in the playoffs two years ago, Boston is back, Arizona is in, and the Cubs would return. The two interesting additions would be Milwaukee and Tampa Bay.

Often times in baseball it’s the team that gets hot at the right time and it was neat to watch the Rockies make that unbelievable run last season and the Marlins a few years back, the Red Sox as well, but I think there’s a letdown with some of the matchups. The Angels-Red Sox series last year wasn’t all that exciting, it certainly could have been. The Cubs-Diamondbacks should have been more fun, but it wasn’t. The only series that went seven games was the ALCS and nearly every game was a blowout one way or the other.

Gimme a Pittsburgh or a Washington playoff, that could be fun. I could watch that while I celebrate my seventh-place finish in fantasy baseball.