MLB still needs to fix itself

May 08, 2011 | Keith Melchior

Other leagues are marketing themselves by adding certain gimmicks to their playoffs. The MISL changed its championship from best of 3 with the “golden goal” if teams split the 2 game series to a one game championship. The NCAA added 3 more teams to its field of 65 and “seeds” those play-in teams accordingly. It almost worked for VCU, who came in as an 11 seed and made a run to the final 4. The NHL has expanded it’s “between the glass” feature and interviews players prior to game time and coaches during in-game breaks.

Major League baseball is talking about the possibility of  adding another wild card team to the postseason. The 3 division winners would get about a week off while the 2 wild card teams play each other in a best of 3 series, with the winner going against one of the division winners. Big deal. Although to the orange kool-aid drinkers around these parts, this gives the Orioles an even better chance to make the post season. So what happens if 3 of these potential wild card teams  all have identical records? How would they determine who goes and who doesn’t? A round robin playoff? Divisional record?

Leave it to MLB to screw itself  up, AGAIN.  Some of it’s bungles were expanding  to 30 teams,  with 14 in the AL and 16 in the NL, realigning into 3 divisions, talk about eliminating some of the lesser franchises (Minnesota, Kansas City, and Florida all come to mind), making a mockery of the All-Star game by declaring a tie, then marketing the All-Star game as a game that “counts,” giving the winning league home field advantage in the World Series. Now Bud Selig wants to add 2 more teams to the post season.

When will major league baseball wake up?

There are a few things I would change if I was the commissioner

1. Get rid of inter-league play. Totally. It has run its course. No more 6 game “cross-town rivalry” games. They originally slotted inter-league play to have each team in a certain division play the other league’s division with a yearly rotation.  Somehow those “rivalry” games took precedence and the inter-divisional rotations didn’t completely happen as advertised. Maybe the subway series in New York draws crowds, perhaps the north side versus south side in Chicago, but Nationals versus Orioles? Please.. It might draw 23,000 on a good day. Hell, yesterday was a perfect day weather wise and there were maybe 19,000 to watch an afternoon game against Tampa Bay. Te Nationals are really going to reel in the fans, right? Wrong.

2. No more unbalanced schedule. Every team plays an equally balanced schedule. Oriole fans, that means no more whining about being in the AL East and not having the same chance to make the playoffs as Oakland, Minnesota, or Kansas City, who play in traditionally weaker divisions.

3. Shorten the season by about a week by having scheduled double-headers at least once a month. Either the traditional types or even the day-night version to assure the owners of extra cash.

4. Add 2 more wild card teams, making a total of 3 division winners and 3 wild card entries. The 2 division winners with the overall best record get a 1st round bye. If 2 teams are tied it goes to their head to head record, then to divisional record. The remaining division winner plays the lowest wild card team and the 2 other wild card teams compete against each other. This would be a best of 3 series.

5. The top 2 seeds then play the winners of the wild card round in a best of 7 divisional series. After the initial round, teams are re-seeded according to won/lost record and the remaining division winner, if they win their series, could potentially play the top seed if the wild card winner has a better overall record. The top seed then plays the lowest seed, regardless of whether in same division or not.

6. The team with overall best record gets home field advantage in the World Series (this will force teams to try to win as many games as possible) If tied, it goes to divisional record. If still tied, THEN and only then will the All-Star game victor determine home field.

Major League Baseball has given itself a major black eye over the past 20 years and needs to try something new to create greater interest in the regular and post seasons. Sadly the MLBPA is the strongest union in the world and would really need to be compensated for such radical changes.

So, realistically, nothing will change for the betterment of the game.