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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To fix MLB playoff, fix the regular season first.

The fish rots from the top.  I'm hearing more narrow unimaginative suggestions about fixing the mess of MLB playoff, chief among them, expanding round one from best of five to best of seven.  Big deal.  Until you correct the even bigger unfair mess of the MLB regular season, minor changes in the playoff structure are silly and meaningless.

As documented here, four of the six mini divisions play only 44% of their 162 games in division.  NL central has six teams that play 48% in division but vary the number from 18 to 14 against division rivals.  AL west four teams play a ridiculous 35% in division.

What the heck?

Two other things that clinch MLB as by far the most amateurish compared to NFL and NBA: home field advantage in the MLB finals determined by the winner of the All Star game AND, lest we forget, MLB plays with different rules.  The DH, remember?

As mentioned previously, this can be corrected only with these changes:

1. Treat MLB as ONE league, which it has been since the merger in 1994.  Treat it as the other mergers were treated: NFL and AFL; NBA and ABA.  Rules were made uniform and they were treated as ONE league.  This is essential to move teams into geographic alignment (Yankees/Mets, White Sox/Cubs, blah, blah, blah) AND to finally, after FORTY embarrassing seasons, resolve the DH impass.  To do it: obliterate the old AL and NL identities.

2. Reduce the number of divisions from six (three in each conference) to four (two in each conference).  This means increasing the number of teams to 7 or 8 per division.

3. Play at least 66% of games in division.

If these fundamental changes to the regular season are made then a proper playoff structure will almost automatically result.  If all you do is jerk around within the current mess of a structure, then no meaningful reform of the MLB playoff is possible.

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