The New Extended Playoff Format is Great for Baseball
Rob Manfred hasn’t done a lot of great things as MLB commissioner. Luckily, he got something right, and that is the extended playoff format.
The move was controversial at first. It was one of the many new ideas implemented by the league for the 2022 season during the lockout agreements. The format extends the Wild Card slot from two to three per league and also includes a new Wild Card series involving different seedings.
This is how it works:
The first and second seeds get a first-round bye. That first round is the Wild Card series. Seeds 6 and 3 play each other as well as 5 and 4. Both winners of these respected series go on to play in the Division series: 6/3 plays No. 2 while 5/4 faces No. 1.
Prior to this expansion, it was two teams going for the do-or-die Wild Card game. This format wasn’t great as a team’s playoff push could end in just one night. Now they get a best-of-three series.
The two teams which would’ve been on the outside looking in during previous seasons but were afforded a chance this year are the Seattle Mariners (AL) and the San Diego Padres (NL). Neither team has been to the playoffs in a substantial amount of time (other than 2020) and their fans have been eager for more. They both recently clinched a postseason berth in the last week.
The only drawback to this new format is the seeding of 4/5 playing the first seed rather than 3/6. This gives the second seed an advantage, especially if they’re able to play the sixth seed. Obviously, anything could happen, but this is something that MLB could change in the next year or beyond.
Other than this certain drawback, the fans of underdog teams are the beneficiaries. In my opinion, Seattle is now a baseball town with real homegrown pride, which will be illustrated this weekend during the Wild Card series.
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