Major League Baseball slow to progress

September 30: Major League Baseball at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Pictures, Images and Photos
Last week, Major League Baseball announced that they are considering expanding the size of their playoffs from 8 teams to 10 teams. Although this is a step in the right direction, it is a very small step and they need to do a lot more. The commissioner of MLB is Bud Selig and he makes these big decisions. Unfortunately, I have long believed that he is the worst commissioner in professional sports. He is likely the reason why baseball has been so slow to improve the format of the season. Surely, if NBA commissioner David Stern (widely considered the best commissioner in pro sports) were running things at MLB, the game would be much better.

Major League Baseball has by far the longest regular season with 162 games. This is almost double that of the NBA’s 82 game schedule. Then, their playoffs only include 8 teams in total which leaves a big majority of the teams well outside of playoff contention long before the season ends. Instead of this terrible format, the league should double the playoff size to 16 teams, like in the NBA. I keep using the NBA as an example because it works very well.  I did not invent this idea by any means. However, every time this suggestion comes up, some people say that you would have to shorten the regular season in order to fit a larger postseason. They say that this will shorten the games for about half the league’s teams (those that did not qualify for the playoffs) and it will result in lost revenues for those teams. This is a legitimate argument.

While this argument may be legitimate, I think it is completely incorrect. As I mentioned, many of the teams have no chance to make the playoffs, often many weeks before the season ends due to the tiny playoff format. Fans of those teams are far less likely to pay money to see a team that is going nowhere. Instead, they should shorten the regular season and enlarge the playoffs so that many more teams will be in the playoff race deep in to the season. This will result in many teams making more money in fewer regular season games because the stadiums will be filled with fans hoping their team qualifies for the larger format playoffs. This is a proven format and should be implemented next year. They may need to fire Bud Selig in order to do it though and I support this as well.