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  1. I do not support the idea of adding another wild card to the playoffs but if they were to I really enjoy the idea of having those set double headers. Good read.

    Comment by Epy0n — April 30, 2011 @ 8:17 am

  2. I agree with the article. When thinking about it myself, I thought a 3 game series with the first game at the 2nd team’s stadium followed by two games at the 1st wild card is the fairest – advantage to the first wild card, but not too much of an advantage, and with minimal impact on scheduling.

    Comment by Steve — April 30, 2011 @ 8:49 am

  3. Why not have a standard three game series for the wildcard playoff? All three games are played in the park of the higher seeded team. Eliminate travel days altogether. The 2nd wildcard should just be happy for the chance to advance in the playoffs. If you want home field advantage, you’d better earn it. Also gives more significance to winning the division.

    Comment by Stephen — April 30, 2011 @ 9:39 am

  4. You could compress the October schedule, too. There are far too many days off between the different series.

    And hey, why not make the first day of the wild card playoff a double header? Attendance should be less problematic compared to the regular season. That’s one game you can’t show in prime time, but if the alternative was a one-game playoff anyway…

    Comment by Greg — April 30, 2011 @ 11:25 am

  5. All solutions for accommodating a second wildcard suck except not having a second wildcard.

    Comment by GiantHusker — April 30, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  6. Lets play two!

    Comment by Ernie Banks — April 30, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  7. An issue I have with the scheduled doubleheaders is the possibility of having them rained out. Then teams need to find a way to reschedule two games instead of just one.

    Comment by Bryz — April 30, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

  8. I find part of this very confusing:
    “AL second wildcard: 1.9 fewer wins than worst playoff team, NL: 0.63 fewer wins.”
    +
    “Since it doesn’t appear that adding a second wildcard team would give an undeserving team a playoff spot”
    =
    HUH?

    From my reading, those numbers mean exactly that the second wildcard team would give an undeserving team a spot. Even if 11 times out of 32 times the team was as good as a playoff team, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement. That means that 21 times out of 32 it wasn’t. That indicates to me that 2/3 of the time, the 2nd wildcard team was undeserving as they were worse than the worst playoff team. Plus, we’re talking about a class of teams that is averaging less than 90 wins overall.

    I will admit though, the proposed scheduling solution seems pretty reasonable, actually. Though I find the concept in general pretty bad, since it mainly just punishes the Wildcard Team 1 for no apparent reason. It’s like “Oh, so basically, you have a better record than somebody who won an easier division despite playing in a harder division, but couldn’t quite win your hard division. Let’s make life even harder for you by making you do a short-series play-in.” Because let’s face it, the Wild Card 1 teams generally come from the strongest divisions that year.

    Comment by B N — May 1, 2011 @ 2:55 am

  9. I love the idea of a second wild card team. It makes the regular season mean more. More teams are in the race till the end. Plus it makes winning the division important again. Last year if the Yankees knew wild card meant a 3 games set against the BoSox I think they would have played better near the end of the year.

    the scheduling isn’t at all a problem. It’s 3 games. Just schedule the regular season to end September 30 every year instead of October 5 or whatever it usually does and shorten the rest in the playoffs. I hate the amount of off days the playoffs have anyways.

    The added wild card makes it harder for a team to get hot and beat teams with better regular season records because there’s more “cooling off” time. It rewards the fans more by having more teams play meaningful games in September and also rewards the division winners more by giving them a bonus.

    Anyone who opposes this is typically someone who is too old school and tradition minded and, in all likelihood, wants baseball to go back to 2 playoff teams per league.

    Comment by Anthony — May 1, 2011 @ 3:49 am

  10. The 1-2 schedule seems to be the best option, it’s an important benefit of buying season tickets that you get first call on the playoffs, and this ensures that ten teams will be able to offer the reward. As long as no losing teams make the playoffs, I’m OK with occasional ’06 Cardinal-type series winners.
    I say cut down on the number of days in between playoff games, solutions that involve doubleheaders or fewer off days are murder on pitching staffs and I doubt MLBPA would approve.

    Comment by baycommuter — May 1, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  11. Part of the problem with scheduled double headers is that pitchers will get overworked. I think a simple solution to this would be to give the team an extra active roster spot for a few days before/after the scheduled double header.

    Comment by LioneeR — May 1, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  12. Why don’t we cut the wild card, throw everyone into one division, and then take the four best team as the playoff teams?

    Comment by Steve — May 1, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

  13. The easy way to do this is a 3 gane set over 2 days. A doubleheader and a nite game. If the teams r close enough there isnt even an of f day

    Comment by Bpdelia — May 1, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

  14. Steve if you do that, the you’ll have the Yankees or Red Sox winning every year and teams in mid markets would collapse because no one would give a shit about them because they won’t have a chance. If you’re going to shorten the playoffs you may as well not even have a playoff, just have everyone play everyone else in baseball equal times and award the championship to the team with the best record.

    Comment by Anthony — May 2, 2011 @ 12:05 am

  15. For whatever reason, I can’t reply to specific comments.

    Greg, baycommuter: Cutting down the time between games in the playoffs is the option I forgot to look at. The obstacle here would be TV programming. The schedule is set up to optimize TV revenues, so they would have to take that into consideration.

    Bryz: Another thing to look at as far as having to reschedule a double-header. That was one reason I said to skip out on April double-headers.

    BN: To me, a 1-2 win difference is negligible over a 162 game season. This is where the “balls hitting pigeons in the outfield” defense is actually valid. I don’t see a large enough talent disparity between a 91-71 team and an 89-73 team to argue that the second team is undeserving.

    Comment by CSJ — May 2, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  16. That weird AL gap is also propped up by one of the non-AL East wildcard teams. The 2001 Oakland A’s won the wildcard with a record of 102-60.

    Comment by Llewdor — May 2, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  17. Why give them days off at all? The regular season sees teams going well over 12 games in a row without an off day. To call it ‘murder on the rotation’ is crazy, the current playoff schedules allow teams to stack their three best starters over and over again if they so choose. It’s ridiculous since it takes a five man rotation to make it to the playoffs, they should have to play all five starters. Cut out off days between games in a series, offer two off days between series.

    This especially makes more sense for a 3 game dual wild card ‘play-in’.

    Comment by Chris — May 3, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

  18. One thing that wasn’t considered with the proposal to have doubleheaders on one Saturday each month is the impact this would have on scheduling series. Since the Friday and Sunday games would both be scheduled as usual, this means there would be a much higher frequency of 4-game series, which are more of a rarity these days.

    Not sure how much this would impact things but I think it’s something keep in mind.

    Comment by Andrew — May 12, 2011 @ 10:34 am

  19. 2 Wild cards means the Yankees and Red Sox will never miss the playoffs again (not that it happens often) but sure gives the Jays and Orioles some hope

    Comment by Alvaro — May 14, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  20. great article. well done.

    i would like to see the current format of the playoffs stay as it is but i would like to see a three game “flex” series at the end of each season based on position within each division, with the top two teams in each division playing each other in a 3 game set during the final weekend of the season, the last two playing each other, etc.

    Comment by G — May 19, 2011 @ 8:09 am

  21. With so many potential rounds, how about cutting down the LCS to just 5 games? Otherwise the playoffs are just too long. I remember thinking last year, by time the World Series came around, I was just plain bored with it all. Too many postseason games=loss of drama.

    How bout this:

    3 gm WC series (all in one city)
    5 gm DS
    5 gm LCS
    7 gm WS

    Have we even begun to consider what happens when we need a game 163 to determine the 2nd Wild Card?

    All in all, it could be a fun format, but what a crapshoot!

    Comment by Ken — May 19, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

  22. What do you mean crapshoot? I think adding an extra round for wild card teams to prove themself makes it less of a crapshoot and gives everyone the advantage they deserve. You have the best record, home field advantage, you win your division, you don’t have to play the wild card round, you have the better of the 2 wild card records, you have home field in that. It’s beautiful, last year you had the Rays and Yanks playing for nothing, home field doesn’t mean much in a 5 game series (there is statistical proof of that). With this, winning your division means more, and we don’t have to cut anyone out of the playoffs to do it.

    As for cutting the LCS, I don’t like that. If you’re bored of playoff baseball…why are you posting on such a hardcore baseball site? I love baseball. I’d like it to be 3-7-7-7 if possible. That’s only 24 games, just shorten the schedule.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 6, 2011 @ 4:37 am

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