Bud Selig’s Suggestion Box: Regarding Playoff Expansion


Hi Bud! It’s me, Eric.

I know we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on things. That’s okay. I’m willing to let bygones be bygones if you are.

The reason I’m writing today is because I have some ideas which I believe represent improvements on your own ideas. This is not to say that I think your ideas aren’t already good. Rather, I think I can make them even better.

It looks like your plan to expand the playoffs to 10 teams will pass a vote and be implemented at some point in the next few years. Congratulations! My question is: Why stop at 10? If we have already committed ourselves to the idea that the extra revenue (or excitement or whatever) that would be generated by adding two more playoff teams trumps the fact that the 162 game regular season should be as meaningful as possible by maximizing the chance that the most deserving teams have of winning in the postseason, why not just go all-in and literally let them all in?

First things first, you would need to expand the league to 32 teams to make the numbers work out. No problem. Maybe put one team in Charlotte and one in Memphis or something like that. (If one of those doesn’t work, you could always get the Expos back together.) With 16 teams now in each league in the playoffs, you would only be adding two rounds. Make the first and second rounds best of three game series, and we are only talking about adding, at most, six games per team to the season.

Think of all that money. All that excitement. It would be like your very own NCAA tournament! Here’s a scenario for you to ponder: After 162 games, the Astros go 56-106 and are paired against the 102-60 Phillies in the first round of the playoffs. As is quite possible in such a small sample of games, the Phillies lose two of three and are bounced from the playoffs by the worst team in baseball. Wouldn’t it be fun to see all the good work the Phillies did during the regular season be placed on the line in a short series in which random variance is king?

If you don’t like this idea, I have a backup plan: ALL PLAYOFF EVERYTHING. Let’s ditch the regular season all together. From opening day forth, everything is one big playoff.  Using the seeding from the season before, the teams would play a single elimination tournament consisting of 31-game series. Meanwhile, losing teams would play consolation series to keep busy. In my humble opinion, this is the perfect middle ground for the hardcore “Playoffsareacrapshootists” and the lovers of playoff intrigue such as yourself. True, fans may tire of seeing their teams face the same opponent  so many times in a row, but they can rest assured that every game will be played in a “playoff atmosphere.”

I hope you’ll consider my suggestions and I look forward to hearing back from you.



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Eric writes about the Phillies at The Good Phight. Follow him on Twitter.

11 Responses to “Bud Selig’s Suggestion Box: Regarding Playoff Expansion”

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  1. Kyle says:

    Hear, effin’, hear.

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  2. TC says:

    No inclusion of minor league teams? I’d bet money the Yankees’ AAA affiliate could take the Astros in a three game series

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  3. jake says:

    You should probably also do a full league-wide redraft before every round and televise that. It would be so exciting, and then we could get to see the superstars play no matter what every single round!

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  4. glassSheets says:

    The “H” is for Huber.

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  5. Yirmiyahu says:

    I enjoyed the satire.

    But to be serious, I disagree with your premise. You’re implying that deciding the World Series based on a small sampling of games is unfair or an imprecise method of measuring talent. But this isn’t an election we’re talking about. The idea isn’t to use a precise system to decide the mathematically best team. If a 10-team playoff is a little less fair and less likely to award the World Series crown to the ‘best’ team… who cares?

    I’ve always thought that it’s pretty unfair that left-handed batters, by virtue of their genes, get to see opposite-handed pitchers 2/3rds of the time.

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  6. reillocity says:

    The basic problem that I have with your 30-team playoff is the use of an antiquated statistic, team wins, to seed the clubs. FanGraphs’ Team Wins Above Replacement is a better metric for ranking the teams. So in reality the top-seeded Red Sox should be hosting the 30th-seeded Mariners in the first round of the 2011 edition of the 30-team playoff. Your Phillies and my Astros are in fact the 13th and 23rd seeds in such a tournament.

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    • glassSheets says:

      One flaw here is with 30 teams the top two teams would have to get byes (or a complicated bracket would be drawn up). That would leave your Mariners playing the third seeded team.

      I actually like keeping it at 30 teams. That way the top seeded teams get byes and it makes every game matter in the regular season.

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  7. ElJosharino says:

    Who says we need to keep this thing within one calendar year? Here’s my proposal: Each calendar year will be a best of 365 game series. The regular season consists of not 162 games, but 162 365 game series (no interleague). Regular season records will determine the seeding for the first round of the playoffs. The first round of the playoffs will be a Round Robin lasting 31 years (because we’re still expanding to 32 teams to make the next part work). Each team plays a best of 365 game set against each other team. The results of the round robin would determine the seeds of 1-32 for the double elimination tournament. The tourney is of course 6 rounds (7 if necessary) of best of 365. Should the tourney go the full 7 rounds, that gives us a nice even 200-year season+postseason.

    Oh, what’s that Cub fans? You’re sad about not winning the World Series in over 100 years? See how you feel after not winning it for over 20,000 years!

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  8. juan pierre's mustache says:

    seriously though, you guys should probably take this down before Bud sees it and starts doing some all too dangerous thinking

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