Dec
03

A shorter postseason but with more games

By

When the Yankees wrapped up their World Series title nearly a month ago, they did so after what seemed to be an eternity of post-season baseball. The playoffs stretched on and on and on, and when Robinson Cano fielded the final out of the World Series, the Yanks had played 15 games over a span of 31 calendar days. It was a problem.

The flow of the playoffs for anyone trying to watch or anyone trying to play just seemed wrong. The Yanks and Twins played a three-game set over five days and never faced off on back-to-back days. Then, although both the Angels and Yankees had wrapped up their respective Division Series, the two teams sat through four off days just to accommodate television schedules. The ALCS was a six-game set that spanned ten days.

By the end of the playoffs, the Yankees had played on back-to-back nights just five times and played three games in a row just once. It resembled a regular season basketball schedule more than a baseball schedule, and it allowed the Yanks to use just three starters the whole way through. Baseball had managed to turn the playoffs into something nearly unrecognizable. It did not resemble the day-in, day-out pace of a 162-game regular season played over approximately 185 days.

The obvious culprit is television. In 2007, at the request of TBS and FOX, Bud Selig added an extra day off to the LCS rounds and stretched out the Division Series as well. Instead of the 2-2-1 five-game sets and the 2-3-2 seven-game sets, the Division Series were a mess, and the LCS round would be played as a 2-2-1-2 set barring rain outs. Baseball would stretch endlessly into November.

With his confirmation as the new head of the Players Association yesterday, Michael Weiner said that the playoff format needs to change. “Everybody’s in agreement that the postseason schedule needs some adjustment,” Weiner said. “I’m a hockey fan as well as a baseball fan, and the pace of play this postseason was more of the way you expect a hockey season to go than a baseball season to go.”

His proposal — and one that should be endorsed by both Selig and the TV executives — involves lengthening the division series to seven games and shortening the overall time it takes to conclude the playoffs. It should include variable start dates for the LCS and World Series rounds based upon the conclusions of the prior rounds and will feature fewer off-days. “There is a lot of sentiment for a seven-game division series,” Weiner said. “I think a properly constructed postseason schedule could accommodate three seven-game series but still have it extend over a shorter period of time than what happened this year.”

The seven-game series would even the playing field and allow for a better representation of a team’s true ability while providing higher gate totals and seemingly better ratings. It just makes sense.

For now, though, this plan will remain one on paper. The PA and owners won’t adjust the format until the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires after the 2011 season, and then, we should expect to see some playoff changes. Both sides should agree that it would be for the good of the game to streamline October and improve the playoff flow.

Categories : Playoffs

84 Comments»

  1. 5th Starter says:

    Why does a change need to be ok’d by the Collective Bargain Agreement when other changes such as instant reply have been instituted?

    • Rose says:

      I’m assuming because instant replay has no bearing on a players “health” or time spent working, etc…whereas less off days and more games played certainly does.

    • The players approved MLB’s request for instant replay. Changing the playoff schedule requires a bit more negotiation.

      • DP says:

        Possibly because they have to be paid more for playing two extra games?

        • A.D. says:

          Technically players don’t get anything for the postseason now. There is a bonus if they win the WS, but no compensation for making it to the first round of playoffs, and it doesn’t allow players to hit milestones in their contract, i.e. games started or inning pitched.

          • DP says:

            Oh, didn’t know that. Thanks

          • That’s not true. Every player who plays in a postseason game gets a playoff share. Even the Red Sox this year earned over $28,000 per player.

            • A.D. says:

              Well shows what I know.

              My bad.

            • DP says:

              Dammit. I knew I was right!

            • Rose says:

              I’ve always wondered this…somebody once told me that when players play in another state…they are subject to being taxed by that state. So if Arod plays a 3 game series in Chicago, Illinois taxes him a prorated amount for the time spent “working” in Chicago. Not sure if that’s true or not…

              • A.D. says:

                Yeah thats the case, works for jobs where you travel a lot too, there could be a threshold i.e. min 10 days in a given state.

              • toad says:

                It’s considered “Illinois source income,” and hence taxable in Illinois, etc. It can be quite a nightmare to deal with.

                I once knew someone who did tax work for entertainers who did concert tours, earning income in lots of states. Getting it all straight was a job.

          • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

            I seem to recall something about the 2nd place team in a division (I am not even talking about wild card teams here, I am saying teams that do not even make the playoffs but finish second in their division) even getting a small cut of the playoff money for some reason. Something like 5 percent or something of the total player playoff take (anybody know the exact set up here?)

  2. A.D. says:

    Works for me, the more games played in each round, the more likely the better team wins.

    • toad says:

      True, but this whole “crapshoot” business is much exaggerated. The probability that the better team wins the series is only very slightly higher for seven games than five.

      I’d leave the division series at five to help keep the playoffs shorter.

  3. Jake H says:

    I don’t know if I like the 7 game series to start but I like less off days.

    • DP says:

      As a Yankees fan, we should all approve of the 7 game series part. It decreases the chances of a fluke or a lesser team winning (more often than not, we’re the better team. see: 2006)

      • OldYanksFan says:

        When Selig was asked why the DS was only 5 games and not extented to 7, his answer was that the season would be too long… that we did not have enough days. And then, a year later, he instituted all these mind-numbing PS off-days, and still held the DS at 5 games.

        Why such a contradiction?

        Because Selig NEEDS to prove parity. He can stand a similar group of teams winning the Division and WC year in and year out, as long as there is some variety in the WS winner.

        Bud does NOT want to see the Sox or Yankees win every WS.
        Bud DOES want WC teams and non-east coast teams to win the WS.
        Simply look at the last 10 years, and tell me how many times the BEST team in MLB won the WS… and you will find it’s less then 50%.

        Some of this is just the random nature of baseball, but a lot of it is the design of the Post Season, which is designed to give the lesser teams a fighting chance.

      • DonnieBaseballHallofFame says:

        I like the idea as a baseball fan but that would not have been friendly to how the Yanks pitching staff was constructed.

        Also I think our team has some seasoned veteran players who may either benefit or not fall off as much as some of these younger guys on other teams who might be more nervous due to all the off days. Gives them more time to think about how the Yankees are going to stomp them. This can not be proven and I am not sure I even believe it but it is possible.

  4. Rose says:

    As a baseball fan I love this idea…you get to see even more baseball in a shorter period of time. As much as I like watching the other games on off days…I’d rather see more of the Yankees.

    Unfortunately, this could hurt the Yankees if they have a similar pitching staff as they did in 2009…banking on just a 3 man rotation…with more games in the LDS and less off days.

    • A.D. says:

      Yeah this would effectively end teams cutting out the 4th starter all together, and potentially mean the use of a 5th starter.

      • jsbrendog says:

        which is frightening for everyone because no team has a 5th starter they want tp parade out in the postseason

        • OldYanksFan says:

          True… but doesn’t this mimick the way the regular season works? Don’t teams get to the PS based on what a 5 man rotation does… as opposed to a 3 man rotation?

          I for one don’t want to see teams like the 2001 Diamondbacks (2 Aces and 3 no-names) winning in the PS. The 162 game regular season is more indicative of who has the best team, rather then a 19 game PS.

          While the Yanks benefitted from it this year, it still sucks. PS rotations, BPs and benches should have the same stress as the regular season, and managers should need to manage with the resources they have, and not depend on off days so they can win with 2/3rds of their rosters.

    • Evil Empire says:

      Yeah I am all for this idea. More October baseball in a condensed timeframe? Please make this happen!

      I don’t see the Yankees needing to bank on a 3 man rotation in 2010 though. Joba, Hughes, or a new acquisition will be able to adequately perform in that role.

      It would certainly enhance the overall value of the #4 starter to a certain degree in general though.

  5. His proposal — and one that should be endorsed by both Selig and the TV executives — involves lengthening the division series to seven games and shortening the overall time it takes to conclude the playoffs.

    (applause)

    It should include variable start dates for the LCS and World Series rounds based upon the conclusions of the prior rounds and will feature fewer off-days.

    (thunderous applause)

    Now, let’s finish it off: HFA is determined by best record for every series, even the World Series. Screw the All Star Game.

  6. Kiersten says:

    Just FYI, there are only 7 games in the LCS.

  7. Michael Weiner said that the playoff format needs to change. “Everybody’s in agreement that the postseason schedule needs some adjustment,” Weiner said. “I’m a hockey fan as well as a baseball fan, and the pace of play this postseason was more of the way you expect a hockey season to go than a baseball season to go.

    I like how Wiener first admits that he’s a hockey fan, and then immediately says we have to do something to change baseball to keep it from resembling hockey.

    Backhanded compliments FTW.

    • This would be a burn, except:

      ““I’m a hockey basketball fan as well as a baseball fan, and the pace of play this postseason was more of the way you expect a hockey basketball season to go than a baseball season to go.”

      Doesn’t change his point. And, since he chose hockey over basketball, at least in this one discrete situation:

      Hockey: 1
      Basketball: 0

      • But… he DIDN’T say basketball. He DID say hockey.

        You’re not going to slander basketball by saying that the fact that it wasn’t explicitly denigrated the way hockey was means that it’s somehow one-upped by inclusion in denigration rather than exclusion in denigration.

        What you just did would be the literal definition of “putting words in someone’s mouth”. For shame, Mondesi.

        Hockey: 1
        Basketball: 0

        Baseball: 1
        Hockey: 0
        Basketball: N/A

        • Rose says:

          But he chose to say Hockey…which means that he clearly likes Hockey more than Basketball…or he would have said Basketball instead. You’re not exactly putting words in his mouth…the strategy and logic could be used and probably be successful to sway the jury in any courtroom haha

          • But he chose to say Hockey…which means that he clearly likes Hockey more than Basketball…or he would have said Basketball instead.

            No, it doesn’t “clearly” mean that he likes hockey more than basketball.

            It may mean, simply, that he’s a fan of baseball, hockey, AND basketball, but he chose to mention hockey because it was the least desirable of the three, and thus, made the best and most impactful negative comparison to use as a cautionary tale of what is wrong with the current baseball playoff format.

            The absence of basketball in his quote is not telling or instructive in any manner. He’s silent on the subject. He may love the NBA, he may hate the NBA, we don’t know, we can’t know.

            What we do know is this:

            He’s a hockey fan, and yet he thinks the hockey season is poorly constructed and doesn’t want baseball to resemble it.

            • Rose says:

              What you don’t know is…Michael Weiner is, in fact, Barry Melrose.

            • We also know that he’s a hockey fan. We don’t know that he’s a basketball fan. And since he mentioned hockey and not basketball I think it’s a safe inference, while admittedly an assumption, that he likes hockey more than basketball, since he self-identified as a hockey fan before self-identifying as a basketball fan.

              I am going to slander basketball by saying that the fact that it wasn’t explicitly denigrated the way hockey was means that it’s somehow one-upped by inclusion in denigration rather than exclusion in denigration. That’s exactly what I’m doing, and I’m right.

              You have two sports with identical playoff structures. In making a comparison to baseball’s playoff structure, this person chose to self-identify as a hockey fan and compare baseball to hockey instead of self-identifying as a basketball fan and comparing baseball to basketball, even though the same exact comparison could be made to either sport’s playoff structure. Since both sports have the same exact characteristic that he’s referring to negatively, but he chose to self-identify as a fan of one sport instead of the other, again, in this one discrete situation:

              Hockey: 1
              Basketball: 0

              • And since he mentioned hockey and not basketball I think it’s a safe inference, while admittedly an assumption, that he likes hockey more than basketball, since he self-identified as a hockey fan before self-identifying as a basketball fan.

                No, that’s not a safe inference.

                I mention basketball a lot. Does that mean I love basketball more than pussy? No, it does not.

                Come on, Mondesi, you know logic better than this. You’re reaching.

                • Rose says:

                  I mention basketball a lot. Does that mean I love basketball more than pussy? No, it does not.

                  http://www.econsciousmarket.co.....ranges.jpg (SAFE)

                • Totally disagree.

                  We know you like both basketball and pussy. We know that this Weiner guy considers himself a hockey fan, but we don’t know that he considers himself a basketball fan (at all).

                  And given the chance to self-identify as a fan of one sport, he chose hockey. I infer from that that he’s more of a hockey fan than a basketball fan, if he’s even a basketball fan at all. People tend to mention the sports they’re bigger fans of first, and the sports they’re less a fan of later.

                  “I mention basketball a lot. Does that mean I love basketball more than pussy? No, it does not.”

                  You mention basketball a lot while chatting with people on a sports blog, but I would imagine if you were chatting on a sex blog, you’d mention pussy more than you’d mention basketball. That comparison is weak and you know it. The more apt comparison would be ‘on a sports blog, you discuss basketball more than you discuss hockey, so I infer that you like basketball more than hockey.’ I mean, come on, man.

                • Exactly. They’re apples and oranges.

                  Me saying “I love apples”, however, does not mean that I love apples more than oranges simply because I mentioned apples and not oranges.

                  If all I say is “I love apples”, you cannot speak intelligently on how much I love or do not love oranges in relation to apples, because I haven’t said anything about my love of oranges or the relative comparison between the two.

                • But Mondesi, he’s not simply self-identifying as a hockey fan in the abstract. He’s not sitting at a bar, and someone was all “So, what sports do you like?” and he said “I like hockey”.

                  He mentioned being a hockey fan SPECIFICALLY IN THE CONTEXT OF TALKING ABOUT HOW ITS SEASON STRUCTURE IS FLAWED and how he doesn’t want baseball to end up like that. He used his hockey fandom ONLY TO TALK ABOUT WHAT IS WRONG WITH IT. Not to say that he likes it more than basketball, or that it also has the same problem as basketball, or to say ANYTHING about basketball.

                  Extrapolating Wiener’s statement to mean that hockey is somehow better than basketball, SIMPLY BECAUSE BASKETBALL WAS NOT MENTIONED IN A CONTEXTUAL COMMENT TALKING ABOUT HOW HOCKEY IS FLAWED, is fucking batshit insane and you know it.

                • Rose says:

                  No, but based on the evidence surrounding you I can make a VERY VERY GOOD hypothesis…that would probably have a 98% chance of being proven true.

                  If there was an apple in front of you and you yelled out “I LOVE APPLES!” then we could accurately assume you were saying that because they were laying right in front of you and nothing else.

                  If there was absolutely no reference to an apple or no sign of any apples around you at all…and you got up and yelled “I LOVE APPLES”…we could then accurately assume that you have some psychotic apple fetish and need extensive therapy…oh…and that you liked apples a hell of a lot more than other fruits…

                • Hockey and basketball have the same exact playoff structure. When Weiner wanted to compare baseball’s playoff structure to the hockey/basketball playoff structure, he, without thinking, self-identified as a hockey fan instead of self-identifying as a basketball fan.

                  Is this definitive proof that he likes hockey more than basketball, or apples, or pussy? No. But since apples and pussy are inapplicable, and he chose to self-identify as a hockey fan and not a basketball fan, in this one discrete situation:

                  Hockey: 1
                  Basketball: 0

                • Bob B. says:

                  Sounds more like he’s mention that he’s a hockey fan to give some level of credibility to his knowledge of that sport’s playoff format. To say the hockey format is flawed is a stretch. Hockey puts a fan greater wear on the body and one can argue that the format is more important in the sport. He’s only saying that he doesn’t want to see that format in baseball because in baseball that format isn’t the right fit for the sport much like what Ben said as well.

                • “No, but based on the evidence surrounding you I can make a VERY VERY GOOD hypothesis”

                  Rose’s point is important… I’m not saying there’s definitive proof of anything here, just that, given the evidence we have, I think Weiner’s probably a bigger hockey fan than he is a basketball fan. As I said from the start, my opinion is based on this one discrete situation.

                  If I was trying to make the point Weiner is making, I’d bring up hockey, too… Because I’m more of a hockey fan than I am a basketball fan. So, since Weiner self-identified as a hockey fan and brought up hockey instead of basketball, I think he’s more of a hockey fan than a basketball fan.

                  There’s no definitive statement there. I gave an opinion, backed by what I think is a reasonable thought-process. You can disagree, but it’s certainly not batshit-insane or definitively wrong.

            • “What we do know is this:
              He’s a hockey fan, and yet he thinks the hockey season is poorly constructed and doesn’t want baseball to resemble it.”

              We also know, because this is an objective matter and not a matter of opinion, that the same exact comparison could be made the NBA playoff structure. So the comparison itself doesn’t reflect negatively on hockey relative to basketball. It reflects negatively on both hockey and basketball relative to baseball, but not relative to each other.

              And we know that he’s a hockey fan, but we don’t know that he’s a basketball fan.

              Sorry for the repetition, but:

              Hockey: 1
              Basketball: 0

              • Your repetition is still false.

                We know NOTHING of Wiener’s views on basketball. NOTHING. We don’t even know if he thinks their season structures or playoff structures are similar.

                All we know is, he denigrated hockey’s season structure, and he’s a hockey fan. Any inferential one-upsmanship of basketball based on that statement is a logical fallacy.

                His statement is mute in relation to basketball. That’s not a bad thing, or a good thing. It’s a non-thing.

                You’re being foolish, Mondesi.

                • This is a rather silly argument you two are having. Just my 2¢.

                • Rose says:

                  Ben,

                  Are you telling me that it’s not eating you up inside that you don’t know whether or not Michael Weiner likes Hockey more than Basketball??

                • Stay out of it, Kabak!

                  TSJC –

                  We know 3 things here. (1) He doesn’t think baseball should have the same playoff structure as hockey, (2) hockey and basketball have the same playoff structure and (3) he’s a hockey fan. If we’re bringing basketball into this conversation, you have to acknowledge that this perceived knock you think he’s delivering to hockey could be interchangeably delivered to basketball. Thus, it’s not a point for basketball over hockey, it’s a push. The only point here goes to hockey, since we know that Weiner is a hockey fan.

                  Hockey: 1
                  Basketball: 0

                  That’s all it boils down to.

                • If we’re bringing basketball into this conversation,

                  Something that YOU DID, mind you, not me,

                  you have to acknowledge that this perceived knock you think he’s delivering to hockey could be interchangeably delivered to basketball.

                  Abso-frickenlutely it can. But it wasn’t.

                  Thus, it’s not a point for basketball over hockey, it’s a push.

                  Which means, your equation should be:

                  Baseball: 1
                  Hockey: 0
                  Basketball: N/A

                  As I said before.

                  The only point here goes to hockey, since we know that Weiner is a hockey fan.

                  No. That does NOT follow logically. A man saying “I’m a hockey fan and a baseball fan and I don’t want baseball to end up like hockey” in the context of talking about what to do to fix baseball does not logically lead you to the conclusion that he likes hockey more than basketball. It just doesn’t. It requires accepting things as fact that are not facts, because there is no evidence on the matter one way or the other. There are numerous reasons why this guy may like basketball more, less, or the same as hockey but not mention it because hockey was the more appropriate sport to mention in the context of this particular persuasive argument. You know this.

                  Baseball: 1
                  Hockey: 0
                  Basketball: N/A

                • Actually, no. Your perceived knock wasn’t a knock at all.

                  So it’s not:

                  Baseball: 1
                  Hockey: 0
                  Basketball: 0

                  There’s no statement that one is better than the other (between baseball and hockey), only a statement that baseball’s postseason shouldn’t resemble hockey’s.

                  So there’s no knock against hockey, and we know that Michael Weiner is a hockey fan while we don’t know if he’s a basketball fan.

                • Rose says:

                  Wouldn’t it be

                  Baseball: 1
                  Hockey: 1
                  Basketball: N/A

                  Since we know he likes both Baseball AND Hockey…as he clearly stated…but we have no idea how he feels about Basketball.

                  Wouldn’t a score of

                  Baseball: 1
                  Hockey: 0
                  Basketball: 0

                  Imply that he likes baseball more than hockey and basketball…and bring us back to the very original argument we are trying to conclude? lol

                • Spaceman.Spiff says:

                  Hey, TJSC and Mondesi, can I see your Philosophy degrees, you wiseasses.

                • Rose says:

                  Oh cmon Astro-nut, I made my fair share of good points too…it’s because I don’t show off with the big words, isn’t it? lol

    • You know… After this whole retarded conversation, I’m coming back to one simple point… Weiner never denigrated the hockey postseason, he just pointed out that the hockey (or basketball) postseason structure wouldn’t be the best postseason structure for baseball. That’s not denigrative of hockey’s postseason at all.

      Look at is this way… If MLB went to one-game playoffs played only on weekends, and I said ‘I’m a football fan as well as a baseball fan, and the pace of postseason play was more of the way you expect a football season to go than a baseball season to go,’ I wouldn’t be denigrating football or football’s postseason structure. Your entire premise is faulty.

  8. Accent Shallow says:

    I don’t like the idea of a 7-game LDS, but compressing the playoff schedule is a necessity.

  9. pat says:

    Lets not kid ourselves, those extra off days allowed us to use a three man rotation throughout the playoffs. It definitely worked to our advantage last year.

    • Counterargument:

      Having 4 good starters when other teams only had 3 helped us win the titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000.

      These things come in ebbs and flows. I’ll bet we generally benefit from a postseason that more closely mirrors the regular season, though, as extra off days allow a thinner team (our opponent) to better mask the holes in their lineup/rotation/bullpen that we generally don’t have (since we’re usually the better 25-man club from top to bottom).

    • Evil Empire says:

      Absolutely no question about that. And if the Yankees acquire another quality starter, they could use this new proposed format, if it ever gets implemented, to their advantage as well, by gearing up to have a powerful 1 through 4.

      • scoopemup says:

        Pitching will become more of a priority because teams will need to add another stellar starter and every team hoping for a shot at the ring will have to pony up big bucks for that,inflating their payrolls.

        P.S. I wonder how this will affect Cashmans plans,( if implemented)i.e. does he go heavy now for Halladay?

        • Wouldn’t it make him LESS likely to go for Halladay?

          With fewer off days and a condensed schedule, depth will be a bigger premium. Having the 3-4 good prospects it takes to get Halladay may be worth more than Halladay, all things considered.

          Even if Joba or Hughes (who would be the main player swapped out for Halladay) are only, say, 60-70% of his level of dominance, that may easily be offset by the contributions of the guys like McAllister/Romine/Melancon/etc., whomever else is in the Halladay package.

          Just a thought.

          • scoopemup says:

            I agree,keep the blue chips,and spend money next year…prudently of course,but i sort of trust cash to be prudent.We don’t need to mortage our future.

      • They could still win the WS with the 1-4 they have now, IMO.

        • scoopemup says:

          They could very well be better than many sceptics(sp) claim.especialy with a core of battle tested vets on hand to help out.

  10. X says:

    now when Derek passes Manny for all time post season HR leader, everyone will cry foul saying he had more games, meanwhile nobody gives Mantle any credit that he did it ONLY in World Series or Ruth in 152 games.

  11. toad says:

    Ruth in 152 games.

    They played 154 games, not 152, though in 1927 Ruth missed 3. Maris played 161 in 1961, but didn’t homer until his 11th game.

    Best response I’ve heard to all that asterisk business came from an old-timer who had played with Ruth – I’ve forgotten who – who said,

    “It’s stupid. Hell, Babe would have spotted him eight games.”

    • Ruth: “You’re adding 8 games to the season? Huh. Am I getting paid more? No? Then FUCK THAT SHIT. Play Wally Pipp more. I’ll be at the bar.”

      …aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!

      • toad says:

        Discussion after the 1926 season:

        “Ruth is a FA this year. Think we should go after him?”

        “Nah. He’ll be 32, he wants at least 5 years at A-Rod money, and he’s a drinker who doesn’t take good care of himself. Besides, he’ll cost two draft picks. Too risky.”

  12. Joey H says:

    “the Yanks had played 15 games over a span of 31 calendar days. It was a problem.” Sure. If you have a problem with baseball lasting longer but this also allowed them to use a 3 man rotation for every series.

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