As the Baltimore Orioles, the No. 1 American League winning percentage, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the second-ranked National League winning percentage, are on the verge of being eliminated from the division series in an instant, some argued that the postseason format should be changed.
Ken Rosenthal, a reporter for the U.S. media outlet The Athletic, said on the 10th (Korea Standard Time), “Will the Major League postseason format need to be changed at a time when higher-seeded teams lose their advantages?” and argued that the Major League postseason format needs to be changed.
Currently, Major League Baseball is a structure in which the top two winning teams in each league district go directly to the division series, and the remaining one team in the district and three wild card teams play a wild card series and advance to the division series.
In the postseason this season, teams that played wild card series are showing strength. In the American League, Texas (90-72), which beat Tampa Bay (99-63) with two wins in the wild card series, preempted two wins against Baltimore (101-61), while Arizona (84-78), which defeated Miami (84-78), with two wins in the National League, won two against the Dodgers (100-62). Minnesota (87-75) and Philadelphia (90-72) also won the first game, but Houston (90-72) and Atlanta (104-58) won the second game, recovering from the first game loss.
“The five-day break after the regular season is not the reason why Baltimore lost two games to Texas,” Rosenthal said. It is not the reason why the Dodgers lost to Arizona even after Clayton Kershaw in the first game. Even if top-seeded teams are eliminated from this round, it won’t be for that reason, he said. “However, Atlanta’s loss in Game 1 of the Division Series for the second consecutive year leads us to discuss the fairness of the current postseason format.”
The team that always performed well in the regular season in the postseason does not win. Since 1969, when each league was divided by district and the League Championship Series (1969) and Division Series (1995) were introduced, numerous upsets have occurred. Reporter Rosenthal also said, “Since the league was separated by districts in 1969, there is no easy answer. From that moment on, we can’t guarantee that the team with the best performance in the regular season will advance to the World Series,” he admitted.
However, reporter Rosenthal said, “The top two teams of each district’s winning teams going straight to the division series will create a five-day break.” That level of rest may be too long, he said, explaining that top-seeded teams in the current format are rather suffering.
Reporter Rosenthal, who stressed that it was not enough for top teams to take home advantage, suggested an alternative to John Smoltz, a legendary pitcher inducted into the Hall of Fame, and the current KBO League postseason format. 파친코
Smoltz proposed eliminating the break between Game 3 of the wild card series and Game 1 of the division series. However, the proposal has a problem that Game 3 of the wild card series should be held as a daytime game in consideration of the travel time of each team, and that the wild card series winning team must end the series with two wins unconditionally in order to have a rest day.
What Rosenthal paid attention to was the KBO League postseason wild card game. KBO starts the series with a one-win advantage to the fourth-place team in the wild card game. The fourth-place team only needs a draw to advance to the semi-playoff, and the fifth-place team needs to win two games unconditionally to advance to the semi-playoff.
“We can borrow the concept from KBO and give one win to a direct team in the division series and start the series,” said reporter Rosenthal, who claimed, “Then the direct team only needs to win two games and the bottom-seeded team needs to win three games. (Potentially, league profits could be lost.) However, KBO also explained that this method is only used in wild card games, which are best-of-three games.”
Ultimately, expanding the league to 32 teams could be the solution, said Rosenthal, who said it was difficult to solve this problem. Then the number of postseason teams can be increased to 16 and everyone will start their schedule fairly. Of course, there is a risk that teams with good performances in the regular season will be disadvantaged. Consider the impact of the 16th seed team beating the first seed team, he said. “It will be difficult to be truly fair in any way.”