October 05, 2016
There are so many times that Major League Baseball is just plain stupid.
Stupid was on display with a saving dash of drama on Tuesday night in Toronto where the Blue Jays belted the Baltimore Orioles out of the playoffs with a walk-off home run by Edwin Encarnacion in the 11th inning. It will also be on display on Wednesday night in New York when the San Francisco Giants play the Mets.
No matter how dramatic, no matter how much tension is involved, it is just plain stupid that a six-month, 162-game season can be put on the line with a one-game playoff.
It is a preposterous plan put in place in 2012 by the dunderheads in charge, led by Bud Selig when they wanted to get more teams involved in the postseason.
One game after an entire season?
Major League Baseball has enjoyed terrific success in the postseason and it’s actually fair when they put on an actual series.
There is simply too much at stake for a winner-take-all game. And that too-much-at-stake situation also includes the respective fan bases of the teams involved.
Fans that support and watch a team through an entire cold spring and summer deserve at least a fair chance to continue that experience into the playoffs. Imagine your team making the playoffs – you have paid for tickets through it all – and then you don’t even get a single home game.
The system works in the NFL because the NFL is a series of one-week wars, there is no such thing as a series. From the very roots of the sport as a kid, you play one-and-out in a season of a dozen or so games.
However, in baseball, even the advanced Little Leagues have a series of games, even if it is a double elimination situation.
But somehow Major League Baseball figures one-and-done is a fair method?
There is nothing fair about it. It doesn’t test a starting pitching staff and it turns a bullpen into a carnival. It makes it possible for a team with a far better record to get its season wiped out by a lesser team with one star pitcher.
The real absurdity is that this would be so easy to fix if Major League Baseball would make a simple and sane adjustment of cutting the schedule down from the present 162 games. Doesn’t matter if you cut it down to 154, or whatever number, just slice the schedule and add to the postseason.
Talk to some baseball people and you get the idea that 162 is some mystical number that can’t be changed. They will tell you about the sanctity of records and the value of the best teams over the long haul of a baseball season.
In the first place, the game’s records were trampled during the steroid era and – more importantly, the entire sport has changed, and the leaders of the game refuse to come to terms with the new version they have created.
There is no need for a 162-game schedule.
There is no need to cling to any “history” of the game. Remember, MLB has two different set of rules for each league. It has now been several generations of players who have been playing through a bizarre set of rules that allows one league to use a designated hitter, and another not to use one.
The net result is a World Series fiasco where a player who could be the team’s most valuable player can’t even earn a spot in the lineup. The fact that the team might not even be in the postseason without that player does not enter into the situation.
Then again, this is a sport where the All-Star game is the game that determines which league will get home field in the World Series.
This is also a sport that had no issues with going to interleague play. It is a gimmick of a concept that has become even more intrusive when you remember that teams now play interleague later into the season.
Major League Baseball has made changes over the years, and it is now well beyond time to fix the absurd situation in the postseason. The season is already filled with highlights and there is no reason the leaders of the game cannot make a change that extends that excitement for a week and erases a week or two of bad baseball in April.
It’s great drama that needs to be extended.