Fall baseball is the best kind of baseball. Cooling temperatures, postseason drama, the suspense of every pitch, and best of all, that buzz emanating from a raucous northeast crowd. (Sorry, but no one does postseason baseball like the northeast. You know I’m right.) Anyway, it’s great. It’s all great, almost perfect in fact. Almost…
Yes, the MLB Playoffs need one crucial change… an extended Divisional Series.
Five games isn’t long enough and it’s almost unfair to the top seeds in each league. Teams play 162 games and prove themselves to be the elite. Major League Baseball then rewards them with a week off and a gunshot series against a team soaring off a Wildcard Series victory? It doesn’t make sense.
Baseball players don’t need days off. In fact, in most cases, days off are a disaster for a hot player/team. The only time a Major League player has the amount of time off that the Braves, Dodgers, Orioles and Astros received last week is the All-Star Break (injury obviously excluded). This isn’t football where an extra week of rest does wonders. Baseball is a timing sport. Timing gets lost without repetition.
So what’s the fix? There’s no perfect medicine here. With six playoff teams, byes are a necessity. Adding two additional playoff teams would further water down a regular season already lacking urgency until late summer. The only real option is extending the Divisional Series to seven games. Seven games allow the higher seeds more time to find the timing and rhythm that made them one of baseball’s four best.
I’m not done. On top of that, the top seeds should receive a heavy home field advantage. What the bleep is “heavy” home field advantage? It’s pretty simple. The higher seed gets Games 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 all at home. So instead of the usual four home games in a seven game series, the top seed gets five. Note: This is ONLY for the Divisional Series. In the League Championship Series it would revert to the traditional seven game format.
I should also offer that I am not a Dodgers, Orioles or Braves fan. I despise two of them, in fact. I simply find it lame that teams who dominate a 162 game season see their summer of work go up in flames over a four day stretch after sitting for a week. Should truly elite teams overcome and advance? Of course, but there should also be a greater reward for being the best after a six month slog.
Thursday Night Pick; Broncos +10.5