Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Genius Maker #61

I have written this a few times over the years but after the great game yesterday it lends itself to bring it up again as it has been awhile. The idea started back around 1995 when the wild card was brought into baseball and I don't think (I really don't remember) I can take all of the credit for this idea, in fact it probably was mostly from my brother or maybe we just talked it through?...Either way, we didn't like the idea of putting in another wild card team. Our feeling was after 162 games, if you don't finish in 1st place then what does it matter if you are better than a team in another division? You aren't the best so you shouldn't be in the playoffs to prove it. This thought is even more true with the unbalanced schedule where you play the teams in your division 19 times; you can't say you didn't have enough opportunity to prove your superiority.

In coming up a playoff scenario that works there a lot of factors to take into consideration. Some of these would be:
1) Having more teams keeps the interest of more fans/teams because of the greater chance for the post season
2) More playoff games means more revenue
3) More teams in the playoffs means a longer season and you don't want it going too long
4) Not turning the regular season into games that don't mean anything as "everyone" makes the playoffs (See hockey and basketball).
5) Reward a team that wins the division with more than just home field.

Cut to the chase already...what is your playoff idea!

It is really simple...

Keep everything as is, but add another wild card team. Yeah, I know that contradicts my opposition to the wild card to begin with but here is why. You don't add the 2nd wild card to extend the series' in baseball, you add the extra wild card so that they could play the other wild card in a one game "series." The winner of that one game moves on to the 3-5 series (which I would also make all 4 out of 7).

So why is this a good idea?

1) Having the extra team makes the playoffs keeps more fans/teams interested
2) More playoff games means more revenue
3) You get a ton of excitement in a one game is great
4) Most important: You would never have a situation of indifference of whether you win the wild card or win the division; it makes a huge difference as you reward the 3 division winners by not having to play/travel/risk that one game playoff. I think this is a critical component that is missing now.

Some other items for discussion:
1) Shorten the season back to 154 games or some number that works based on the amount of teams. I don't like playing playoff games in the cold as most of the year is not played that way.
2) Keep very little rest between the end of the season and the wild card single game; keep things moving. Division winners should start their post-season 2 or at most 3 days after the end of the season.
3) Stop with so much rest between post-season games. It is absurd that in a 5 game series a team can throw their top 2 guys for 4 (80%) of the games and in a 7 game start 5 of them. While I would have nothing but 7 game series' with one day of rest only, if the 5 game series stayed, there would be no rest.

I am excited to hear how the new Yankee Stadium sounds for the playoffs. Those of you who are going to the playoff game please let me know whether the volume is less or more compared to the old stadium. Time to put on our game face!

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