The MLB’s day of non-stop postseason games was incredible, but it should not become the norm going forward.
If you’re a baseball fan, Wednesday was hardball heaven. Eight postseason games took place in about a 13-hour time period. That kind of onslaught of playoff baseball has never happened before and it should never happen again.
We enjoyed it and the product on the field was certainly worth watching, but don’t let one fantastic day of baseball change the fabric of the game. Before we rip MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, let’s look at the success of Wednesday’s games.
Throughout a normal season, oftentimes there are day games for the intrepid baseball fan who wants to watch games all day long. However, we have never seen anything like what we witnessed on Wednesday.
With the expanded postseason format, there were eight playoff games taking place in rapid succession throughout the day. The games began at noon with another starting every hour until 5 p.m.
The Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves ended up going to 13 innings because both teams forgot how to score and as a result, there were five playoff games going on at one time. It was baseball Nirvana for a brief moment (unless you bet on the Reds).
The night games didn’t disappoint either. The New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians battled back and forth in a game that took over six hours from when the first pitch was scheduled. Two rain delays and 19 walks slowed the game down to a crawl, but there was no shortage of offense to keep viewers satiated.
The Los Angeles Dodgers snagged an early lead in their Wild Card Series Game 1, but those pesky Milwaukee Brewers didn’t go away. All in all, there was something for every baseball fan on Wednesday — pitching duels, slugfests, bullpen games, and ninth-inning drama.
MLB couldn’t ask for a better result the next time there are this many postseason games on the same day. So Manfred shouldn’t even bother trying to match it.
Don’t Bring Expanded Playoffs To 2021
Baseball fans don’t want or need expanded playoffs after 2020. We all understand the decision to allow 16 teams into the postseason after a 60-game schedule, but it would be ludicrous to make this common practice moving forward.
One of the beautiful things about baseball is that the regular season actually matters. Over the course of a 162-game season, the cream always rises to the top. But with 16 teams making the playoffs — more than half of MLB — there are bound to be some bad teams making it into the postseason.
Sure, there are going to be some upsets in the Wild Card Series given the fact that it is a shortened three-game set. However, that shouldn’t change the bottom line here. Simply put, changing the MLB postseason to a 16-game format would devalue the regular season beyond recognition.
Teams would essentially be playing in a 162-game preseason in preparation for the postseason. That’s not baseball.
Manfred continues to tinker with the game in an effort to attract casual baseball fans. COVID-19 forced new rule changes like the runner on second base in extra innings and the seven-inning doubleheaders, but we don’t need to bring these rules into a normal season.
Baseball purists don’t want these changes. Turning off diehards in an attempt to draw in more casuals feels like robbing Peter to pay Paul. The non-stop games on Wednesday were fun, but there’s no need to bring it into 2021.