Did someone say extended playoffs? We’re looking for the perfect postseason format for MLB

I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve never craved stories about which players have shown up to spring training in the best shape of their lives more than I do right now. As the labor gridlock enters its third month, with the start of the regular season now in jeopardy, we unfortunately have time to delve into one of the central issues at stake: playoff expansion. The owners have proposed a 14-team postseason, while the players have responded with a 12-team setup, though they will undoubtedly accept 14 if the owners lean into specific salary disputes.

Baseball has always prided itself on the fact that it’s harder to get to the postseason than other major sports, with 10 playoff teams currently compared to 14 in the NFL and 16 in the NBA and NHL. However, it’s a world of big events these days, and the lure of TV profits is too tempting to resist. Don’t act so surprised. More playoff games would generate additional national television revenue on top of the $1.76 billion a year that deals with Fox, ESPN and TBS will pay through 2028.

So extended playoffs are inevitable, but what’s the best format to crown a champion? The playoffless but exquisitely simple system used in the Premier League in England (each team plays the other 19 teams home and away) is not an option here in the colonies, while the chaos of March Madness (March Madness) is probably too extreme for a tradition-bound sport like baseball.

I think there are four important factors to consider here:

1) The integrity of the regular season. The beauty of baseball is a team that proves itself in the 162-game grind, so regular-season success should weigh heavily in any postseason format, whether it’s limiting the number of teams that make it or rewarding to the best teams with higher seeds or be bye.

2) How fair is the playoff format? Crown a true champion based on that regular season success? Do you like random champions or a system where top teams prevail more often? Everyone’s been enjoying Cinderellas from the start of the NCAA tournament, but you don’t want four No. 11 seeds in the Final Four. A format with too many one-game matchups or three-game series can create too many upsets.

3) The fun factor. On the other hand, elimination games are fun!

4) Drama. There should be a buildup of excitement from the regular season through October.

Okay, let’s take a look and give a completely scientific and objective rating to postseason formats past, present and potentially future…

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Did someone say extended playoffs? We’re looking for the perfect postseason format for MLB