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MLB Playoff Expansion

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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#61

Posted: February 11, 2020, 12:44 PM Post
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OldSchoolSnapper said:
I think that people are way overstating the randomness of baseball.

Actually, no. Here is a really good study done at Cornell about the randomness of the four major professional sports leagues (Overview Link and PDF Document Link).

MLB is subject to the most random outcomes of the major professional sports. Here is a blog that uses the above study results to sum up the randomness of the post-season as compared to the NBA, Rethinking our playoff philosophy (on the role of chance in the postseason)...

How long would postseason series need to be in NFL, MLB and NHL to match the NBA’s “better team advances” rate of 80%?

In the NFL, a “best-of-11” series is needed to match the NBA’s better team advances rate.

In the NHL, a “best-of-51” series is needed to match the NBA’s better team advances rate.

And in MLB, an astounding “best-of-75” series is needed to match the NBA’s better team advances rate.

That is, if we wanted postseason formats to be equivalent across leagues, we’d need the NHL and MLB to do complete, and obviously ludicrous, overhauls.


There is a lot more to dive into about the randomness of baseball outcomes, but that sort of captures the gist of how unique MLB variance actually is.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#62

Posted: February 11, 2020, 1:14 PM Post
Posts: 4947
So part of this is Anti-tanking, part of this is TV revenue, let's add one more revenue maker. Take the 8 teams that are wild-cards and have a NBA like lottery. Pick one of the 8 out of a hat. Pick the winner a Draft spot numbered 1-8. The winner gets to pick where that spot is. Bumping everybody down below it. Add to the drama. The team/s with the worst record in baseball that season do the draw from the hats. Meaning if they draw 1 on the 1-8 it's their fault they lost the #1 choice and if it's to a team in their division even worse! They could do this during the selection show for playoff matchups or just at a later time. Imagine if a Wild Card team went on to win the WS and got the #1 pick? Hey and for degenerate gamblers, they now have something else to bet on. 1-8 which team? 1-8 which draft selection?

Maybe baseball they could make a 500 or better rule on this Wildcard series. So Division rank 2 gets a bye also if Wild Card #4 doesn't have at least a .500 record. #3 Division if #3 wildcard doesn't have a 500 record. on and on. I expect 6 teams regularly to be 500 or better. that 7th team though is where 500 records may not be reached. So in essence you reward the #2 Division team with an *bye. And remove the #7 team from that playoff revenue or potential to host games if winning 2 on the road in to the Division series.

I'd add that in my idea above if the team didn't win 500 or more they wouldn't be qualified for that drawing on draft pick. This could make the final series during the regular season matter for such a team if they may fall to 80wins with a loss or 3. So rather than maybe rest a #1 or #2 starter being "in" the wildcard 6 or 7 spot, they aren't actually in until that 81st win.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#63

Posted: February 11, 2020, 1:16 PM Post
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
MLB Attendance by Year:
2019 (68.5 million)
2018 (69.7)
2017 (72.7)
2016 (73.2)
2015 (73.7)
2014 (73.7)
2013 (74.0)
2012 (74.9)
2011 (73.4)
2010 (73.1)
2009 (73.4)
2008 (78.6)
2007 (79.5)


The average ticket price has risen from $22.77 (2007) to $32.99 (2019). It doesn't take a smart person to figure out the problem with MLB baseball. But yes, let's jack up the whole system to spark an interest.

"I'm not as good as I was but in big moments I'm still the guy. I want that opportunity." -Ryan Braun


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#64

Posted: February 11, 2020, 1:20 PM Post
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The problem with baseball is young people don't like it. The demographics for baseball for people under 40 are awful. The game isn't losing people who grew up with it and are in their 40's and 50's now. The attendance is completely tanking for people ages 18-35 and 10 years from now that is going to cause huge problems if they don't fix it. Drastic changes need to be made and soon. They have to push them through even if the stuffy old men (of which I am one of) don't want to see change. Because if they don't change they are going to have real problems.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#65

Posted: February 11, 2020, 2:10 PM Post
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The Weatherman
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Ennder said:
The problem with baseball is young people don't like it. The demographics for baseball for people under 40 are awful. The game isn't losing people who grew up with it and are in their 40's and 50's now. The attendance is completely tanking for people ages 18-35 and 10 years from now that is going to cause huge problems if they don't fix it. Drastic changes need to be made and soon. They have to push them through even if the stuffy old men (of which I am one of) don't want to see change. Because if they don't change they are going to have real problems.


At the end of the day ownership only cares about maximizing profits and strictly adhering to the demand curve. The #1 thing that they could do to increase the number of people watching baseball is to make the product more widely available through TV and streaming services in the local market. The #1 thing that they could do to increase attendance is to lower ticket prices. Neither approach maximizes short-term profit. Both approaches significantly damage long-term profit and I strongly believe that there is nothing they can do from a game/rules perspective to reverse the current trends.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#66

Posted: February 11, 2020, 3:04 PM Post
Posts: 77
If baseball truly wanted a more competitive non tanking leauge a true hard cap on salary would help more then expanding the playoffs , yes I’m well aware that the players union is what holds up a true cap but for the good of baseball it needs to happen.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#67

Posted: February 11, 2020, 3:24 PM Post
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Brew4U said:
MLB Attendance by Year:
2019 (68.5 million)
2018 (69.7)
2017 (72.7)
2016 (73.2)
2015 (73.7)
2014 (73.7)
2013 (74.0)
2012 (74.9)
2011 (73.4)
2010 (73.1)
2009 (73.4)
2008 (78.6)
2007 (79.5)


The average ticket price has risen from $22.77 (2007) to $32.99 (2019). It doesn't take a smart person to figure out the problem with MLB baseball. But yes, let's jack up the whole system to spark an interest.


Attendance for most major sports is dropping:

- From 2014 to ’18, attendance across the FBS (college fb) fell by 7.6%.
- Here’s how the NHL’s minus-1.32% decline from 2013-14 to 2018-19 compares to the other major sports leagues.

Major League Baseball (MLB): minus-5.88%
National Basketball Association (NBA): plus-2.59%
National Football League (NFL): minus-1.98%
Major League Soccer (MLS): plus-17.56%
Out of the five major sports leagues in the United States, three of the five, including the NHL, have posted declines in average attendance between 2013-14 to 2018-19. Two of the leagues posted growth, the NBA and MLS. If you’re wondering why the MLS percent change jumps off the charts it’s due to their success in expansion, Atlanta United has been able to consistently average 50,000 in attendance since its debut in 2017.

I think there are too many options to watch games at home.

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#68

Posted: February 11, 2020, 4:03 PM Post
Posts: 1300
I have been thinking about this for a while, and I think I've landed on the idea that our whole, cultural sense of regular seasons and postseasons is off, and this is particularly true in baseball. Here is what I mean:

The Brewers won the NL pennant in 2018. They did. They lost a random, 7-game series to another good team, and I get it. Those are the rules, but it's so arbitrary that we celebrate small samples over large ones. This proposal just makes that worse.

Here is what I wish: I want the soccer model. I want mini-competitionss (FA Cups and Europa Leagues and c.) existing alongside regular seasons. That way, you get the consistency of long-haul competition and enough short-form stuff to capture the spirit of magical runs and to keep up interest.

We had a Leicester City moment in 2018, and that is why I will celebrate that season forever. The fact that it ended in a loss is random. More and more, I think playoffs are just a function of our need to provide both dire competition AND egalitarian opportunity.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#69

Posted: February 11, 2020, 4:15 PM Post
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The Weatherman
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Posts: 6498
Cool Hand Lucroy said:
I have been thinking about this for a while, and I think I've landed on the idea that our whole, cultural sense of regular seasons and postseasons is off, and this is particularly true in baseball. Here is what I mean:

The Brewers won the NL pennant in 2018. They did. They lost a random, 7-game series to another good team, and I get it. Those are the rules, but it's so arbitrary that we celebrate small samples over large ones. This proposal just makes that worse.

Here is what I wish: I want the soccer model. I want mini-competitionss (FA Cups and Europa Leagues and c.) existing alongside regular seasons. That way, you get the consistency of long-haul competition and enough short-form stuff to capture the spirit of magical runs and to keep up interest.

We had a Leicester City moment in 2018, and that is why I will celebrate that season forever. The fact that it ended in a loss is random. More and more, I think playoffs are just a function of our need to provide both dire competition AND egalitarian opportunity.


I don't get what you're saying...MLB's proposal would be the most favorable for the 1-seed in any sport.

I suspect the NBA will be the first one to reform their season/postseason format. Almost the entirety of MLB's proposal was poached from ideas that have been floated for the NBA.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#70

Posted: February 11, 2020, 4:25 PM Post
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Posts: 5789
Eye Black said:
OldSchoolSnapper said:
I think that people are way overstating the randomness of baseball.

Actually, no. Here is a really good study done at Cornell about the randomness of the four major professional sports leagues (Overview Link and PDF Document Link).

MLB is subject to the most random outcomes of the major professional sports. Here is a blog that uses the above study results to sum up the randomness of the post-season as compared to the NBA, Rethinking our playoff philosophy (on the role of chance in the postseason)...

How long would postseason series need to be in NFL, MLB and NHL to match the NBA’s “better team advances” rate of 80%?

In the NFL, a “best-of-11” series is needed to match the NBA’s better team advances rate.

In the NHL, a “best-of-51” series is needed to match the NBA’s better team advances rate.

And in MLB, an astounding “best-of-75” series is needed to match the NBA’s better team advances rate.

That is, if we wanted postseason formats to be equivalent across leagues, we’d need the NHL and MLB to do complete, and obviously ludicrous, overhauls.


There is a lot more to dive into about the randomness of baseball outcomes, but that sort of captures the gist of how unique MLB variance actually is.


Great, let's just scrap the regular season altogether then. We can have these awesome random outcomes with last year's Orioles winning titles.

I don't understand why people want to make qualifying for the playoffs a complete non-achievement. Like it is in the NBA.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#71

Posted: February 11, 2020, 4:28 PM Post
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Posts: 5789
homer said:
Brew4U said:
MLB Attendance by Year:
2019 (68.5 million)
2018 (69.7)
2017 (72.7)
2016 (73.2)
2015 (73.7)
2014 (73.7)
2013 (74.0)
2012 (74.9)
2011 (73.4)
2010 (73.1)
2009 (73.4)
2008 (78.6)
2007 (79.5)


The average ticket price has risen from $22.77 (2007) to $32.99 (2019). It doesn't take a smart person to figure out the problem with MLB baseball. But yes, let's jack up the whole system to spark an interest.


Attendance for most major sports is dropping:

- From 2014 to ’18, attendance across the FBS (college fb) fell by 7.6%.
- Here’s how the NHL’s minus-1.32% decline from 2013-14 to 2018-19 compares to the other major sports leagues.

Major League Baseball (MLB): minus-5.88%
National Basketball Association (NBA): plus-2.59%
National Football League (NFL): minus-1.98%
Major League Soccer (MLS): plus-17.56%
Out of the five major sports leagues in the United States, three of the five, including the NHL, have posted declines in average attendance between 2013-14 to 2018-19. Two of the leagues posted growth, the NBA and MLS. If you’re wondering why the MLS percent change jumps off the charts it’s due to their success in expansion, Atlanta United has been able to consistently average 50,000 in attendance since its debut in 2017.

I think there are too many options to watch games at home.


Not only that but the at-home experience is WORLDS ahead of what it was even in the early 2000s. Go watch some highlights of games from that era if you don't think so. You used to flock to one guy's house because he had a "big screen TV" and I hardly know any homeowners whose main TV is less than 60 inches. The financial crunch is obviously a factor in the attendance too, but there are a bunch of factors working together. Thus you have "fan experience" as a requirement in all new stadiums. New restaurants, shopping, etc. "Districts" around the stadium. The game is not enough.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#72

Posted: February 11, 2020, 4:55 PM Post
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Posts: 5789
Ennder said:
The problem with baseball is young people don't like it. The demographics for baseball for people under 40 are awful. The game isn't losing people who grew up with it and are in their 40's and 50's now. The attendance is completely tanking for people ages 18-35 and 10 years from now that is going to cause huge problems if they don't fix it. Drastic changes need to be made and soon. They have to push them through even if the stuffy old men (of which I am one of) don't want to see change. Because if they don't change they are going to have real problems.


It's specifically not resonating well at all with youth minorities. I don't know specifically about hispanics but I know it is catastrophically failing with black youth leagues. Which is a problem for the sport because the county's demographics are going the other direction. The intensity of a lot of youth baseball comes with expenses and a lot of travel which is another problem. The sport in general needs to fix a problem at that level and it would help the MLB product. But the point about ticket prices and access to games is relevant too. I would guess that it can't be doing a whole lot better with Hispanics. It is hugely popular in Latin America obviously and like 1/3 of the MLB players are born there, but within the Hispanic population of the US I don't think it's quite as huge.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#73

Posted: February 11, 2020, 5:15 PM Post
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Posts: 3446
Location: California
Ennder said:
The problem with baseball is young people don't like it. The demographics for baseball for people under 40 are awful. The game isn't losing people who grew up with it and are in their 40's and 50's now. The attendance is completely tanking for people ages 18-35 and 10 years from now that is going to cause huge problems if they don't fix it. Drastic changes need to be made and soon. They have to push them through even if the stuffy old men (of which I am one of) don't want to see change. Because if they don't change they are going to have real problems.

I know others have brought this up but I truly believe this is due largely to the fact that the league is heavily tilted toward the large markets. In the NFL and NBA, you have Patrick Mahomes and Giannis who will likely spend their entire careers in Kansas City and Milwaukee. As opposed to MLB, where you have Indians fans who are preparing to lose Francisco Lindor or Brewers fans who already lost Prince Fielder and are already preparing (3 years in advance) of losing Christian Yelich.

Why invest your time, money and fandom in something so obviously gamed against you?


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#74

Posted: February 11, 2020, 5:30 PM Post
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Posts: 5789
Warning Track Power said:
Ennder said:
The problem with baseball is young people don't like it. The demographics for baseball for people under 40 are awful. The game isn't losing people who grew up with it and are in their 40's and 50's now. The attendance is completely tanking for people ages 18-35 and 10 years from now that is going to cause huge problems if they don't fix it. Drastic changes need to be made and soon. They have to push them through even if the stuffy old men (of which I am one of) don't want to see change. Because if they don't change they are going to have real problems.

I know others have brought this up but I truly believe this is due largely to the fact that the league is heavily tilted toward the large markets. In the NFL and NBA, you have Patrick Mahomes and Giannis who will likely spend their entire careers in Kansas City and Milwaukee. As opposed to MLB, where you have Indians fans who are preparing to lose Francisco Lindor or Brewers fans who already lost Prince Fielder and are already preparing (3 years in advance) of losing Christian Yelich.

Why invest your time, money and fandom in something so obviously gamed against you?


I definitely think losing superstars is a big problem for MLB and competitive balance, but you can't say the NBA isn't large-market centric. The supermax is there, sure, but the players have a ton of power and bolt for large markets all the time. I think the difference is that there is a disproportionate number of basketball fans who are fans of players and not necessarily teams. Terrible NBA teams always use visiting stars in their marketing.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#75

Posted: February 11, 2020, 5:43 PM Post
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OldSchoolSnapper said:
Great, let's just scrap the regular season altogether then. We can have these awesome random outcomes with last year's Orioles winning titles.

I don't understand why people want to make qualifying for the playoffs a complete non-achievement. Like it is in the NBA.

I am not sure if we are misunderstanding each other’s points, or actually on the same side here.

My point with that study link was not that we should scrap the regular season by any means, but actually the exact opposite. The length and results of the regular season are much more important to MLB than any other professional sport because it takes such an incredibly large sample size for results to actualize that match true talent levels.

If the goal is to figure out who the best team is at the end of the playoffs than the best way to do that would be to significantly limit the total number of teams that get into the playoffs.

If the goal aligns closer to entertainment value (and revenue for the teams), than I guess an argument can certainly be made for “the more the merrier” playoff approach. That isn’t the side I would choose, but I understand the argument.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#76

Posted: February 11, 2020, 5:48 PM Post
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MLB is the opposite of large-market centric. MLB is local. Nobody watches national broadcasts of MLB games. MLB's entire revenue model is driven by local fans watching their local team's games.

The push to get more teams in the playoffs makes a ton of sense when you think of it from that perspective.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#77

Posted: February 11, 2020, 5:50 PM Post
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Eye Black said:
OldSchoolSnapper said:
Great, let's just scrap the regular season altogether then. We can have these awesome random outcomes with last year's Orioles winning titles.

I don't understand why people want to make qualifying for the playoffs a complete non-achievement. Like it is in the NBA.

I am not sure if we are misunderstanding each other’s points, or actually on the same side here.

My point with that study link was not that we should scrap the regular season by any means, but actually the exact opposite. The length and results of the regular season are much more important to MLB than any other professional sport because it takes such an incredibly large sample size for results to actualize that match true talent levels.

If the goal is to figure out who the best team is at the end of the playoffs than the best way to do that would be to significantly limit the total number of teams that get into the playoffs.

If the goal aligns closer to entertainment value (and revenue for the teams), than I guess an argument can certainly be made for “the more the merrier” playoff approach. That isn’t the side I would choose, but I understand the argument.


I know, I wasn't meaning to argue the link or what you were saying though I realize now it looks that way. I was just saying that I like the MLB regular season for the reason that it mitigates some of the randomness of the sport. 162 games is enough to establish who's good and who's not, and I'm not sure you could say the same if they played 80. I feel that the WC expansion was good, and provided just enough reason to keep fighting for a spot while still making sure the regular season feels worth taking seriously. I really do not want to see it watered down any more.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#78

Posted: February 11, 2020, 7:13 PM Post
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Posts: 3446
Location: California
OldSchoolSnapper said:
Warning Track Power said:
Ennder said:
The problem with baseball is young people don't like it. The demographics for baseball for people under 40 are awful. The game isn't losing people who grew up with it and are in their 40's and 50's now. The attendance is completely tanking for people ages 18-35 and 10 years from now that is going to cause huge problems if they don't fix it. Drastic changes need to be made and soon. They have to push them through even if the stuffy old men (of which I am one of) don't want to see change. Because if they don't change they are going to have real problems.

I know others have brought this up but I truly believe this is due largely to the fact that the league is heavily tilted toward the large markets. In the NFL and NBA, you have Patrick Mahomes and Giannis who will likely spend their entire careers in Kansas City and Milwaukee. As opposed to MLB, where you have Indians fans who are preparing to lose Francisco Lindor or Brewers fans who already lost Prince Fielder and are already preparing (3 years in advance) of losing Christian Yelich.

Why invest your time, money and fandom in something so obviously gamed against you?


I definitely think losing superstars is a big problem for MLB and competitive balance, but you can't say the NBA isn't large-market centric. The supermax is there, sure, but the players have a ton of power and bolt for large markets all the time. I think the difference is that there is a disproportionate number of basketball fans who are fans of players and not necessarily teams. Terrible NBA teams always use visiting stars in their marketing.

I think the NBA is certainly superteam centric if not big market-centric.

I think the larger issue in the NBA is the season being played during the winter and early spring which is an enormous negative to smaller markets in the north. Even guys like Lebron leave their hometown teams for warmer pastures. If the NBA season were to be played from April - October, I think you would have seen a Lebron career in Cleveland and more northern dynasties rather than the warm weather dynasties of the Warriors, Lakers, Spurs and Heat.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#79

Posted: February 12, 2020, 2:17 PM Post
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Posts: 2805
OldSchoolSnapper said:
Great, let's just scrap the regular season altogether then. We can have these awesome random outcomes with last year's Orioles winning titles.

I don't understand why people want to make qualifying for the playoffs a complete non-achievement. Like it is in the NBA.


There have been a lot of takes about "rewarding mediocrity" on here and in response to Manfred's proposal. Not just yours, but quoting as this was one of the more recent ones.

What is excellence in the current MLB format? There are ~20 teams at a MAJOR disadvantage financially given the current format. Really, the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and then some rotation of the other big markets (SF, TEX, Cubs, Philly, Houston, DC, NYM) are somewhere near the top seed a vast majority of the time. The Cards were a bit of a unicorn as a mid-market that was always truly successful.

I know a lot of people like to tell themselves that some of these owners aren't trying. Let's say that all of them are trying in an alternate universe and everyone agrees with that but the financial disparity among teams still exists.

That means that most years, like 2 out of the other 20 teams get to have a "successful" or "non-failure" of a season. That kinda sucks for the other teams and honestly feels futile.

I think there would still be weird tanking issues if there was a salary cap, but in the absence of it, it would be fun to have a lot of the have-nots in budget feel like they have more than a once-per-decade shot at the thing.


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Offline  Re: MLB Playoff Expansion
#80

Posted: February 12, 2020, 2:25 PM Post
Posts: 5207
Location: Madison, WI
Good post Bill. I didn't really think about it that way. Essentially, if they refuse to put in a cap this seems like it could be a good way to help the small market teams at least have a chance. If you put in a cap (like they should just get done) then I'd still prefer to reward the regular season by keeping it more difficult.

I'd say my take at this point is gut reaction is against it as too much, too drastic, allowing too many teams in, essentially the same as everyone has said. But the whole time I wasn't too fired up about because when they went to the 5th WC I was against it as dumb but have since massively come around on it. So, admitting I was wrong there I thought I could be wrong here too, even though it still seems too much. Then factor in Bill's point there and I'm even more in the open minded side of things. not too fired up either way and will wait and see.

My biggest opinion on anything is they just need to get a financial systems in place like the other sports, enough is enough, get it done.


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