Playoff formats

It has been just over a week–and a week in which we have had some pretty good playoff games already–but I still can’t believe the incredible games we were treated to on the last day of the regular season.

Here’s hoping that this epic finish to the wild-card races in each league put to rest the plan, first broached just over a year ago–to add a fifth team to the postseason. Had such a format been in play this season, the collapses by Boston and Atlanta, and late surges by Tampa Bay and St. Louis, would have been meaningless. Each pair merely would have been slated for a new playoff round rather than a loser-goes-home sprint to the finish line of the 162-game season.

I would still advocate my “two divisions, two wild cards” format (which still has four, not five, teams advance). It would not have deprived us of the great season’s finish this year. In a year when the wild card team has the 4th best record, it would never deprive us of a race, under the current format, for that slot. However, in a year when the wild card has a better record than a division winner, which is a common occurrence, it can only enhance the races, by reducing the chance of a division winner with only the 5th or worse record in its league.

Two divisions, two wild cards. Not three divisions, two wild cards.

3 thoughts on “Playoff formats

  1. And how nice that we have three of the Division Series this year going to a decisive fifth game. And, at least from my perspective, that two certain northeastern AL teams are now both done.

  2. If a playoff format were to be implemented in elections, we could have voters vote to decide which candidates get a first round bye and which ones have to participate in the primaries.

    For example, in a 6-candidate field, you get to decide which are the 2 that are bye and which ones go to the primary.

    Example:

    Clinton
    Dole
    Perot
    Nader
    Browne
    Phillips

    Voters could vote for as many candidates as they wish.

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