The NBA expanded their playoff bracket to 16 teams in the 80’s, so the majority of NBA teams already make the post season. In 2002 they changed the first round from five to seven games, making upsets even more rare and the first round even more worthless (the only eight seed vs. one seed upset since the change was in 2007 when the Warriors beat the Mavericks. The Knicks beat the top seeded Miami Heat in 1999 and the Nuggets beat the top seeded Sonics in 1994, but that’s it). Last night the Lakers’ playoff game didn’t even start until 10:50pm EST, much too late for most people to tune in for the whole contest. The Spurs vs. Grizzlies games wasn’t even on mainstream cable (NBA TV). How’s that for a watered-down playoff game?
College Basketball finally expanded its field, although nowhere near as disastrously as what could have been done. Early talk was that the field could move all the way up to from 65 to 96 teams. Instead it only moved to 68 teams, which isn’t so bad, but the point remains the same; making the post season, the NCAA tournament, a bowl game, whatever…it’s meant to be an honor, not a second season.
As long as I’m on college basketball, what was the point of adding 3 more teams if you’re still going to cheat Virginia Tech? But I digress…
Last night during the NHL playoffs, a commentator remarked that it’s amazing how the players play these physical playoff games for over a month. Yeah! It is pretty darn amazing! Everyone who isn’t bad is in there, even Tommy’s New York Rangers (God bless ’em).
Now this comes out! Maybe the only league that still has a truly special postseason, where almost everyone involved is deserving and has a shot to win, Major League Baseball, plans to water down its postseason. It would be enough if the league simply adjusted the first round from five games to seven like the NBA did. To be fair, baseball can be a screwy sport and having two hot pitchers can get you through the short best of five series. I wouldn’t even complain if they did that!
But no…that’s not the plan. Unfortunately it sounds like they’ll be diminishing the value of a regular season win even more by allowing an extra wild card team per league, expanding the total postseason bracket to 10 teams. Did the 162-game season not diminish it enough? Not that I want it shortened, but c’mon!
Sounds like we’ll have a best-of-three wild card round, followed by a five-game Divisional Series, then a seven-game Championship Series, then finally, when you’re no longer interested in baseball after watching your team for as many as 177 games, you may be treated to seven more games in the World Series. Take a week off and you have spring training!
When this happens (likely 2012) we’ll start seeing a lot more teams that didn’t truly earn their way into the postseason get hot and win the World Series. It’s the nature of the game, and it’s bad for the sport. Boo you Bud Selig. You’ve done a lot of great things (starting interleague play and making the All-Star Game worthwhile), but now you’re threatening to turn us into the NBA.