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Good Cuts.

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Mark Salas blocked the heck outta that plate.  
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Recent Baseball America Milb Organization Rankings

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Athletic article on the 2019 postseason baseball

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Get to know each other

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I did this once about 2-3 years ago, but it was during the offseason and well, it's been a long time ago... Let's get to know each other...
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Dear MLB: Blow the Schedule Up

A little over a week ago, Joel Sherman introduced a potential playoff expansion idea that commissioner Manfred may allegedly be considering. Our Matthew Lenz covered it here.

That led me to do some thinking: What if the whole schedule and playoff system was completely destroyed and we started over from scratch?
Image courtesy of © Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
What could it look like? How could MLB promote more exciting baseball? Is 162 the right amount of games? Is the inclusion of reality TV a real thing? Is it logistically even possible?

So I came up with an idea.

It's a little crazy, (I think) more exciting, fewer games, includes weekly reality TV and (most likely) would be a logistical mess (in every aspect imaginable). But would be all sorts of entertaining. Oh, and it includes two new expansion teams. We need 32 teams for this to work.

Phase 1 runs for 13.5 weeks and each team plays 27 three-games series. The phase runs from March 25 until June 27. Each team would play each division opponent for five series (15 games x 3 teams = 45 total games) and each league opponent in one three-game series (12 teams x 3 games = 36 games.) The first phase would be 81 total games. You would alternate home-field advantage (and the 41st home game) every other year. At the conclusion of Phase 1, each team would get a full week off, which includes all the All-Star Game festivities, and, potentially, the trade deadline.

Phase 2 is where things start to get different. It will be exclusively five-game series for nine weeks, with those games all being played between Tuesday and Sunday. It's also the beginning of the "playoffs." Crazy, huh? Stay with me.

Only the teams that finished Phase 1 in fourth place would play a best-of-five series in the first week, though. The other 12 teams in each league would match up with an opposing division and play a five-game series, with the games counting towards their overall record.

In the second week of Phase 2, the two third-place teams with the worst record would play the fourth-place winners, with the fourth-place losers also facing off (all ties would be broken with head-to-head games, as everyone plays league opponents, initially, an odd amount of times). Non-playoff teams would play an interleague opponent.

This is where Manfred can get his reality TV. The third-place team with the best record gets to choose which fourth-place winner they want to play. Depending on how far in advance MLB wants to do things, they could also announce all other weekly matchups. Teams all travel on Monday and all tickets go on sale Monday morning (which would help limit after-market sales, maybe).

I have the whole bracket made up here, if you're interested.

Essentially, over the nine-week phase you slowly introduce all the teams into a bracket-style tournament. Each week culminating with a primetime, Sunday Night two-hour show that reveals and previews the next week. Yes, Sunday Night baseball would probably have to go. Yes, Monday is probably now baseball-less. And, yes, you also don't know where or when your favorite team will be playing for the upcoming week until days in advance. (Though I imagine someone smarter than me could work out these kinks.)

Over those nine weeks, no team will play more than 45 games. Some teams (if swept or sweep in best-of-five sets) could play as little as 27 games. (Though you could make those best-of-five series a regular five-game series if you really wanted to. Again, that's for someone smarter to decide.)
Phase 3 would begin in early September - right in time to compete with the NFL - and the first two weeks would include all teams, all would have a chance to make what would eventually become a more traditional playoff look. All best-of-seven series over a ten-game stretch. (The four teams in each league that lose in both Weeks 1 and 2 would be eliminated and could enter an 8-team tournament to determine draft order.)

If you look at the bracket, you'll notice a lot of "battle back" games starting at week 8; teams looking to re-enter for the chance to win the World Series. That would end after Week 11, when the four winners in each league enter the Division Series (week 12). The winners then play the Championship Series (week 13). The season would be capped off by the World Series (week 14) which would take place between October 17 and October 26.

It would be a seismic shift. Fewer games. More intrigue. And fascinating to think about. Little changes are silly. Big, out-of-the-box changes, though, might just attract new fans, all while keeping the old ones.

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22 Comments

Seismic shift, indeed. Reducing MLB to rubble!

 

Just no, no, and no!

 

Sorry, this would cause me to completely turn off.

    • dcswede, Nine of twelve and JosiahDeBoer like this
I can see you put a lot of thought and time into this, so I'll try not to be too harsh.
I don't think it's a good idea.
    • Steve Lein, dcswede, USNMCPO and 7 others like this
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ScooterDance
Feb 20 2020 08:09 PM
I’m intrigued.

I like the idea of having more games that matter. I like the idea of having multiple playoff-like series throughout the season.

Particularly as a fan who either didn’t see playoff baseball or didn’t see wins for 15 years. Every team would have games that matter. Every season.

I also like the idea of a ****ty team getting hot and making a run. Even though it wouldn’t culminate in a championship most likely - it’d be fun to see a Tigers like team go 12-8 over a 20 game stretch and win 4 series in a row.

Never gonna happen but it’d be fun to play it out for a year and see.

So often seismic shifts yield a lot of “ugh that’d be horrible” but once it becomes the new normal people can’t imagine going back.

Sign me up for trying something new.
    • Dman and Minny505 like this
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MMMordabito
Feb 20 2020 08:49 PM
I hate reality TV, so I would be against anything involving it. The last thing baseball needs is producer schmucks trying to create senseless drama.
    • shimrod, DocBauer and Nine of twelve like this

Jeremy, I like the thought that went into this.  Your premise that the current schedule and playoff system looks either boring or flawed is sound and rather than just come up with something conventional, you went totally against the grain!  With the rule for brainstorming being “don’t critique”, I’ll just say that there are a lot of elements that I’d like to see happen.

 

I think that the biggest issue for any changes like this is that it either bends or breaks baseball’s continuity to the past, which I personally think is one of the sport’s primary selling points.  Want to shorten the schedule?  Sure, but those of us who like counting stats won’t be able to compare people from the past.  Want to lengthen the playoffs?  Sure, but again you blow a lot of counting stats and potentially make the regular season meaningless (like can be argued with the NBA).

 

I personally think that baseball is heading for significant change; I just hope that Manfred has smart guys working for him because I don’t really trust him to make great decisions.

    • Minny505 and JosiahDeBoer like this

That would be fun! .... for the independent leagues. 

    • JosiahDeBoer likes this

-

My head hurts
    • rdehring and Nine of twelve like this
32 teams... yes.
The rest... umm.

I’d like:
32 teams, 2 leagues, 4 divisions, 156 game season
Interleague 3 x 8 = 24
Intraleague 6 x 8 = 48
Division 12 x 7 = 84
12 team playoff with top 3 of 8 from each division.
Division WC - 5 game playoff for 2 and 3 seed hosted by 2 seed, bye for 1 seed
Division champ - 5 game playoff hosted by 1 seed
League champ - 3/2/2
World Series - 3/2/2
No.
    • Nine of twelve and sweetmusicviola16 like this

I'll try this format for my Strat-O-Matic baseball league.:)

    • Danchat and Minny505 like this
What was that middle part?
Or the first part?
And then the last part?

Maybe I will read this again later.
    • DocBauer likes this

Very interesting, Jeremy.

 

The traditional part of me says, please leave it as is.But on another level, maybe there is a format that would be better.Don't know what that would be, but you sure could provide a starting point.

    • Minny505 likes this

How about this?Every series is 3 game series, you get a point for winning the series and three points for sweeping.No more win or loss just points.Every team plays every team for a home and away series, this would actually increase total games to 174.Both leagues play by same rules, do not care which is adopted, but play same rules.Then top 16 teams make playoffs based on total points and ranked 1-16, no reseeding based on round.It starts with best of 3 for first round, best of 5 second round, best of 7 third round, then best of 7 again for final round.  

 

Finally, do away with extra innings, but have a HR off.You pick your hitter, but each one can only be used 1 time until all others used, and your BP pitcher then throws pitches for 1 min to the hitter, who ever has most HR that team wins.If tied after 1 round, then do a race around the bases, after spinning around at homeplate for 10 seconds before you take off, make it a relay race including coaches and bat boys.  

    • Minny505 likes this

Several years ago I tried to figure out if there was a way to "balance" the schedule. There was the usual chatter about "why can't the be more balanced like it used to be?" So I looked at what it would take and the math was to difficult with 30 teams where you have X games in division, Y games in interdivision, and Z games interleague. The basic concept could easily yield values such that X+Y+Z=162 (or 154 or 156 or whatever). The problem is that those values are totals and to get to the totals requires a system of equations where X is composed of values in each of 5 equations, Y has 11 equations and Z 6 or 7 equations if you keep the current interleague scheduling concepts.I realized early on that the reason the current MLB schedule is like it is probably comes from the fact it's what works.

 

That said, I'd like to see this format somewhere just to see if could work. My only concern about 2 leagues with four 4 team divisions is it starts to look like the NFL and I can live without that.

I like several of the concepts here...particularly reducing the number of games and moving up the conclusion of the playoffs. But, I think you can get most of what this is getting at in a much more simple way...

 

  • Eliminate inter-league games. If you're in St. Louis and the 160 times per season you can watch/stream Mike Trout isn't enough...drive to Chicago.
  • Reduce the number of games to 154 (or 148)
  • Don't balance the schedule (that's what the wild card and playoffs are for); keep the regional rivalries
  • Add 2 teams to the playoff format (making it 8 teams for each league)

 

The biggest challenges with the ideas in this thread...

  • There's not enough revenue sharing in the foreseeable future for some owners to agree to a format where they can end up playing significantly fewer games than the teams that they have to compete against
  • "not knowing where/who you will be playing until a few days in advance" for a significant number of games played in the summer months? That's an absolute deal-breaker. A HUGE part of baseball game-day revenue is supplied by rural people/families on summer vacations/trips. Teams will reject risking July and August in this manner. Not reject...not even consider.
    • rdehring and Nine of twelve like this
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sweetmusicviola16
Feb 21 2020 05:28 PM

 

No.

Agreed.

    • Nine of twelve likes this
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sweetmusicviola16
Feb 21 2020 05:29 PM

Don't let Manfred get a hold of this. He's ruining the game as it is.

    • Nine of twelve likes this
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Nine of twelve
Feb 21 2020 07:17 PM

I don't think we want to bring MLB down to the very low level of The Bachelor.

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Nine of twelve
Feb 21 2020 07:31 PM

Caution: cold water bath coming.

There's nothing wrong with fantasizing, but that's all this is. There is not going to be any expansion any time soon. We have several franchises that are scraping to get by as it is. No proposal that depends on expansion should seriously considered.

The current format is probably the best we can hope for. The best option is to keep the status quo.

 

 

 

Inventive. Kudos for putting the work in and throwing it out there. 

    • Jimv likes this
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strumdatjaguar
Feb 22 2020 01:49 PM
Return to the 154 game schedule. Start April 1 or later. Then expand the eligible teams for the playoffs, ending before October 31.
More playoffs and less regular season. No March or November games ever.

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