While we wait to find out when this baseball season starts, let’s take a look ahead at how this season is likely to turn out.
Unfortunately, there is a good chance during the extended postseason that the dollar is prioritized over the safety of the regular season.
Contrary to shouting about the arrival of the global designated hitter, a controversial but expected change that already has some strong selling points, the post-season surge is a bad idea justified only by the pursuit of profit.
That’s why he’s expected to face little resistance if the owners and players can play nice during this pivotal period of negotiations. More money? Register them.
That’s the scenario Tyler Kepner, a baseball writer for The New York Times predicts.
“Get ready to be full of playoff teams: 14 in total, representing nearly half of the 30-team league,” he wrote. At the owners’ suggestion, the highest seeded team in each league would get a first round, while the other winners of the two divisions and the top wild card team would choose their opponents from among the three lowest wild cards. The best series of three would follow, with the top seeded team hosting all Games. This will lead to the Divisional Series, the League Series and the World Championship.”
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Players prefer to expand from 10 to 12 teams. Owners want 14. Players have threatened to block any expansion idea altogether if the owner-led shutdown begins to cut players’ salaries in the regular season before a new collective bargaining agreement is concluded. The meetings between the two sides will take place at Roger Dean Stadium, in Jupiter, Florida, this week. stay tuned
What you won’t hear about much in the coming days is whether the post-season expansion is, you know, a good idea for baseball. Well, unlike MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s recent endorsement, which should be accompanied by the buzzing sound of a money-counting machine.
“It’s good for players and clubs,” Manfred told reporters recently. “It is also good for our fans, the vast majority of whom enjoy baseball. We believe the format will encourage more clubs to compete and give more players the opportunity to participate in the post-season.”
Fans can’t wait for losing teams to make postseason. If the format preferred by owners had been applied retroactively between 2015-19, it would have happened. twice.
My advice is to avoid some traps when it comes to this topic.
The first is to avoid making the mistake of thinking fans have a say in something like this, other than choosing whether they should support baseball. More postseason teams means more post-season games being played, which means more money for post-season tickets and broadcast rights. If Postseason expands as much as the owners want, it will be because players have secured a deal they like enough to allow. If it didn’t, it would be because they didn’t. This is it.
The second trap to avoid is one that will encourage you to keep thinking about post-season in the same way you did before. Don’t fall in love with her. When losing teams can get into the post-season, just making the post-season doesn’t automatically make the team’s season successful.
This is a real and recent example.
Post-season 2020, due to the scramble to recover revenue losses affected by the pandemic, had 16 teams in the category. Two clubs – the Astros and the Boers – qualified despite losing records in the regular season. The Cardinals’ qualification before being eliminated for the Wild Cards series by Padres was impressive due to the pandemic chaos they overcame to get there, but that doesn’t change the fact that the post-season is expanding to reach them only to move forward quickly without them.
Extending the post-season as the new normal, not the adjustment caused by the pandemic, would be a great test for the teams. Will the bottom dwellers put in more effort? Will contenders be more likely to fall back? Will the regular season become irrelevant? The regular baseball season is considered a long one, and this change will diminish some of its importance.
Here in St. Louis, a more specific question must be answered. Fans are thirsty for the upcoming Cardinals World Championship after a decade-long wait. Will a bigger, smoother cut-off make the Cardinals redefine the match’s unofficial mantra?
For years, the front office has stacked winning seasons (14 seasons in a row) while reminding fans that the Cardinals good enough to get in can, with the right breaks, win it all. The wild cardinals of 2011 proved that right. Then again, this will be baseball’s second non-temporary expansion since then. Where you go once you’re always very important, of course, but just getting in means less every time other teams can say the same. Especially when the losing teams start showing up at the post-season party.
Baseball is preparing to lower the bar post-season.
My advice? Set expectations accordingly.