MLB Considering Controversial Reality TV-Inspired Playoff Expansion

MLB's new plan would allow higher-seeded wild-card teams to choose opponents

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The MLB logo on batting practice balls. (Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty)
MLB Photos via Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / February 11, 2020 9:00 am

As first reported by The New York Post, Major League Baseball is considering a playoff expansion that seems like it is inspired by America’s new pastime – reality television.

Under the proposed plan, MLB’s playoffs would grow from 10 clubs to 14 (with four wild cards in each league instead of two) and allow higher-seeded wild-card teams to choose opponents.

In the new format, the division winner with the best regular-season record in each league would advance directly to the Division Series while the other division winners and wild-card teams would start in a best-of-three round.

“The division winner with the second-best record in a league would then get the first pick of its opponent from those lower three wild cards, then the other division winner would pick, leaving the last two wild cards to play each other,” according to The Post.

Though Cincinnati Reds star pitcher Trevor Bauer didn’t compare MLB’s new plan to a  reality TV show as many have done on social media, the 29-year-old hurler did rip into it on Twitter.

“No idea who made this new playoff format proposal, but Rob is responsible for releasing it, so I’ll direct this to you, [commissioner] Rob Manfred,” Bauer tweeted. “Your proposal is absurd for too many reasons to type on twitter and proves you have absolutely no clue about baseball. You’re a joke.”

Though the playoff expansion, which will have to be collectively bargained with the MLBPA union, won’t be coming this year, the CBA — like MLB’s TV deals with ESPN and Turner — expires after next season.

That means we could see the expanded playoff format as soon as 2020.

“Expanding the playoffs in a sensible way is something worth discussing when part of a much more comprehensive conversation about the current state of our game,” MLBPA head Tony Clark said in a statement.

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