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David Brown

When MLB expands the playoffs, it should do it the right way

David Brown
Big League Stew

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The year 2012 might or might not bring global catastrophe as foretold by Mayan filmmaker Roland Emmerich. But it does seem likely Major League Baseball will expand its postseason by then, if comments coming from the GM meetings in Florida are an accurate indication.

Then again, if you're among the folks against putting more teams in the playoffs, it's the end of the world no matter what.

The way Ron Blum of the AP wrote his story, bigger playoffs are a matter of "when" not "if."

Sigh:

"Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry favors additional wild cards. He credited commissioner Bud Selig with pushing through the initial wild-card playoffs, which began in 1995.

"'It turns out the commissioner was right on,' he said."

Of course he thinks that; The Cubs get a little closer to the playoffs that way.

"Hendry thinks a majority of GMs would back more playoffs.

"'It's all about postseason baseball. That's what fans like,' Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said.

OK, Mr. Towers. If we're making the playoffs bigger, why not have a best-of-nine World Series?

Fans do like the playoffs, especially when their team qualifies. And Hendry was right about Selig being right about the wild card. Right on, Bud, as Jim says.

Adding teams and games to the playoffs in the first round is OK because it would drum up interest in some places down the stretch of the regular season. Just like the wild card already has.

But before doing that, MLB ought to add where it counts even more: At the back end, for the Series.

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For most of its history, of course, the World Series has been resolved with no more than seven games. But on four occasions — including the first World Series in 1903 — it took five victories to win the whole thing.

If fans really hunger for more playoff ball, then they'll love a bigger World Series. Make it a 3-3-3 setup, with two travel days in there. Wham, bam, you're done.

MLB, of course, would charge TV even more for broadcasting rights. It's like printing their own money. Hey, it's not inflation unless the executives realize they're being bilked. And they're not really being bilked. These are quality games we're talking about, World Series games. The Glengarry leads! Not some namby pamby wild card stuff.

As an apprentice sabermagician, adding more playoff teams doesn't interest me much. But while we're letting more teams slip through the 162-game net, let's at least make it harder to win the World Series once you get there.

A nine-game Series, while it still reeks of small sample size, is more compelling. It's fresh, relatively. It'll make money. You don't have to be Nostradamus to see the cash rolling in. And there's historical precedent for doing it like they did in 1903 and from 1919-1921.

There's also the matter of making up the time so the season doesn't last through November. How do we do that? Reducing the number of regular-season games probably isn't going to happen. But we can reduce how long the season takes.

Let's add six mandatory doubleheaders, per team, to the regular-season. There's nearly a week saved right there. Bring back the doubleheader, baby!

Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave

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