September 24, 2009
Like anyone who enjoys listening to himself talk, I find myself agreeing to appear on sports radio quite often.
These shows can be fun to because the questions can often be quite varied, but I'm starting to find that I'm getting a lot of the same two questions.
1) Should baseball cut its regular season schedule to stem the complaints that 162 contests is way too many?
2) Is it time for MLB to expand the postseason field and admit more than eight teams?
Perhaps falling into their controversial trap, I've been responding to each query with the type of insults I usually only see in our comments section.
I understand why those questions are surfacing, of course. We're experiencing one of the most boring Septembers in recent memory and
the NFL fantasy football has completely buried the sport in the mind of the casual fan. There's no White Sox-Twins or Mets-Brewers or Rays-Red Sox-Yankees race to capture our fancy like there was last season.
In 2009, we're playing out the proverbial string and wondering what it'd be like to watch Tim Lincecum(notes) and Matt Cain(notes) pitch in the postseason or if the Rangers or Marlins could steal a playoff series from one of the powerhouses if just given the chance. It's not an ideal situation we're in but it happens from time to time. We get excitement more often that not.
The expanding postseason debate is sure to exist until Major League Baseball actually goes ahead and does something stupid like expand the field in each league to eight teams, thus negating the achievement of winning a division title or being the singular best of the rest. If anything, I'd expand the LDS to seven game. (Though that would probably extend the season into November, which baseball should avoid at all costs.)
As for the first question, it's not even really worth addressing. At no point will owners give up additional opportunities to make money via the box office and television, so why even entertain the possibility? However, if you want to go further than that, I'll say this: The 162-game schedule has worked for us since 1961 and if your attention span can't last that long, it's time you go triple-check your waiver claim on Mario Manningham.
What would your answers to both questions be?