Expanding The Playoffs Will Hurt Baseball Beyond Repair

Some people believe that we should expand the playoffs permanently. Others believe that we shouldn’t have playoffs at all. I agree with neither; I believe that we should keep the playoffs where they were in the 2019 season because that’s the only way to find true champions.

Let me backtrack that last statement: a 10 team MLB playoffs wouldn’t always find true champions. The simple premise of a 10 team playoff format for the MLB is as follows:

10 Teams In The Playoffs
5 Teams AL
3 Division Winners
2 Wild Cards
5 Teams NL
3 Division Winners
2 Wild Cards

The simple reason as to why we should have a ten team playoff is that we should find the right balance between October madness and finding a true champion. I believe that over any other playoff system that I’ve heard, the 10 team playoffs is best. That’s not because the 10 team playoffs is superior in every way, I believe the contrary. I believe that the 10 team playoff system is best because there isn’t a better system. Let’s look at some other proposed formats to find out why (using the 2020 season as an example):

30 Team Playoffs

This is absolute garbage. This would make it so that the regular season doesn’t matter at all; it would also make it so that the 16-44 Pirates would be in the playoffs.

16 Team Playoffs

Let’s cut the 30 team playoffs in half to the playoff system that happened in the 2020 season. This is the only year that this system would have worked due to the 60 game season. In a normal season, this would also make the regular season pointless as over half of the teams would be in the playoffs.

Even in 2020, this system had obvious flaws. Two teams with a losing record were in the MLB playoffs for the first time in MLB history, terrible teams (Phillies, Mets, Giants) were all in contention, and the 33-27 Yankees were seeded #5 while the 35-25 White Sox were seeded #7. As you may be able to gather, I don’t like this playoff system at all.

12 Team Playoffs

This would include the top two teams from every division. In 2020, this would have included one team with a losing record, and two teams that went 31-29. Those three teams do not deserve to be in. It also would have kept out one 35-25 team, and a 32-28 team. The MLB needs wild cards because of some lackluster divisions.

8 Team Playoffs

I like this system second best. This system would include all of the division winners and one wild card. The more I think about this system, the more I like it. In 2020, it would have kept out one 35-25 team and one 33-27 team. It wouldn’t have any teams with bad records.

6 Team Playoffs

Just division winners? Come on, where’s that advertisement revenue? This system would also keep out two 35-25 teams as well as a 37-23 team that obviously deserved to be in.

4 Team Playoffs

The MLB would need to de-expand to 2 divisions per league where the division winners would both get into the playoffs. Let’s say that the MLB expanded to 32 teams to have an even split. For the purposes of this article, let’s say that these teams did not get into the playoffs. I reconfigured the league to look like this:

American League
AL West:
White Sox
AL East:
Blue Jays
Red Sox
Expansion Team A

National League
NL West:
NL East:
Expansion Team B

That took a while. In those four divisions, the Braves, Dodgers, Rays, and A’s would have been in, leaving out the Padres, Twins, Cleveland, and White Sox, among others.

2 Team Playoffs

This is no good; it leaves out a ton of teams that should have been in the playoffs.

Now that I’ve gone over why other playoff systems aren’t any good, it’s time to go over why the 10 team playoff system would be better:

– No teams worthy of the playoffs would be left out

– No teams not worthy of the playoffs would be in

– It has the perfect amount of teams for satisfactory ad revenue

I honestly hope that the MLB does not keep the expanded playoffs. In the end, I believe that it’s bad for baseball to expand the playoffs. Thanks for reading.



In the past week, Baseball News Now was selected as the #56 baseball blog for 2021. Here is the link to the list.

3 thoughts on “Expanding The Playoffs Will Hurt Baseball Beyond Repair

  1. Interested in your view why 10 is better than 9–with 1 wild card per league. Values the regular season more; 162-game fight for the free pass rather than best of 1 or 3. Just revenue? Or more wild card teams = more excitement? Or something else?


  2. The reason that I don’t prefer 8 over 10 is that realistically the MLB will never shrink the playoffs below 10 teams. Reducing the games cuts revenue which is Rob Manfred’s worst nightmare. Theoretically, 8 teams sounds better but it’s not going to happen. Thanks for commenting!


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