MLB Should Expand Playoffs Even Further, Add DH To NL

By Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports

BOSTON (CBS) — Sorry for being late to the party, but I have a plan for the new MLB playoff format that should be put in place starting next season.

At first glance, I was happy with the one team, one-game format that will be in place for this year. However, I can be persuaded to change which is what happened after talking with 98.5 The Sports Hub producer Jim Louth for a while. And after thinking about it over the weekend, here’s what I’d like to see, although I fear it may be watering down the playoffs a bit.

Once the Houston Astros move into the American League next season, giving us 15 teams in each league, here’s what I would like to see.

–Three division winners make the playoffs, with the top two with the best records getting first-round byes. They get rest and the right to fix their rotation. There will be tie-breakers in place, if needed, to determine the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds.

–There will be three wild-card teams from each league that make it each season.

–We will have the sixth seed play the third seed (division winner with worst record) while the fifth seed plays the fourth seed.

–The first round will be best-of-three, with all three games at the higher seed’s park, thus avoiding ridiculous travel problems. I feel a one-game playoff isn’t right after playing 162 regular-season games just to get in.

–We will then proceed as we have it now, with Divisional Series being best-of-five in a 2-2-1 format. The lowest remaining seed will play against the top seed while the second-lowest will play at the No. 2 seed.

–We will then have the best-of-seven League Championship Series and the World Series.

–By the way, there will no longer be one-game play-ins to determine wild-card teams or division winners. It will be a set of tie-breaking rules starting with head-to-head and going from there.

–The regular season will also start a week earlier. And, every cold weather team will open up for at least the first 10 days on the road in warm weather cities or cities that have domes. That way we avoid the snow/cold that is always there at the end of March and first week in April.

–My final change will be a big one: add the DH to the National League. One rule for both leagues. It’s been going on too long and it’s absurd for both interleague play and the World Series because teams are built differently.

And, if we put the standings in place from last season, here’s how the playoffs would have shaped up:

National League

1. Philadelphia, 102-60 (bye)
2. Milwaukee, 96-66 (bye)
3. Arizona, 94-68
4..St Louis, 90-72
5. Atlanta, 89-73
6. San Francisco, 86-76

American League

1. New York Yankees, 97-65 (bye)
2. Texas, 96-66 (bye)
3. Detroit, 95-67
4. Tampa Bay, 91-71
5. Boston, 90-72
6. Los Angeles Angels, 86-76

And, these standings could have changed if the new format was in. All seeds may have had to alter pitching rotations, etc. So, in others words, you still could have had all kinds of drama coming down the stretch and on the final day of the season.

Lastly, I know the DH-haters would be ticked off and I would open up debate and perhaps even a referendum on DH or no DH. I would just like it adopted in both leagues either way. It’s ridiculous how it is now. No other sport has anything like that.

Let us know what you think.

More from Dan Roche
  • JDubs in Miami

    I have “National League DH” among my Google Alerts, that is what led me to this article.

    With all that said, I firmly believe there will come a day where common sense will prevail and the DH is standardized in MLB. Then all pitchers could stay on the mound for as long as they’re effective without the necessity to be removed from the game just because a batter is needed.

    Second, it is preposterous to expect a pitcher to bat in the Major Leagues after all the years not developing as such in the minors, college and high school. I’d say if one is not a proficient batter after all those years in baseball before the Majors, then the pitcher has doesn’t have business at the plate. And for a relatively small few that could, they can be an occasional DH.


    I have other ideas for realignment. Competitive balance will be effectively neutralized when divisions are eliminated, thereby creating more series against comparatively ranked teams from the previous season as opposed to the routine of regular mismatches against the less endowed teams. For the playoffs under this format, it would simply be the top four (or five) teams from each league at the end of the season

    I also think interleague should be increased to 48 games with 15 three-game series against the team in the opposing league plus an additional three games for the principal interleague rival, such as the Red Sox/Braves, Rays/Marlins, and the Yankees/Mets.

  • Roger Grace

    I don’t even know where to start. This is the dumbest article I’ve ever read. Dan Roche is an ignoramus who clearly doesn’t understand baseball. These dumb ideas would make the MLB playoffs as meaningless, long and tired as the NHL or NBA.

    The only things dumber than Dan Roche and his idiotic plan to destroy the baseball playoffs is the designated hitter and interleague play. Get a clue you nit wit.

  • JN

    Stupid article. The author has no sense.

  • Red Sox Clay Buchholz Pleased With Return To Mound « CBS Boston

    […] Blog: Roche’s Take On MLB Playoffs  […]

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