Yesterday, Bryan wrote a little about the playoff expansion, specifically about the 2-3 format of the away team playing the first two games at home and then finishing three on the road, if it even got that far in the ALDS/NLDS, which does conjure up memories of 1997. I totally agree with Bryan that it’s a horrible system that rewards the away team. It is only for the 2012 season. It’s one of those things though where we digest it, and say something to the effect of, “Want to show how good you are? Beat a team on the road then finish it at home.” An intimidating task, indeed, but at least next year we know they’ll go back to the 2-2-1 that we’ve become accustomed to.
Overall, I think this is a good idea for the sport. You can tell me it’s all about money, and I wouldn’t disagree with you, but come the end of the season you wanna tell me you don’t want to see two one-game winner-take-all games to see who goes on to the next round? Well, if the Giants are in it (which they will be), it’s going to add to the tor–…stress of the season, for sure.
What will kill me are the trades that will deplete our farm when that inevitably happens because there is the potential for more teams to be in it. This kind of thing also makes the draft cap imposed on the league starting this upcoming draft even more despicable and more difficult for teams to beef up their system. Honestly, I’m scared that Brandon Belt is not a Giant after this July because of a trade. I think they keep Gary Brown around, but someone will go when all’s said and done.
It will be harder to match up with partners though, as consider the scenario that 5 teams are let into the playoffs, here’s how many NL teams would probably had still been in the “buying” mood (I defined “buying” as first 5 teams, and teams at the most 6 GB of the 5th place team) on July 31st. Remember there are 16 teams in the NL:
2011: 10 (4 more than the 6 in the 4-spot format)
2010: 10 (2 more than the 8 in the 4-spot format)
What do you take away from this? Good thing the Giants didn’t have that kind of competition last year to drive up the price on Beltran and company. And I only talked about the NL’s numbers. We have no idea who will win the Central, no idea how the Rockies will do, and assume the Giants and DBacks will be at it all season, and the East could possibly have 4 teams vying for a spot, so while it is unlikely, you could have more than 10 NL teams being buyers come July 31st.
So in the end, the playoffs will be good for the game (and the Giants should benefit from there being an extra spot made for them), and make for more drama, but the hurt will be felt at the farm when the competing teams look at their system when the season comes to a close.