Joel Sherman dropped a mini-bombshell on Monday night when he reported that MLB is considering a drastic change to its playoff format, likely after the 2021 season.
The consideration is increasing the playoff field from 10 teams to 14 teams (yuck), and also allowing the top team in each league to pick its playoff opponent (love it).
I’ve been advocating for a while for baseball to let the 1-seed in each league pick its first playoff opponent. It would add importance to the regular season. If you are the best team in your league for six straight months, if you win 105 games, you deserve an actual advantage in the Divisional Series. Having one extra home game is an advantage but it’s a small one, and there is so much more room for randomness in the five-game Divisional Round compared to the NLCS and ALCS.
At the time the playoffs began last season, the Nationals were clearly the second best team in the NL. They were playing better baseball than the Braves and Cardinals, but because they were the wild card, they were the draw for the 106-56 Dodgers. If the Dodgers had the ability to pick their opponent, they absolutely would not have picked a team loaded with stars…