September 25, 2021

The Bud Selig/Fox Sports Ultimate Wildcard Play-In System

August 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

After seeing how crazy of an idea the 2012 Wild-card Play-in game was, I decided that if it was here to stay, then it should be expanded to 15 Play-in games.  This way, MLB teams would play 162 games to determine their opponent in a single elimination Play-in game series with the last two teams standing going to the World Series.

A major factor in my thinking is that because of inter-league play, the All-Star game and the World Series are already watered down as the two teams have probably played each other in the last couple of years.  Another factor is that Marvin Miller ensured everyone moved around so much that sooner or later every player will have been a teammate of every other player.  Where is the suspense and rooting in this, especially if your team is not one of the lucky ones to get to the World Series?

Here is how my Play-in system would work.  Each team would be ranked based on their season ending winning percentage, from highest to lowest.  Each two teams would play each other in the first round with the lower winning percentage team as the home team.  If there is a tie in winning percentage, then the Commissioner of baseball would have to make a decision on matchups the last day of the season, if possible.

All games would start at 12 noon local time.  If the local team is a visitor, the game would be shown on their home electronic scoreboard.  That way, if there is a game at today’s visitor’s stadium the next day, patrons can buy tickets on their way out.  There would be a limit of one ticket per person and when the stadium is empty, that other entrepreneurial institution, scalpers, could have the rest of the tickets to sell the next day.  This way, everybody gets what they want.  This would permit only minimal lousy coverage by Fox Sports, as the local television carriers would get first chance at televising.

The winners of the first round would then travel immediately and play the winners of a contiguous bracket the next day (again noon local time) at the lower percentage team’s park.  However, since there are 30 teams and the first round would result in 15 winners, the winner of the game between the two teams with the lowest winning percentage would get a second round bye.

After the second round, the winners would then play another contiguous bracket winner, again at the home of the team with the lowest winning percentage.  Finally, the fourth round would be played the next day and the winners of the two games would be allowed to go to the World Series, with again the lowest percentage team as the home team for games 1, 2, 6 & 7.  Yes I would leave the World Series a best of seven format and even give days off after the second, fifth, and sixth game.  This last off day intended to allow maximum over-hyping of the seventh game.

Postponements due to weather would be made up as a doubleheader the next day at the originally scheduled team’s field at 8am and then the winner would play the regularly scheduled playoff game.  This may be a little difficult as all games are to begin at 12 pm, but in the 21st century this is doable.

Below are the final standings and pairings for the 2012 MLB season.  Knowing that Bud Selig would want to tweak it a little (of course with the permission of MLB’s biggest John – Fox Sports), I have also done some tweaking.

You will notice that three teams, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Oakland have the same percentage.  I decided another bay-area interleague game wouldn’t hurt and it may be good for attendance, so I paired San Francisco and Oakland.

Another two teams, Arizona and Philadelphia, also had the same percentage.  I decided to pair Philadelphia with Pittsburgh for a Best-of-Pennsylvania dual.

Also, Miami and Boston both had the same percentage.  I paired Miami with Cleveland because they probably haven’t played each other often.

The numbers in parentheses are just to reference the first pairings.  I guess you could call them seeding numbers, but that is such an ugly term and at this point all teams are considered seeded equally.

To further explain how this will work, each team in each numbered pairing will play each other.  The first team is the visitor and the second team is the home team.

The winner of pairings 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13 will be the away team and will play the winner of pairings 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14.  The winner of pairing 15 will get a one game bye as a reward for being the best of the worst.

This will make new pairing numbers of 1 (1 & 2 winners), 2 (3 & 4 winners), 3 (5 & 6 winners), 4 (7 & 8 winners), 5 (9 & 10 winners), 6 (11 & 12 winners), 7 (13 & 14 winners).

The winner of the new number 1 pairing will then play the winner of the new number 2 pairing at the number 2’s home.  New number 3 will play new number 4 at his home, new number 5 will play new number 6 at his home and new number 7 will play the bye team at his home.

This will cause a new set of pairing numbers.  The winners of the second 1 and 2 will become the new number 1; the winners of the second 3 and 4 will become the new number 2; the winners of the second 5 and 6 will become the new number 3; and the winners of the second 7 and the bye team will become the new number 4.

The last qualifying round will pit the latest pairing numbers 1 & 2; and 3 & 4.  The winners of these latest pairings will be in the World Series.

Although the active rosters for each team would still be 25 players, any player on the team’s 40 man roster would be available to be on the 25 man roster.  Each round (pairing) and the World Series would have a new 25 man roster.  Just think of the possibilities of a team sending some players to another town to be fresh to play the next round the team may think it will be playing.

Based on the 2012 final percentages, it is probable that the two teams would have winning percentages above .500 (one team) and below .500 (one team).  It seems only equitable that after playing 162 grueling games, there is still a chance your team could end up in the World Series through a series of Play-in games.

One final ancillary benefit to this is that for once in many decades, baseball beat football at a method to make more money!

(1) Washington .605
Cincinnati .599
(2) N.Y. Yankees .586
Atlanta .580
(3) San Francisco .580
Oakland .580
(4) Baltimore .574
Texas .574
(5) Tampa Bay .556
L.A. Angels .549
(6) St. Louis .543
Detroit .543
(7) L.A. Dodgers .531
Chicago White Sox .525
(8) Milwaukee .512
Arizona .500
(9) Philadelphia .500
Pittsburgh .488
(10) San Diego .469
Seattle .463
(11) N.Y. Mets .457
Toronto .451
(12) Kansas City .444
Boston .426
(13) Miami .426
Cleveland .420
(14) Minnesota .407
Colorado .395
(15) Chicago Cubs .377
Houston .340

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