On Monday, MLB players' union head Michael Weiner remarked that the players are open to an expansion of the playoffs in coming years. Both Weiner and Commissioner Bud Selig seem interested in adding new teams to the mix -- as it stands, baseball sends eight of its 30 teams to the playoffs each year, compared to 12 in the NFL playoffs, and 16 in the NBA and NHL playoffs.
We're lacking specifics at this point, so all we can do is imagine what the MLB playoffs will be like in coming years. One possible scenario is after the jump.
Each time Major League Baseball has added teams to its postseason, it has re-structured the formats of its leagues -- for example, when the ALCS and NLCS were added in 1969, each league was split into an East and West division. Before that year, only the two World Series teams reached the playoffs. Then there were four playoff teams, then eight.
The number of playoff teams is clearly trending upward, leaving us no choice but to project that at some point, nearly every team will reach the postseason. The final regular season standings may one day look something like this:
In this scenario, divisions have been abolished, as have the American and National Leagues. As such, the standings, which used to be neatly listed and aligned, have completely fallen into a soup-like state of disarray.
There are 30 playoff slots and 31 teams. Unfortunately, the Pirates have once again lost out on a playoff spot, while the confusingly-named Clinched Playoffs have ended up in the postseason. (Selig would forever regret awarding an expansion franchise to, in his words, "those knuckleheads in Toledo.")
In accordance with this scenario, an expanded postseason might look something like this:
Frank's Hot Sauce Presents The Baseball Teams
Giants vs. Nationals
Padres vs. Brewers
Braves vs. Angels
Marlins vs. Cardinals
Phillies vs. Clinched Playoffs
Cubs vs. Dodgers
Reds vs. Mariners
Rockies vs. Royals
Yankees vs. Diamondbacks
Blue Jays vs. Astros
Twins vs. Athletics
Red Sox vs. Tigers
Rangers vs. Indians
White Sox vs. Orioles
Rays vs. Mets
Playoff Series, Brought To You By Best Choice-Brand Sandwich Bags: Why Pay More? (byes issued)
Nationals vs. MTV Rock & Jock All-Stars
Brewers vs. Spain
Cardinals vs. The Just For Men Superstars
Dodgers vs. Clemson
Mariners vs. Bizarro Mariners
Royals vs. the desire to just stay in bed all day
Diamondbacks vs. actual diamondbacks
Astros vs. The Undertaker (casket series)
Athletics vs. Billy Beane's 25 Most Recent Ignored Facebook Friend Requests
Tigers vs. Bizarro Mariners (Bizarro Mariners do not require sleep)
Indians vs. 25 ivory pillars, meticulously arranged in a manner that may not make sense to you and I
Orioles vs. Ken Gerhart's 25 oldest children
Mets vs. Bizarro Mariners (also the Mariners insist on wearing gloves on each hand while in the field. It's hard to explain, but long story short, they aren't required to throw the ball. Also they are lizard-men.)
As you can imagine, such a lengthy playoff series would force the Commissioner to truncate the regular season to about 90 games. This would certainly lead to decreased revenue, a problem that would be assuaged somewhat by the fact that the Bizarro Mariners have no use for money; they request to be paid simply in handfuls of squeezed-out toothpaste. Nobody knows why.