The Bucs have interested in expanding the Wild Card round of the playoffs so it's not just one game, Travis Sawchik reports. Coming from Pirates fans, or the Pirates themselves, proposals to fix the system that has twice resulted in the Bucs going home after one game probably seem like sour grapes. But that doesn't mean that we're not right, or that the Pirates aren't right. For a team that's proven itself over 162 games to be tossed out after just one is entertaining, but silly and unfair, particularly when that team comes from a historically loaded division like last year's NL Central.
Anyway, Neal Huntington says he isn't a fan of having a full Wild Card series (which would force the division winners to wait several days before playing) or a three-game series with a doubleheader. But he's interested in a two-game series of the type evidently used in the KBO.
Perhaps MLB could borrow from the Korean Baseball Organization postseason format. The KBO also has a wild card round. In the best-of-two format, the lower seed must beat the higher seed twice to advance. The top seed needs to win just once.
With the collective bargaining agreement up after the season, changes could be negotiated and implemented for 2017.
"I have seen that thrown out," Huntington said of the KBO format. "That is an interesting concept. This is a CBA year, and I'm sure the union and Major League Baseball will be talking about scenarios that don't penalize division winners and don't put division winners in harm's way. At the same time, there's a lot of other people involved in this decision, and the one-game playoff drives a ton of viewership, and that's a good thing for the game, as well."
I'm not sure that's a great idea -- last year, it would have forced a very good Cubs team to win a one-game series not once, but twice. But I'd welcome it as an improvement over the current system.
I still like my idea -- determine the playoff teams the same way, but have the teams with the top three records, regardless of division, get first-round byes, and force the lowest two to play a one-game playoff. The KBO-inspired proposal might be more likely to generate support, however.